Mac Webcams That Just Work
If your Mac is connected to multiple cameras, microphones, or output devices, you can choose which one to use for your FaceTime audio and video calls. Open FaceTime for me In the FaceTime app on your Mac, choose one of the following from the Video menu. GW Security Bullet. If you’re serious about setting up an indoor and outdoor home surveillance.
Looking to buy a driver-free, fully Macintosh compatible webcam? Have USB 2.0, 3.0 or 3.1 ports? The external webcam models listed here are UVC - USB Video Class compliant. They're simply Plug and Play on modern Macs running MacOS Sur, Catalina, Mojave and Sierra, as well as OSX El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, Lion, and Leopard. Some older cameras made for Windows PC's may not work on Apple Macintosh computers, or Mac web camera drivers may not exist.
Save yourself wasted money and frustration. Make certain you have USB 2.0 speed or faster ports, OSX 10.5+, and a Mac faster than 1Ghz.
You can then confidently choose one of these Apple friendly driverless UVC webcam models listed below and elsewhere on the site. We're devoted to tracking the Mac friendly web camera and video conferencing peripheral scene.
Plug-N-Play Mac Webcam Picks
Recommended UVC compliant external cams for OSXLast Updated: October 18th, 2020(Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)
Best Logitech Cameras For Mac
C922 Stream Pro w/Tripod Mount
Improved Frame Rates Up To 60FPS
#1 CHOICE : Mac Compatible HD Webcam With Standard Tripod Mount
Like: Revised C920-series optimized for high frame-rate live streaming: 1080p @ 30FPS and 720p @ 60FPS with H.264 video compression. Optical quality glass lens. Stereo Dual microphones.
For 90% of Mac users, this is your BEST CHOICE for high-quality video capture, conferencing and live streams. Besides Amazon, you can find competitive pricing for the C922 webcam on eBay as well.
Dislike: Logitech packages two different confusing SKU's: The C922 model comes bundled with a mini-tripod, the C922X (x=without) model doesn't.
Wide-Angle HD Camera
90 Degree Field Of View
#2 CHOICE : Premium Logitech C930e HD Webcam
Incredible State-Of-The-Art Image Detail, Smooth Autofocus, H.264 Compression.
Like: Tripod Mount. 1080p HD Webcam. Zeiss Optical Lens. Dual Microphones.
Dislike: You Might Not Prefer A 90 Degree Wide-Angle View.
Logitech C920S Cam
High Quality : Great Value
#3 CHOICE : Mac Compatible Logitech HD Webcam
Excellent detail and clarity, Hardware Autofocus, H.264 Compression
Like: Tripod Mounting Hole. Zeiss Glass Lens. Stereo Microphone. Privacy Shutter. Though superceded by the newer 922, this remains an excellent camera - especially at it's lower street price.
Dislike: None. Excellent All-Around Choice - Razor Sharp.
Portable HD Webcam
Tripod Camera Mount
Like: Lower-priced 1080p HD webcam. Glass lens. Standard camera tripod mount for flexibility in camera angles and placement. Folds flat for travel.
Dislike: Considered a 'Portable' cam - Has a rather short 3' cable.
Best Microsoft Webcams For Mac
Microsoft HD Pro Webcam For Mac
Optical Lens w/AutoFocus
Like: Premium 1080p Resolution. Excellent Audio, Color Balance and Light Sensitivity.
Dislike: Flexi-Bend Clip May Not Be Ideal - But Has Standard Tripod Mounting Hole.
MS LifeCam HD For Mac
720p HD With AutoFocus
Like: Autofocus. Sharp Optical Glass Lens. Excellent Color Fidelity.
Dislike: No Tripod Mount. 720p Max Resolution HD Camera.
Best Creative Web Cameras For Mac
Creative Live Cam Chat
720p HD Resolution
Like: 720p HD Resolution, Fixed Focus, Echo Cancelling Microphone.
Dislike: Image not as sharp as Logitech C310 at this price point.
3rd-Party Apple Compatible CamerasAlthough Logitech, Creative Labs, and Microsoft have dominated the OSX friendly videoconferencing cam market, several other brand-name cameras are worthy of consideration, espcially if you're on a budget.
Hue Flexible Neck Webcam
Excellent For Adult Video Play
Like: Ultimate Positioning Freedom. Clear HD Image. Internal Mic.
Dislike: Manual Focus. LED Lights Can Be Annoying Head-On.
Hewlett-Packard UVC Webcam
HP's Premium HD Camera
Like: 1080p Resolution. Autofocus. High-Quality Microphone.
Dislike: Snapshot Buttons Non-Functional on OSX. Excellent HD Cam.
RocketFish Mac HD Webcam
Autofocus + Stereo Microphones
Like: 720-1080P Resolution. Good Light Sensitivity and Color Balance.
Dislike: Discontinued. Snapshot Button Non-Functional.
Best Cheap Webcam
RocketFish 720p HD Camera
Like: Great Image! Responsive AutoFocus and Excellent Microphone Quality.
Dislike: Discontinued - But Still Available. Flimsy Mounting Clip.
1080p HD GearHead Webcam
Cheap 1080p Mac Webcam
Like: High HD Resolution. Auto-Focus. Stereo Mics.
Dislike: Lacks Precision Optics, Not As Sharp An Image.
About Driver-Free UVC Webcams
UVC is a compatibility standard for USB video chat cameras. Apple's UVC Kernel Extensions are built into MacOS Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave and Sierra, as well as OSX ElCapitan, Yosemitie, Mavericks, Lion and Leopard. That means any UVC compliant external USB camera should just work when plugged into a Mac's USB 2.0 speed or faster port. No additional webcam drivers are required. Windows, Linux, Andrioid, and Chrome OS also now natively support UVC class video camera device standard.
The cams listed here are ideal as an add-on webcam for an Apple Mac mini or Pro tower. They can also provide iMac and MacBook users more flexibiity in camera placement and quality over their built-in iSight. They're also good cross-platform PC and Linux webcams for those who use VMWare Fusion, Parallels or Apple's BootCamp on their Macs to run other operating systems.
All recent Logitech's webcam models are now UVC compliant and officially supported on a Mac. However, many older discontinued mid-to-low end Logitech cameras were not UVC compliant: Depends on model number, different internal sensors, and part numbers.
Dirt Cheap Generic UVC Mac Webcams'You get what you pay for...'
seems to apply to many dirt-cheap no-name import USB video class web cameras. Feeling lucky? Don't care about warranty or returning it? Then explore cheap webcams on eBay
or Amazon for ought-to, should, might probably work on an Apple web camera options from China. In our testing, many of the cheap import cameras available for $10-$15 had high dead-on-arrival failure rates. Image quality varied widely. Some claimed to be High-Def 'HD' but were only low-resolution camera sensors. Microphones sounded poor or were non-functional. Even some of the cams with a decent image simply stopped working soon after purchase. Overall they were poorly-constructed, cheap junk with a few rare exceptions.
Apple Compatible Web Cameras For Old Macs
For long obsolete Macs from the G4 and G5 era, remember UVC compliant webcams require USB 2.0 or faster ports. With their slow CPUs, 640x480 resoultion won't overwelm them. The Mac MUST also be running OSX 10.4.x at a minimum - the point where Apple began including UVC device support into the OS.Best Webcam For Old Macs
VGA QuickCam Ultra - 640x480 Fixed Focus
Microsoft Live! Web Cam - Value Priced
Like: Suprising Image Quality, Adjustable Focus Ring, Low-Cost
Dislike: Stand Designed For Desktop Not Laptop. No Microphone
Webcams For Obsolete Macs?
Trying to keep an antique Macintosh in use? Think FireWire instead. Modern high-resolution UVC cams simply WILL NOT WORK on old 800mhz or less Macs, who's slow and incompatible USB 1.x speed ports are FOURTY TIMES slower than USB 2.0. Those that claim to be USB 1.1 compatible in their specification listings may have utterly abysmal frame-rates on USB 1.x or show NO image at all, even though Apple's System Profiler may show that the camera exists on the USB 1.1 bus. Otherwise you're left dinking around with any of hundreds of old, discontinued webcams made for Windows and fiddling with Macam open-source drivers hoping for a combination that will work.
You can still find decent, used Apple iSight cams
at Amazon or find a deal on an iSight on eBay.
Sadly, Apple stopped manufacturing their very high-quality 1394 FireWire auto-focus web camera rather quickly. 1394 is better than USB for video conferencing and chat in many technical aspects: External FireWire webcam compatibility with iMovie, less CPU overhead, high frame-rates and avoids USB device contention when slugging it out on a USB hub. USB cameras aren't the only options to provide Macintosh users with high quality choices to chat and videoconference using popular Mac OSX applications like FaceTime, Zoom, Apple Messages, Skype, and ISPQ VideoChat, or for capturing and uploading clips to YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion or other video sites.
Choosing An External Mac Compatible Web Cam
What are key features to look for when shopping for an Apple compatible webcam? Even though the vast majority of Apple computer systems incorporate an iSight camera into the display, there's still tremendous interest in buying an external Mac camera that offers improved image quality, higher frame rates, a better internal microphone, increased HD resolution, or additional flexibility in camera angles, mounting options, and positioning. Please see the Mac Webcam Shopper Guide
on this site for a more in-depth review of camera features to look for when pondering the optimal hardware for your business or personal video capture, streaming and conferencing needs.
Video Conferencing Microphones & Headsets
Most, but not all Macs have a built-in microphone for 'good enough' sound capture. But another option is a good quality Mac compatible USB webcam with a mic that most (but not all) webcams incorporate. A separate USB desktop microphone might be desired to provide the best sound quality to dramatically improve your online streaming, voice and video capture and recording sessions.
Headsets or earbuds can help you have a far better videoconferencing, FaceTime, Zoom or Mac Skype call experience and help minimize background noise, or echo and feedback. USB headsets may have more advantages than 4-Pole 1/8' TRRS Analog mini-jack types that often compete with your external speaker system. A high-quality Mac headset comes in handy for not only Mac VOIP, video conferences and Apple speech recognition, but top notch iTunes audio playback and Podcast recording and listening as well.
Specialty Webcams For MacOS
Beyond conventional chat, streaming and capture cams, this website also features more specialized Apple compatible web camera solutions. These include: Document Cameras for educators and presentations. Mac compatible USB Digital Microscopes
for labwork and inspections. There are also both wired and wireless Security and Surveillance Cameras. Lastly, for group video chat we cover Mac friendly webcams that offer fully-featured voice and video conferencing with mic and speakerphone hardware for business meeting and huddle room environments.
Apple Compatible HD Web Cameras
The trend in Mac compatible webcams is towards ever-higher resolution HD camera sensors. With Apple using Dual and Quad-Core processors often running well over 2Ghz+, many MacBooks, the Mac Pro, iMac and Mac mini desktops make ideal computers for Mac HD video capture and online web conferencing at high frame-rates.
External HD webcams supporting 2MP and higher sensor resolutions perform well with the CPU horsepower of most current computers in the Apple Macintosh family. Most Mac OSX video apps and web chat software is currently programmed to sense and support higher HD webcam resolutions and different 16:9 wide-screen aspect ratios. You need a fast CPU and high bandwidth internet connection for smooth, high frame-rate Mac HD webcam chat, streaming and conferencing online.
HD Logitech Cams
Because of Logitech's committed support for Mac with their HD still image and video capture apps for OSX, these two UVC compliant web cameras in the $25-$75 price range offer the most functionality for Macintosh users on Intel Mac models at a bargain price.
|Premium Logitech Cam||Cheap Logitech Cam|
|Best HD Cam For Mac|
H.264 High Frame Rates
|Value HD Webcam|
5MP 720p Fixed Focus
HD Microsoft Cameras
Yes, Microsoft makes quality external webcams that are MacOS compatible. When Windows 7/Vista was released, UVC compatibility was now built into WinOS making the myriad of vendor and model-specific Windows webcam drivers a thing of the past.
|Premium Microsft Cam||Budget Microsoft Cam|
|LifeCam Studio Pro|
Camera Tripod Support
Fixed Focus Lens
HD Creative Labs Cams
Creative Labs had long supported MacOS by being one of the first camera manufacturers to standardize on UVC specifications. However, Creative recently discontinued their web camera line, and are now focusing primarily on audio hardware. The budget-priced 720p Live Cam Chat is the only model still generally available.
|Mid-Range Creative Cam||Budget Creative Cam|
|720P LiveCam Connect|
H2.64 Video Compression
|Cheap Chat Camera|
720p Fixed Focus
Next-Generation Ultra-HD 4K Webcams For Mac
Camera sensor resolutions are increasing rapidly. Much like the digital camera market, webcams have gone from 1MP to 3, 5, 8, and now over 10MP (megapixel) sensors. Logitech leads with it's 4K Ultra-HD Brio which supports resolutions up to 4096 x 2160 on very fast Macintosh models. For 4K webcam capture its mandatory to connect to a fast USB 3.0 or 3.1 speed port to transmit such a large amound of data.State-Of-The-Art USB 3.0 Ultra-HD 4k Web Camera
Software Field Of View Switchable 68 - 72 - 90 Degrees
Other Mac Compatible High-Def Web Cameras
There's a lot of generic, non-name-brand HD cams appearing on the market at discounted prices. Quality varies widely from being quite impressive to disappointingly mediocre in terms of image and microphone quality.
