Quick Mac tip: unresponsive built-in iSight camera

MacBookI was dismayed yesterday to discover that the built-in iSight camera on my new MacBook was apparently dead. Photo Booth couldn’t find it, and neither could the Flash-based profile picture taker (whatever it’s called) in Facebook.

I figured it was just dead. Disappointing, but it’s not uncommon given the cost-cutting measures just about every modern high-tech company, including Apple, undertakes these days. At least it was just the iSight camera, probably the feature of this computer I use least (other than the video-out port). If it really was dead, I’d probably just live with that instead of the much greater inconvenience of a couple of weeks without my computer.

But before I gave up on it, I decided to do some research and it turns out that resetting the SMC (the new MacBook’s equivalent of the PowerBook’s PMU) should do the trick.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Unplug the power and remove the battery. (That last part is important.)
  3. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
  4. Reinsert the battery, plug the MacBook back in (if you want), and restart.

It did the trick… my camera is working again! (Not that I really care enough to warrant that exclamation point, but… well… at least I don’t have a month-old computer with a defective component. That’s worth celebrating, no matter how irrelevant the part is.)