Webcams have become essential stuff these days. Having a camera as part of your system lets you make Skype video calls, take pictures, etc. But with a number of modern apps installed in the system, the user needs to be in control as to which apps are allowed to access the camera.
Windows 10 lets you choose which UWP or modern apps can use your camera. To configure this, open Settings (Winkey + i), click Privacy and click Camera.
There you can enable “Let apps use my camera” and under “Choose apps that can use your camera”, you can turn off individual apps settings on or off.
To block all apps from using the camera you can turn off the master switch “Let apps use my camera”.
After blocking Skype app from accessing the camera, using webcam in Skype app showed up with a black background.
Windows 10 camera and privacy page states:
Even if you turn the camera off for each app under Choose apps that can use your camera, some of the listed apps might still be able to open the camera to let you take pictures or videos. But the camera won’t capture images or video unless you explicitly select the Photo or Video button.
If you turn on Windows Hello, it will use your camera to sign you in even if Let apps use my camera is turned off.
The above settings apply to the current user account. To apply it on a per-system basis you can use the Group Policy Editor. Start the Group Policy Editor and go to:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > App Privacy
Double-click “Let Windows apps access the camera”.
There you can allow or deny specific applications from accessing the camera. You can deny all but specific apps (or the other way) using the Application package family name such as:
You can obtain the package family name using PowerShell’s Get-AppxPackage command.
This policy setting specifies whether Windows apps can access the camera. You can specify either a default setting for all apps or a per-app setting by specifying a Package Family Name. You can get the Package Family Name for an app by using the Get-AppPackage Windows PowerShell cmdlet. A per-app setting overrides the default setting.
If you choose the “User is in control” option, employees in your organization can decide whether Windows apps can access the camera by using Settings > Privacy on the device.
If you choose the “Force Allow” option, Windows apps are allowed to access the camera and employees in your organization cannot change it.
If you choose the “Force Deny” option, Windows apps are not allowed to access the camera and employees in your organization cannot change it.
Also, take a look at the “Allow use of Camera” GPO here:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Camera
Note that the setting and the GPO apply only to the modern or Universal apps — classic desktop programs aren’t listed on the Settings page. Desktop programs can use the camera arbitrarily, as there isn’t a unified setting or Group Policy to control which (Win32) programs can access the camera.
About the author
Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.