Driverless UVC Web Cameras For Mac Computers
Apple compatible webcams are easier to find these days, but still tricky to identify. Not all video webcam manufacturers clearly label thier web cams as UVC - USB Video Class compliant
on their retail packaging. UVC compatibility is CRITICAL
for driver-free Mac OSX operation. UVC webcams are USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 speed devices, and not suitible for obsolete USB 1.1 port Macs!
Basic UVC support is built into MacOS Sur, Catalina, Mojave and Sierra as well as OSX Tiger, Leopard, Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, Sierra and Catalina's bundled webcam driver. These provide BASIC compatibility with FaceTime HD, Skype, iChat AV, PhotoBooth, QuickTime video capture, ISPQ, Zoom video cconferencing and many other video-aware programs. They're ideal for Mac mini and Macintosh Pro desktop computers which lack a built-in iSight camera - or as a more versatile external USB webcam for MacBook laptops, or Mac Pro, Mini and iMac desktops.
Hi-Def HD Webcam Video Chat Programs For Mac OSX
Fortunately, most video-aware Mac programs have been revised to really take full advantage of HD webcam resolutions and wide-screen aspect ratios beyond 640x480 when video conferencing. You may have a Mac compatible HD webcam, enjoy the razor-sharp image, light sensitivity, and color-balance. But with some older programs, you'll still only be video-chatting at 320x240 or 640x480 VGA resolution at best. These are manageable resolutions and video sizes that your average internet connection can handle. Skype only operates in 720p high-quality HD mode only IF and WHEN the hardware and bandwidth can support it.
Older webcam programs for Mac may only support traditional 3:4 aspect ratios at, say, 320x240 or 640x480 VGA resolution. At least that's what many Mac video and chat programs expected. More current Apple webcam programs know how to take advantage of higher 720p and 1080p HD Mac camera resolutions and their wider aspect ratios. The main benefit of an HD webcam is primarily for IMAGE CLARITY, LIGHT SENSITIVITY, AND DETAIL. The higher resultion sensor of a 2+ megapixel and higher webcam makes it easy to see the superior detail, especially in HD webcams paired with top quality optical glass lenses.
Hd Video Cameras For Mac Mini
HD Webcam Capture With QuickTime Player
QuickTime Player bundled with many versions of MacOS DOES support capturing QuickTime video at the higher 720p and 1080p resolutions. But don't be suprised if you find excruciatingly slow-frame rates when trying to capture video clips with QuickTime's 'Maximum'
setting. You may also find QuickTime capture varies from cam to cam as to how it handles difference between QuickTime's 'Medium-High-Maximum'
Mac HD Webcams With Logitech Software Support
THough this list is a bit outdated, these Mac-friendly HD webcam models indicate when Logitech began to support the UVC webcam specification in earnest:
The C615 and C310 models are offically supported by Logitech's older Mac webcam driver and capture software. Although other recent Logitech cams are UVC compliant and provide basic webcam functionality under OSX 10.4.11 or higher. More recent, higher numbered models are currently an Apple user's best choice for more fully featured HD video capture and still image snapshot control.
True Mac HD Web Camera Video-Conferencing With Skype HD
With the latest versions, Skype for Mac has finally added High-Definition webcam support for those who: 1. Have really high-speed internet access and, 2. Have HD capable external webcams or a more modern MacBook or iMac with with an iSightHD camera built in. That also includes the ThunderBolt Cinema Display with updated internal iSight HD abilities as well. 3. And optimally, H.264 compression to help make 720p and higher modes more achievable.
HD Cams With H.264 Hardware Compression
Hd Video Cameras For Mac Desktop
H.264 video compression tends to only be included in more premium models of Mac compatible HD webcams, most notably from Logitech or Creative Labs. Additionally, Apple's support of the maturing UVC webcam specification helps HD webcam and video conferencing apps dynamically assess and manage available internet bandwidth, compression, and video frame rates so that users at each end of a video stream get the best Skype HD video chat experience possible - if the internet connection is fast enough. H.264 also helps reduce the size of files captured for YouTube uploads or video clips you upload elsewhere.
Best Camera For Hd Video