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At my desk I use my intel CPU 11" MacBook Air with the lid closed, an external monitor with no camera, and a headset with microphone. I have just updated to Mojave from Sierra, and can no longer use FaceTime Audio in that configuration. I'm looking for a way to stop FaceTime from waiting for video from the inactive FaceTime camera.

Under Sierra, I could open the FaceTime app, and place or receive FaceTime Audio calls normally.

Now, under Mojave, when I open FaceTime, the window is black, and after a minute or so, I get an alert saying "No Video - FaceTime has not received any video from the connected camera. Restarting the computer may fix this issue." I'm not able to place calls, and restarting doesn't help. It's not clear whether I can receive calls or not.

I can plug in an old USB webcam, but I'd rather not as it seems to use a significant amount of CPU, and also my USB ports are currently all in use.

I’m willing to change my OS (to Catalina perhaps).

Are there solutions I can use to make this work without having to keep the lid open or plug in a camera?

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Here's a solution which works for macOS >= 10.14. One can initiate a call in Messages by clicking on details in a chat history and then on the phone symbol.

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/messages/icht1091/mac

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    This works on my Mac Mini with no webcam plugged in, but a few more details would be useful in the answer itself as currently it's close to link-only, and if the apple link becomes stale it won't be clear what to do. Apr 9 '20 at 9:51
  • That's good to know, but it's not a full solution. There are people I call with FaceTime Audio that I don't use Messages chat with. Aug 4 '21 at 9:22
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This is something that has both dogged and annoyed me for several major releases of macOS. I have had Macbook Pros and Mac Minis for a number of years, running in clamshell mode (Mac Minis, simply without a camera). I use FaceTime Continuity iPhone Cellular Calling, daily, in my business. Apple states it supports FaceTime for making and receiving either audio or video calls, in its own documentation. It also gives the availability of a camera as a prerequisite only if you want to make/receive video calls.

Further details on system requirements, here: https://support.apple.com/e... and here: https://support.apple.com/e...

However, over at least the last five years, following each update to the newest major release of macOS, I have lost the ability to use FaceTime because it tells me "No Camera Available. To use FaceTime, turn on the camera." Then, normally after months of living with this (undocking the laptop and opening it, or grabbing a webcam and plugging it in, so FaceTime can detect the camera and start working, each time I launch it), Apple seems to fix the issue and FaceTime works happily, without needing to detect the camera. But only until the next major update.

When I moved to Big Sur, I was having to do the workaround, opening the laptop lid, until Apple released an update (couldn't tell you which one), after which FaceTime worked without complaint. I recently moved to Monterey, 12.1 and I'm back with FaceTime complaining about no camera.

With all the major software producers slashing budgets, normally starting with QA, we are all doomed to a Groundhog Day existence of needless software bugs reappearing, as this is clearly an example of.

Current System info: MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017) 2.9 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 macOS Monterey 12.1 (21C52)

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  • Which model and marketing year (and CPU type) is your MacBook Pro? The security around closed clamshell and recording is being progressively tightened in the hardware design
    – bmike
    Jan 11 at 1:50
  • Thanks for your reply, @bmike, I've updated the OP to add clarification. Do you have any further reading on this tightening? Also, as my OP states, this behaviour has been seen across multiple models and major OS releases. With the Mac Mini, I ended up buying a cheap USB Webcam, that is only just about supported by macOS. This has no functioning sound and video whited out to be unusable, but it is enough for FaceTime to see a webcam and stop it's stupidity. For those of us who use voice heavily and those of us who cannot use video (visually impaired), this is a poor performance by Apple.
    – Deejinoz
    Jan 11 at 3:36
  • Mini don’t do closed clamshell, but for portables, you may have to keep the lid open to get some audio functions.
    – bmike
    Jan 11 at 5:29
  • Hi @bmike, I realise the Minis don't do clamshell. They don't come with a camera at all and only support a small number of the vast array of webcams on the market. However, the lack of camera, in the Minis, causes the same problems as a Macbook running in clamshell mode. As for audio functions, a Bluetooth headset works just fine. Now all Apple needs to do is fix the myriad of bugs in the product and redesign the UI to work sensibly. Long gone are the days of Apple being about good, reliable and sensibly designed software!
    – Deejinoz
    Jan 17 at 3:39
  • We're buying the minis 50 at a time for work lately. Logitech web cameras are doing amazingly well now that they are not so likely to be on back order. Sorry you're not liking the UI or have an avenue to get bugs addressed if they affect you and you need a workaround or fix. It's not so clear things are bad to us, but perhaps you are using different apps or parts of the system than we are.
    – bmike
    Jan 17 at 13:20

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