In Windows, having a camera and microphone as part of your device lets you make Teams video calls, take pictures, record videos, and more. Many apps and services request and use the camera or microphone, and Windows settings give you control over which apps can use your camera or microphone.

Some people worry about unknown apps, organizations, or malware using their camera or microphone. Whenever your camera or microphone are used, you should be in charge. To help you understand when your camera is turned on, the following indicators are provided:

  • If your device comes with a camera light, the light will turn on when the camera is in use.

  • If your system doesn’t have a camera light, you’ll get a notification to let you know when the camera turns on or off.

To help you understand when your microphone is in use, the following indicators are provided:

  • A microphone icon will be displayed in the notification area of the taskbar. 

To see which apps are currently using your camera or microphone or have recently accessed your camera or microphone

  • In Windows 10, go to:

    • Start   > Settings  > Privacy  > Camera

    • Start   > Settings  > Privacy  > Microphone

  • In Windows 11, go to: 

    • Start   > Settings  > Privacy & security > Camera

    • Start   > Settings  > Privacy & security > Microphone.

Note: This functionality does not exist in Windows 10 versions 1809 and earlier.

We also provide settings to keep you in control, as described in the following sections.

Camera or microphone controls might be turned off already if you’re using a device assigned to you by your workplace or if you’ve added a work account to your personal device. If that’s the case, you’ll see Some settings are managed by your organization at the top of the Camera or Microphone settings pages.

Three types of cameras

There are three types of cameras that apps and services may have access to, depending on what type of cameras come with or are installed on your device:

  • A color camera is used for taking traditional color photos or videos.

  • An infrared camera takes a gray scale (black and white) photo or video based on infrared intensity.

  • A depth camera can see the shapes of items in front of it, and how far they are from the device. For example, a depth camera can be used to recognize when a person is in front of the device.

How to control which apps can use the camera

  1. Do one of the following:

    • In Windows 10, go to Start  > Settings > Privacy  > Camera.

    • In Windows 11, go to Start  > Settings > Privacy & security > Camera

  2. In Windows 10, ensure that Camera access for this deviceAllow apps to access your camera, and the individual toggle for the Microsoft Store app you wish to use is turned on. If you do not see the app or website you're looking for in the list, it's likely a desktop app. Desktop apps cannot be individually toggled, but access for those apps can be controlled using Allow desktop apps to access your camera.

  3. In Windows 11, ensure that Camera accessLet apps access your camera, and the individual toggle for the Microsoft Store app you wish to use is turned on. If you do not see the app or website you're looking for in the list, it's likely a desktop app. Desktop apps cannot be individually toggled, but access for those apps can be controlled using Let desktop apps access your camera.

For more info about controlling camera access on your device, see Manage app permissions for your camera in Windows.

How to control which apps can use the microphone

  1. Do one of the following:

    • In Windows 10, go to Start > Settings > Privacy  > Microphone.

    • In Windows 11, go to Start > Settings > Privacy & security > Microphone.

  2. In Windows 10, ensure that Microphone access for this deviceAllow apps to access your microphone, and the individual toggle for the Microsoft Store app you wish to use is turned on. If you do not see the app or website you're looking for in the list, it's likely a desktop app. Desktop apps cannot be individually toggled, but access for those apps can be controlled using Allow desktop apps to access your microphone.

  3. In Windows 11, ensure that Microphone accessLet apps access your microphone, and the individual toggle for the Microsoft Store app you wish to use is turned on. If you do not see the app or website you're looking for in the list, it's likely a desktop app. Desktop apps cannot be individually toggled, but access for those apps can be controlled using Let desktop apps access your microphone.

How to allow a website to use your camera or microphone while browsing in Microsoft Edge

You can use your camera and microphone for websites in Microsoft Edge. However, even when your camera and microphone are enabled for Microsoft Edge, you will still need to give individual websites permission before they can use your camera and microphone. Here’s how:

  1. Go to a website that wants to use your microphone and/or camera.

  2. If a dialog box appears asking if you want to give the website permission to use your camera or microphone, select Allow. To block access, select Block, or close the dialog box. 

How to stop a website from using your camera or microphone in Microsoft Edge

  1. In Microsoft Edge, select Settings and more and then select Settings.

  2. Select Cookies and Site Permissions on the left side, and then under Site Permissions, select Camera or Microphone.

  3. Select the trashcan icon to remove access for that website.

Note: Some websites might not work if you choose to block them from accessing your camera or microphone. For example, you might not be able to join a video conference.

Exceptions to the camera and microphone privacy settings

If you turn on Windows Hello, it will use your camera to sign you in even if the setting that allows apps to access your camera is turned off. If Windows Hello is turned off, it can’t access your camera. (Windows Hello, part of Windows 10 and later, is a new way to sign in to your devices, apps, online services, and networks.)

Starting with Windows 10 version 1903, an additional setting is available on camera and microphone settings pages that provides limited control over desktop apps that access your camera and microphone using supported methods. This setting is called Allow desktop apps to access your camera or Allow desktop apps to access your microphone in Windows 10 and Let desktop apps access your camera or Let desktop apps access your microphone in Windows 11. Here you will find the list of desktop apps that Windows has detected which have interacted with the camera or microphone. Turning the setting on or off will impact all apps listed under this setting.

Notes: 

  • You can select any of the apps listed to get details about the specific file on your device that accessed the camera or microphone.

  • If you use an app or Windows feature that uses your camera or microphone indirectly through a Windows component, you will see the Windows component listed instead. For example, if you interact with Cortana using your microphone you would see “Speech Runtime Executable.”

  • If you turn off the Allow desktop apps to access your camera or Allow desktop apps to access your microphone settings in Windows 10, or the Let desktop apps access your camera or Let desktop apps access your microphone settings in Windows 11, you can impact some Windows features from using your camera or microphone, such as Cortana or Windows dictation.

Desktop apps may not always appear in the list of apps available on the Camera and Microphone settings pages or might still be able to access your camera or microphone even when these settings are turned off. Find out why 

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