This article will walk you through the steps of capturing images from an iSight camera remotely, as well as disabling it.
It’s a question that a great many people are asking, and for a good reason: can people control my iSight camera remotely? It’s a scary answer:
You can log into another Mac with a built-in iSight camera and take pictures remotely. But here’s the good news: you can also disable the iSight camera on the software end, rather than simply taping it up. First, let’s start with capturing pictures remotely, then move on to disabling the camera.
- An SSH Client (Terminal])
- A Target Mac
Take Pictures Via SSH
To get started capturing images remotely, you’ll need to download a utility called iSightCapture and install it.
Download iSightCapture from Applausible.
Installation is simple. Open up the downloaded .dmg file, and drag the
isightcapture file into a folder on your hard drive that you can access via Terminal. Once that’s in place, fire up Terminal.
To use iSightCapture, you would then log into the machine using SSH via following code (if you’re running this on your own machine, you’re all set!):
user with the username you are logging in as, and
computer with the computer name or IP address.
You’ll then be prompted for a password. Enter the password and hit return (Terminal will make it appear as if you are not typing anything when you’re entering the password, but trust me, you are), and you’ll be logged in.
To take pictures, the commands are very basic. First, you need to navigate via the
cd command into the directory that you installed iSightCapture. For example, you have the file stored on your desktop, you would enter (replacing YourName with your username):
Will output a 640×480 image in JPEG format.
./isightcapture -w 320 -h 240 -t png image.png
Will output a scaled 320×240 image in PNG format
Thankfully, if you’re looking to take certain sized pictures in a certain format, you’re in luck! iSightCapture uses a formula, that includes variables that you can edit in the command. The formula for all iSightCapture commands goes as such:
isightcapture [-v] [-d] [-n frame-no] [-w width] [-h height] [-t jpg|png|tiff|bmp] output-filename
The key to each of these variable is listed below:
-v output version information and exit
-d enable debugging messages. Off by default
-n capture nth-frame
-w output file pixel width. Defaults to 640 pixels.
-h output file pixel height. Defaults to 480 pixels.
-t output format – one of jpg, png, tiff or bmp. Defaults to JPEG.
Are you constantly seeing the green light on? Just paranoid? Use these handy terminal commands to disable the iSight camera (be sure to replace YourName with your username!):
sudo mv /System/Library/QuickTime/QuickTimeUSBVDCDigitizer.component \ /Users/YourName/Desktop
sudo mv /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreMediaIOServicesPrivate.framework/ Versions/A/Resources/VDC.plugin /Users/YourName/Desktop
What you have just done is move two drivers for the iSight camera out of their system folders and onto your Desktop. If you wish to reverse this move, you simply change the direction (assuming you haven’t moved the files since then):
sudo mv/Users/YourName/Desktop/QuickTimeUSBVDCDigitizer.component \ /System/Library/QuickTime/
sudo mv /Users/YourName/Desktop/VDC.plugin /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreMediaIOServicesPrivate.framework/Versions/A/Resources/
If you want to make the iSight stay disabled forever, simply dump the files on your Desktop into the Trash and empty it.
The contents of this guide are for educational use only. For more information, see our Disclaimer.