A few days ago a friend called me on Skype. When I answered I discovered the iSight camera on my MacBook Pro wasn’t showing a picture. The green light beside the camera was on, but no picture appeared.
I switched to a different computer for the call, then later tried a few troubleshooting steps on the MacBook Pro.
I found the iSight didn’t work in any application that was able to use it, and that restarting the Mac didn’t help.
Concerned that it might be a hardware problem I determined to see if there were any other software-related steps I could try. Fixing a non-essential item isn’t in my budget just now.
After some Googling I finally found a solution that worked for me. I’m thrilled to say that resetting the System Management Controller did the trick:
The System Management Controller is an integrated circuit (computer chip) that is on the logic board of the computer. As the name implies, it is responsible for power management of the computer. It controls backlighting, hard disk spin down, sleep and wake, some charging aspects, trackpad control, and some input/output as it relates to the computer sleeping.
Over time, the settings in the System Management Controller may become unusable, which can result in operational anomalies with the computer.
I had to power off the Mac, remove the battery and hold down the Power button for 5 seconds, then insert the battery and power up again. Those steps are for my 3.5 year old Mac, but the page linked above explains how to reset the SMC on other machines too.
I’ve been having a few glitches with sound recording on that machine lately. I hope the reset will have sorted them out too.