I tried making a facetime call on my macbook and it shows the view of my camera to just be black. The green LED for the camera turned on when I opened facetime but now will not turn off, even after completely exiting all open programs on the macbook. The only way to get the LED to turn off if to restart the computer.

I also tried searching for "VDC" in utility and killing the "VDCAssistant" process to no avail.

Any ideas:

  1. How to get the webcam to work? I.e. show an image rather than black
  2. How to get the camera to "turn off". Stop the green led?

To my mind this seems like a hardware problem but I'd appreciate any advice.


The green LED is now on even after a restart. Facetime is reporting that no camera is available. Killing VDCAssistant does nothing.

Update 2 It seems a full shutdown, turn on turns the LED off, unlike a simple restart. Opening any app that uses the webcam reinstates the problem.

Update 3 After running Apple Hardware test, it has been confirmed that there is a hardware issue. Will be taking it in to Apple to get serviced.

  • 1
    Malware? Good time to cover your camera with tape probably.
    – owlswipe
    Jun 28, 2016 at 11:58
  • A camera’s green LED turning on for nothing is certainly not good news... After investigating I’d simply wipe the drive and make a clean install (kind of an overkill but who knows what kind of malware you could have)
    – user186048
    Jun 28, 2016 at 12:02
  • I thought malware as a possibility but I think it's unlikely. This is a company computer used only by me. It's a few weeks old and has only had dev software installed. Minimal web browsing also, no dodgy sites/attachments
    – harryg
    Jun 28, 2016 at 13:37
  • @harryg if it's only a few weeks old, why can't you bring it to the Apple Store? Jun 28, 2016 at 13:40
  • @IronCraftMan I think that's the next step. Was just checking if this kind of behaviour is known of
    – harryg
    Jun 28, 2016 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


Based on the description and the comments, this sounds like a hardware failure, not malware. The iSight camera and/or cable has most likely failed. Replacing it should be a fairly simple task to a tech to accomplish

The first thing to do when having hardware difficulty of any type is to run Apple Hardware Test (AHT). Simply hold down the D key while booting from a powered off state and the AC adapter connected.

Since AHT diagnosed an issue and you are under AppleCare, it's best that you take it in.

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