Turn on laptop webcam

I was asked a simple question that has me stumped: how can I turn on the camera on my laptop to see what it sees? Genius that I am, I was left with my jaw on the floor. There is no end of sites that want me to buy their baby monitor software or to sign up to test my webcam, but I just want to turn on the dang laptop camera. Why is it so hard?

Host: N141CU
OS: Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS x86_64
Kernel: 5.8.0-53-generic
Shell: bash 5.0.17
CPU: Intel i7-10510U (8) @ 4.900GHz
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics
Memory: 4018MiB / 15704MiB
Resolution: 3072x1728
Uptime: 2 hours, 17 mins
Packages: 1702 (dpkg), 9 (snap)
WM: Mutter
WM Theme: Adwaita
Theme: Yaru-dark [GTK2/3]
Icons: Yaru [GTK2/3]


I keep a bandaid over my laptop’s webcam. I’d hate to see what it’s seeing! :rofl:


Especially first thing in the morning, crikey I got told I look like a bruiser in the morning.
I’m always scaring my missus first thing, as my body and brain act like a caveman.
Not worth talking to me in the morning, as I’ll just grunt and snarl, not angrily just primally. :grin:

1 Like

To get your webcam going, you can install guvcview, cheese or any webcam app from repos.
You’ll get a better idea if you install Synaptic Package Manager, as Ubuntu does not have Synaptic installed as default, because of their Snaps approach to everything.

1 Like

Hi Quentin,

if you have vlc installed you can use that for your purposes as well. :wink:

Just click:

  • tab “Media”
  • “Open Capture Device” or CTRL+C
  • Capture Mode: “Video camera”
  • “Play”

Many greetings.
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Since you mention baby cam, is your objective to view the laptop camera remotely in place of a baby monitor?

Thanks, just what I needed to know.

Hi qrp,

you´re welcome.
I´m glad if it works for you. :+1:

Many greetings.
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face: