Managing the iSight Camera with Apple Remote Desktop

Lion (10.7) and Mountain Lion (10.8)

These instructions assume that you are familiar with sending UNIX commands with Apple Remote Desktop Admin.

For more information on sending UNIX Commands in ARD read the section titled UNIX Shell Commands in the ARD Administrators Guide available at:

Since these are commands that you will use frequently you should save them as a template. See for instructions on how to save a UNIX command as a template.

This set of commands alters the permissions of three files located in the System>Library folder As a precaution and to preserve your sanity you should test them on one machine before changing an entire lab.

These UNIX commands work by changing the permissions on the three files to deny read access.

**NOTE: The file locations changed in 10.7** See for 10.5/10.6

Lion (10.7) and Mountain Lion (10.8)

To disable the iSight camera:

chmod a-r /System/Library/QuickTime/QuickTimeUSBVDCDigitizer.component/Contents/MacOS/QuickTimeUSBVDCDigitizer
chmod a-r /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreMediaIOServices.framework/Versions/A/Resources/VDC.plugin/Contents/MacOS/VDC
chmod a-r /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreMediaIO.framework/Versions/A/Resources/VDC.plugin/Contents/MacOS/VDC

To re-enable the iSight camera:

chmod a+r /System/Library/QuickTime/QuickTimeUSBVDCDigitizer.component/Contents/MacOS/QuickTimeUSBVDCDigitizer
chmod a+r /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreMediaIOServices.framework/Versions/A/Resources/VDC.plugin/Contents/MacOS/VDC
chmod a+r /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreMediaIO.framework/Versions/A/Resources/VDC.plugin/Contents/MacOS/VDC

Copy and paste the appropriate commands into the upper pane in a “Send UNIX Command” and send as root:


When a user opens PhotoBooth or a website that uses the iSight camera they will be presented with a window that indicates that there is no connected camera. Unfortunately if the iSight camera is in use it will not be disabled until the application is closed. It will remain disabled until you run the set of unix commands to allow read access to the three files indicated.


2300 Montana Ave, Suite 102, Cincinnati, OH 45211
P.513.772.1223 F.513.772.0261 Toll-Free.888.856.7377