How To Disable the Camera on a Chromebook

The Chromebook is a neat light laptop that is ideal for school or light work and offers a way to use a laptop without breaking the bank. With a built in camera, the Chromebook has the ability to stream, web chat, take pictures and shoot video. Which is great when you want to do it, but like other laptops it can be triggered remotely with certain malware. While a small threat, it’s a strong one in people’s minds thanks to several examples of it on popular TV shows. If you don’t want it to happen to you, you can disable the camera on a Chromebook.


Disabling the camera is the nuclear option but if you don’t think you’ll be Skyping or using Twitch on your Chromebook, it won’t matter. What disabling the camera will do is prevent any risk at all of your camera being used against you. It’s a software setting so if you do find you need to use your camera for something, it’s a simple matter of enabling it again and using it as normal.

Due to how the Chromebook works, the camera and mic are triggered by a web request using the WebRTC protocol. By removing permission for Chrome to use your hardware, it will prevent any accidents or inadvertent use of your camera and microphone. You can also configure ChromeOS to ask you before activating your hardware which is a useful middle ground.

Disable the camera on a Chromebook

You have to dig into the settings app a little to be able to disable the camera but once you find the setting, it won’t take long to be able to enable or disable it in the future. There are a couple of ways to do this depending on what type of Chromebook you’re using. One is to stop the camera from being accessed by websites and another is to disable it altogether in hardware settings. I’ll show you both.

This first method blocks websites from accessing your camera. It uses a blacklist to stop certain websites from turning it on or off. It’s less than ideal but it is a way of disabling the Chromebook camera on some websites while allowing it to be used on others.

  1. Select the notification area in the bottom right of your Chrome desktop.
  2. Select the Settings cog icon and Advanced Settings.
  3. Select Privacy and Content Settings.
  4. Select Camera from the list and select Block in the next screen.
  5. Go back to Content Settings and select Microphone.
  6. Select Block in the next screen.

To completely disable the camera on a Chromebook, you can use the Hardware setting if your Chromebook has it.

  1. Select Device Management from your Chromebook menu.
  2. Select Chrome and User Settings.
  3. Select Hardware and Video Input.
  4. Disable the camera and microphone from there.

There is also an option to disable it using Allowed Apps and Extensions that is mentioned online in a few places. That might be worth a try too.

  1. Select Device Management from your Chromebook menu.
  2. Select Chrome and User Settings.
  3. Select Allowed Apps and Extensions.
  4. Find ‘hfhhnacclhffhdffklopdkcgdhifgngh’ in extensions and block it.

That is a real setting even if it doesn’t look like it, I checked.

Disabling the camera on a Chromebook

Most people will want to disable the Chromebook camera over security concerns. Having seen TV shows where laptop cameras are hacked to watch what goes on in a room are powerful at generating fear. This happening to you is very unlikely, although not impossible. Malware that turns your laptop camera into a remote camera does exist but isn’t that easy to use. It is also malware, which can be prevented with good internet hygiene.

I think the default behavior of the Chromebook, to ask before it enables the camera and microphone, is enough to keep you safe. While no operating system is impervious to hacking, ChromeOS is fairly secure. It uses sandboxing for all apps and websites to help prevent you downloading malware. As long as you don’t enable Developer Mode and keep it running, Chromebooks are very safe devices to use.

There are five simple ways to keep your Chromebook secure:

  1. Don’t use Developer Mode unless you have to.
  2. Don’t use third party app stores.
  3. Always download through the Google Play Store as it uses Google Play Protect.
  4. Be aware of what websites you visit and be careful of downloading anything.
  5. Use a VPN whenever you use public WiFi.

While it may make you feel more secure turning off your Chromebook camera, it isn’t really necessary. ChromeOS is an inherently secure operating system and if you follow those five simple rules, the chances of you being infected with malware is very small indeed!