Your PC’s camera is an essential remote work tool. However, it also poses a serious threat to your privacy as hackers and malicious programs can gain unauthorized access to it through various phishing techniques. One way to protect yourself from such attacks is to disable your PC’s camera when you’re not using it.
Of course, if you’re a Desktop user with an external webcam, you can just unplug it later. However, if that’s not an option or you don’t wish to keep unplugging and replugging it, you can disable the camera using the Settings app or the Device Manager.
Let’s explore some easy ways to disable the camera on your Windows 11 PC.
1. Disable Camera via the Settings App
The Settings app on Windows 11 lets you view all the cameras connected to your computer. Besides configuring and troubleshooting, you can also disable your PC’s camera via the Settings app. Here’s how.
Step 1: Click on the Start button on the Taskbar and click the gear-shaped Settings app icon to launch the app.
Step 2: Click on the Bluetooth & devices tab in the left column and click on Cameras on the right pane.
Step 3: Under Connected cameras, you’ll see the available cameras. Select the camera you want to disable.
Step 4: Click the Disable button at the bottom.
Step 5: Select Yes when the confirmation pop-up appears.
Step 6: Select Yes again when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears.
Once you disable your camera, it will appear under Disabled cameras in the Settings app. You can re-enable your camera again by clicking the Enable button.
2. Disable Camera Using Device Manager
Device Manager is a useful tool that displays a graphical view of all the hardware that is connected to your PC. You can use it to configure, manage, and troubleshoot all of your hardware devices, including the camera.
Follow the steps below to disable the camera using the Device Manager.
Step 1: Press the Windows key + X to open the Power User menu and select Device Manager from the list.
Step 2: In the Device Manager window, expand the Cameras section by double-clicking on it. Right-click on your camera and select Disable device.
Step 3: Choose Yes when the warning message appears.
Once you complete the above steps, the camera will be disabled. If you want to re-enable the camera at any point, follow the same steps above and select the Enable device option in Step 2.
3. Disable Camera Access Through Privacy Settings
Another way to disable the camera on Windows 11 is to prevent apps from using it. You can go through the privacy settings on Windows and disable camera access for apps. This method is useful if you only want to disable the camera for a few apps rather than the entire system. Here’s what you need to do.
Step 1: Right-click on the Start icon and select Settings from the menu. Alternatively, you can press the Windows key + I to quickly launch the Settings app.
Step 2: Use the left sidebar to switch to the Privacy and security tab.
Step 3: Scroll down to App permissions and click on Camera.
Step 4: Toggle off the Camera access option if you want to disable the camera for all apps.
Alternatively, if you only want to disable camera access for a few apps, leave the Camera access toggle turned on, and enable the switch next to ‘Let apps access your camera.’ Then, you can enable or disable an app’s access to the camera by using the toggle next to it.
Windows 11 keeps track of apps that have recently used your camera. You can scroll down to the end of the page and expand the Recent activity menu to see which apps have accessed your camera in the last 7 days.
If you see any suspicious app on this list, you might want to uninstall it or disable its camera access.
Protect Your Privacy
Your PC’s camera is a useful piece of hardware that lets you communicate with your friends and colleagues via video calls. However, if you don’t use it that often, you may want to disable it using one of the methods mentioned above. Or, you should at least disable camera access for apps that don’t require it.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of repeatedly disabling and re-enabling the camera, why not buy an external webcam with a privacy shutter?
Last updated on 16 September, 2022
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