How to Switch From a Laptop Camera to a Webcam

Laptop cameras don’t usually have a high resolution, so many laptop users buy a webcam as a replacement. However, before you can use the new hardware, you need to switch your laptop camera to a webcam.

How to Switch From a Laptop Camera to a Webcam

This switching process is pretty straightforward. In this article, we’ll walk you through the necessary steps to switch from your laptop camera to a webcam on both Windows and Mac PCs.

How to Switch From Laptop Camera to Webcam on a Windows PC

An external camera is ideal for PC users who wish to take advantage of functions like panning and automated tracking, recording videos, or participating in video chats. Most webcams offer better video resolution than a standard laptop camera too.

But to use it for video chat and video recording, you’ll first need to turn off your laptop’s built-in webcam. Then you’ll need to configure the external webcam as your primary webcam to enable it to operate with other Windows programs.

Here you’ll find the steps to switch from a laptop camera to a webcam on different Windows versions.

Windows 11

If you see your webcam under the “Devices and printers” category when you connect it to your PC, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Run dialog by pressing Windows key + R.
  2. To access Control Panel.
  3. Enter “control” in the Run dialog box and press “Enter.”
  4. Set the” View by option” to “Large icons” or “Small icons” in the window’s top right corner.
  5. Choose “Devices and Printers.”
  6. Find your secondary/external webcam and right-click on it.
  7. To set the webcam as the default, click “Set as Default Device.”

However, if your webcam doesn’t appear in the “Devices and printers” section when connected, try to disable your laptop camera with these steps:

  1. Use the Windows key + R key shortcut to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Access the “Device Manager” by entering “devmgmt.msc” in the Run dialog box and press “Enter.”
  3. In “Device Manager,” go down the list of installed devices to the “Camera” section and select it.
  4. Choose “Disable device” by right-clicking the internal webcam.
  5. Do this for each additional camera you have placed on your system.

Now that your laptop camera is disabled, your laptop will automatically access your webcam when needed.

Windows 10

On Windows 10, you can also switch between the laptop camera and a webcam in a couple of different ways.

To disable the laptop camera, follow these steps:

  1. Simultaneously press the Windows + X shortcut and pick “Device Manager” from the list.
  2. Double-click the drop-down menu labeled “Imaging Devices.”
  3. Select “Disable” next to the name of the internal webcam.
  4. Try to utilize a program and observe whether the issue remains.

Another way is to set the webcam as a default device. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press Windows + S and type “Control Panel.”
  2. Choose the first item and click “View Devices and Printers” under “Hardware and Sound.”
  3. Confirm that the webcam is there.
  4. If this is the case, right-click on the webcam and choose “Set this device as the default.”

How to Switch From Laptop Camera to Webcam on a Mac

The iSight camera pre-installed on Mac computers cannot be replaced with an external webcam, but there is a simple solution. It is possible to record yourself or chat over an external webcam. Here is how to do it:

  1. Connect the camera to the computer via USB cable. Or, if you have a Bluetooth webcam, connect it via Bluetooth with your Mac.
  2. Wait for the computer to recognize the external webcam. It may take 10-15 seconds to discover.
  3. Select the “Photo Booth” software from the apps dock at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Go to the camera by selecting “Camera” in the menu bar on top of the page.
  5. Select the external webcam from the list of available options in the drop-down list.

The laptop will switch to the external webcam from the regular iSight webcam. For the sake of consistency, these adjustments will be applied to all other installed Mac apps.

Additional FAQs

Why Can’t I Switch From My Laptop Camera to My Webcam?

If you followed all the steps and still can’t access your webcam, there are a couple of things you can do to fix this. Try connecting the camera to another computer. If you’re having troubles with it on many PCs, the issue is most likely with the webcam.

Look Better on Video Calls Using Your Laptop

Switching from a laptop camera to a webcam is fast and straightforward on Mac and Windows devices.

Similarly, if you use any external video chat platforms, you can adjust the app’s default camera by navigating to the app’s options from the menu bar. The processes should be pretty similar to what we outlined in this article, regardless of whether you’re using WhatsApp, WebEx, or one of the countless other video calls apps and services available.

Do you use your laptop camera or a webcam? Do you think laptop cameras are enough, or do you prefer webcams? Let us know in the comment section below!

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