Camera Not Working on Chromebook? Here’s How to Fix It

A lot of Chromebook users are reporting a weird issue with their incorporated Chromebook camera that refuses to start when attempting to attend a video call or using a video app that works through Chrome. In most cases, affected users are reporting that the camera works normally within other applications.

Chromebook Camera Not Working

After investigating this particular issue thoroughly, it turns out that there are several different underlying causes that might be responsible for this behavior on Chromebooks. Here’s a short list of scenarios that might lead to the apparition of this issue:

  • Common ChromeOS glitch – There’s a lot of talk about an underlying ChromeOS glitch that makes the Camera unreachable inside Chrome. The vast majority of users dealing with this issue have confirmed that the problem was fixed after a simple restart –
  • Outdated ChromeOS version – As confirmed by Google themselves, they already released a hotfix for instances where the Camera app tended to become unable to access the required camera permissions even when other applications could. To take advantage of this fix, you will need to update your ChromeOS version to the latest version available from the Settings screen.
  • Badly cached data – As it turns out, ChromeOS has a tendency of generating partially corrupted system temp files that might end up interfering between software connections bridging the BIOS with the hardware. If this scenario is applicable to your particular situation, you should be able to get the issue resolved by refreshing your Chromebook device.

Now that we’ve covered every potential cause of this issue, here’s a list of fixes that other users facing camera issues on Chromebook have successfully used to resolve the problem:

Restart Chromebook

As it turns out, one of the most common instances that will trigger this camera issue is an underlying glitch having to do with the way Chromebook is wired to handle permissions.

If you find yourself in a scenario where the Camera works just fine outside the camera app, simply reboot your Chromebook and retry once your device boots back up.

To initiate a restart on your Chromebook device, expand the context menu from the bottom-left corner of the screen. Once you see the power menu, simply click on the power button (near your account icon) and choose Restart from the dedicated menu that just appeared.

Initiating a restart on ChromeOS

Once your Chromebook boots back up, repeat the action that was previously having trouble using the built-in camera and see if the problem is now fixed.

If this method was not effective in your case, move down to the next potential fix below.

Update ChromeOS to the latest version

As it turns out, Google addressed this particular bug with ChromeOS version 87.0.4280.142.

So if you’re consistently facing this issue (especially if you’re on ASUS c300 or a different ASUS Chromebook), priority zero should be to install the latest ChromeOS version.

Several affected users have confirmed that the problem was finally resolved once they went through the steps of installing the latest ChromeOS version available.

If you’re looking for specific instructions on how to do this, follow the instructions below:

  1.  From the desktop screen, click on the bottom-right corner icon to bring up the Settings controller.
    Accessing the Settings menu
  2. From the Settings controller menu, click on the gear icon to access the advanced Settings menu.
    Accessing the Settings menu
  3. Once you’re inside the Settings menu of ChromeOS, click on the Action button in the top-left corner of the screen to bring up the sidebar menu.
  4. From the sidebar menu that just appeared, click on About Chrome OS at the bottom of the screen.
    Accessing the ChromeOS entry
  5. Once you’re finally inside the About Chrome OS menu, go ahead and click on Check for Updates.
    Checking for new ChromeOS updates
  6. Wait until the scan is complete to see if a new version is identified.
  7. In case a new ChromeOS version is available, follow the on-screen prompts to install the newest version, then restart your computer and see if the camera problem is fixed at the next startup.

If the same kind of issue is still occurring, move down to the next potential fix below.

Refresh the Chromebook

As it turns out, this particular issue can also be somehow related to corrupted information that’s currently maintained in your computer memory. If this scenario is applicable, a system refresh (hard reset) will force the system to clear and reestablish the software connections between the BIOS and the hardware.

As it’s been reported by a lot of affected users, this operation will promptly fix the vast majority of camera issues caused by a firmware glitch.

Follow the instructions below to refresh your Chromebook device:

Note: This procedure will not remove any local files of settings currently stored by your ChromeOS device.

  1. On your Chromebook device, press the power button + the refresh button and keep them both pressed at the same time.
    Hard Reset Chrome OS
  2. During this time, your computer will turn off, then turn on again. In case your Chromebook doesn’t boot up again automatically, release the power button and press it again to turn on the laptop once again.
  3. Once your device boots back up again, repeat the action that was causing the camera issue and see if the problem is now fixed.

Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.