How to Test Your Webcam: A User’s 2022 Guide

Phil Henken
Phil Henken
Updated June 1 2022
webcam test
Phil Henken
Phil Henken
Updated June 1 2022

Over the last decade, video calls have evolved from a somewhat unreliable novelty (maybe you remember when everyone was Skyping?) to a high-tech social flex (remember when FaceTime became a standard issue on Apple devices?) to a prosaic feature of everyday life (remember last week when you had five or six virtual meetings for work?) And of course, Covid lockdowns and work-from-home mandates have supercharged the use of video calls, both for personal and business reasons. But if your equipment doesn’t work, you will face a barrier to using this now-essential technology. We’ll lay out some solid webcam test advice for you in this post.

 

 

 

 

How to Test a Webcam Offline:

Since people have been staying home and working from home in larger numbers, it’s essential to know your video calling will work.

 

While there are several “test your webcam online” sites, they have drawbacks, for one, webcam test sites may have the provision “you may be recorded” bundled in their terms of use. For another, the increased use of the internet does not ensure online security. In fact, it’s attracted more malicious actors. So, one way how to test your webcam while limiting security exposure is more “traditional” offline methods that don’t connect to the internet. Users who are uncomfortable sending their images and video over the internet except when necessary might prefer these options.

 

Test Your Webcam in Windows 10

If you use Windows 10, how to test your webcam is not much of a mystery: Find the search box on the Windows taskbar and type in “Camera”. You might get a message asking for permission to access the cam, but otherwise, a window should quickly pop up showing the webcam feed. It’s also a fairly simple process to click the Windows Start Menu and find the Camera app yourself. (Pro tip: It’s listed under the letter “C”.)

Test Your macOS Webcam

If you want to test a webcam on Mac OS, you have some extra steps. First, you’ll want to click the Finder icon on the Dock bar. Then, go to Applications, and click on in. Inside that Applications folder, you should find the Photo Booth app. Clicking on THAT should bring up your webcam’s feed.

You can also try entering “Photo Booth” in a Spotlight search, but make sure it’s the app you’re selecting as Spotlight tends to throw up several options.

If you have an external webcam in addition to Mac’s built-in camera, you may also need to select it specifically. Go to the Photo Booth menu at the top of the screen and click the “Camera” option.

Test Your Webcam in Ubuntu Linux

Figuring out how to test your webcam for Ubuntu Linux users is surprisingly easy. You don’t have to be a command-line power user, as Ubuntu includes the free photo booth app Cheese.

Simply press the Windows/Option key on your keyboard (whichever applies) to open the search menu, and search and open Cheese. It should immediately give you a view of what your webcam sees.

 

How To Test A Web Cam

 

Test Your Webcam Via Free Online Testing Websites

The advantages of testing your webcam online include one-click webcam testing, usually a list of useful technical information (Cam name, default resolution & frame rate, etc.) that you won’t have to dig for in your system’s Control Panel, and an applied view of what your cam feed will look like over the internet.

 

Usually, your run-of-the-mill free online testing sites (such as Webcamtests.com, Webcammictest.com, and others) are as simple as entering the site URL and clicking through buttons for several tests. Afterward, they’ll provide a list of results.

 

The potential disadvantage? As mentioned above you may be recorded; also, frequently sites gather your data for their own purposes (usually not with bad intentions, but probably to sell to advertisers).

 

If you’re not comfortable with that, you might want to steer clear of web-based tests that aren’t supplied by established companies whose sites feature prominent privacy agreements.

 

As an alternative and value-add, we’re including a link to Kaltura’s free webcam test. We ARE an established company with respect for your privacy, so you can rest assured nothing is being saved. The page linked here also provides some valuable advice on how to test your webcam and make the most of the results.

 

How To Test A Web Cam

 

Test Your Webcam Via a Computer Application:

One popular means for how to test a webcam is through one of the popular communications applications you may be using it with.

 

Test Your Webcam Via FaceTime

If you’re primarily relying on Apple devices, FaceTime is the default. Mac desktops and laptops come with FaceTime installed standard which can support video/audio calls of up to 32 participants. FaceTime supports HD video calling, so most often the video can be counted on to be high-quality, but it doesn’t hurt to check.

If you have an Apple ID and password to sign in and start the app up, and an operational internet connection with enough bandwidth to carry video, you’ll only need to start up FaceTime (double-click Settings and highlight FaceTime) and slide the switch to turn on your camera.

Test Your Webcam Via Skype for Business

Skype for Business has been “officially” replaced by Microsoft Teams (see below) but remains a preferred communications tool for some. Skype for Business can include up to 250 participants.

To test your camera connection, sign into Skype with your username and password. Double click Settings–a.k.a. “the gear icon” on the right side of your screen and click Video Device. This should automatically give you a webcam preview. Built-in cams should be auto-detected.

If you want to test any connected webcam or camera device, you can check the drop-down menu for options. (If your preferred camera does not appear as an option, make sure it’s connected, and you have the latest updates and drivers!) You can also use Camera Settings to adjust brightness, contrast, and other image settings.

Test Your Webcam Via Microsoft Teams

At enterprise level, Teams is increasingly a tool of choice as it can support video calls for teams consisting of thousands of users.

To test on Teams you can launch from your Microsoft Start menu or by entering Teams into the Windows 10 search bar and logging in.

Click the Tap button, enter Settings, double click Devices, and you should get a preview of your camera feed. If you want to switch to a different device, use the Camera drop-down menu.

It’s also worth checking the Permissions section of the Settings menu to make sure the switch for media (camera, mic, speakers) is TURNED ON (set to green).

 

How To Test A Web Cam

 

Webcam Troubleshooting Steps

Consumer webcams are intended to be plug-and-play devices (to the extent they are not built right in!) that offer little trouble to the user. But if things aren’t going seamlessly, here are a few steps to take:

 

  • The most obvious first step is always “make sure the device is properly plugged into your USB port.” This applies to a stand-alone cam, not something built-in. But you’d be surprised at how many problems can stem from a loosely plugged-in cable. It can happen to anyone!

 

  • Again, webcams are intended as plug-and-play but double-check your user guide and the product website to make sure it doesn’t require you to download any updates, drivers, or additional software.

 

  • This is a big one: (in fact maybe it should’ve been second on the list?) make sure your webcam is selected in the software you’re using! If you aren’t getting a picture it’s always possible it’s looking for another device that’s disconnected or disabled. Most apps have drop-down menus to check your video input.

 

  • Particularly for business users–check and make sure the video calling app you want to use is the only one open and/or another app doesn’t have a lock on your camera control. For instance, if you’re running Skype and Zoom apps at the same time, one might have access to your webcam and be blocking the other out with a black screen. In general… always shut down apps and windows you aren’t using, it will usually help performance.

 

  • You can always try restarting your computer! Even technicians will tell you that sometimes strange and unusual problems can get smoothed over with a restart.

 

 

 

Conclusion

We hope this post has provided some useful answers to the hypothetical question of “how to test my webcam.” As we continue relying on video calls at work and in our personal lives, the better you understand your webcam technology the better experiences you’ll have, and the more you’ll be able to get out of using video chat.

webcam test

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