How to Test a Webcam Both Online and Offline
Webcams have become increasingly important for both personal and professional communication. More people than ever are using video conferencing in place of audio-only calls.
Being able to see what your webcam will show other people before entering into a call is important. Maybe you want to make sure you look alright or keep your messy bedroom out of shot. Also, it can be embarrassing and frustrating when your webcam suddenly stops working in an online meeting with your colleagues. That’s one of the reasons why you should test your webcam ahead of a scheduled call.
Regardless of whether you have a Windows machine or a Mac, webcam tests are easy. One simple option is to use one of the many free online webcam test sites available on the web. These include WebCamMicTest and WebcamTests.
We’ll use webcammictest.com for the purposes of the following step-by-step process, although online webcam tests are generally identical irrespective of the site you use.
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- Open your web browser.
- Type webcammictest.com into your browser’s address bar.
- Click the Check My Webcam button on the website’s landing page.
- When the pop-up permission box appears, click Allow.
- Your webcam’s feed should then appear in the black box on the right-hand side of the page, indicating that the camera is working. If you’re using an external webcam connected via USB — and if no image appears after completing the webcam test — then you should try disconnecting and reconnecting it.
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”.)
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.
Testing your webcam in Ubuntu is easy thanks to the inclusion of free photo booth app Cheese.
- Press the Windows/Option key to open the search menu
- Search for and open Cheese
You’ll get an immediate live view of what your webcam can see.
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VLC media player is among the best free media tools available. A lesser-known feature of VLC is the ability to stream media live from a variety of different sources. While it’s typically used for streaming online media, you can also use it to monitor what your webcam is currently picking up.
You can check your webcam with VLC using the following steps.
- Open VLC
- Click File > Open Media Device
- Choose your webcam from the Video device name dropdown menu
After choosing your webcam, you should see live playback from your webcam in the video playback section of VLC. Optionally, you can use the Advanced Options menu (located in the Open Media Device dialog box) to change the capture frame rate for a smoother live playback experience.
This is yet another popular way of testing your webcam which involves one of the many apps that can use it.
Here are some steps for Mac and Windows camera testing :
- In Mac / Windows just launch Skype.
- In Mac: Click the Skype button in the app’s menu bar at the top of the screen.
- Now in Windows: Just click on the Tools button on Skype’s menu bar.
- Choose Preferences ( Mac ), or Options ( Windows ).
- Click on the Audio / Video ( Mac ) or Video Settings ( Windows ).
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.