Windows 10: how to see which applications use your webcam

Your webcam light is on, but what applications are you seeing? Windows 10 now has an easy and integrated way to find out. You can also see which applications have previously used your webcam and the exact time they last accessed it.

This feature is new in the May 2019 update of Windows 10. In earlier versions of Windows, you had to look for complicated details about devices and running processes to find out what applications they were recording. It works for both USB webcams and cameras built into laptops and tablets.

You just have to follow a few simple steps

  1. To find this information, go to Settings.
  2. Then to Privacy and then to Camera.
  3. Scroll down to the list of applications
  4. here and you will see two lists: one for Microsoft Store applications and one for traditional desktop applications.

You must see through each list of applications. If an application is currently accessing your webcam, you will see the red text that says: “Currently in use”, below the name of the application.

Windows 10: how to see which applications use your webcam

To find out which applications have been accessing your webcam, look for any gray text under an application that says “Last access” at a specific date and time. This is the last time the application accessed your webcam.

If an application does not have text like this, it has never accessed your webcam.

Windows 10 may not detect all applications

You must be careful: as Microsoft explains, not all desktop applications will appear on this list. Unlike Store applications, traditional desktop applications may choose to access your webcam at a lower level. And they may not appear on this list, even if they are accessing your webcam right now.

For example, remote access tools (RAT) and similar malware can access your webcam in this way. However, even if that application is accessing your webcam in this way. The webcam hardware light should turn on normally.

The Settings, Privacy and Camera screen also offers options to disable access to your webcam. However, a hardware solution such as disconnecting or covering it may be a safer solution. If you want to completely disable the use of the webcam.

This works similarly to the new Windows 10 microphone indicator and its associated privacy settings. The Settings, Privacy and Microphone screen will show which applications are currently accessing and that have also previously accessed your webcam.

However, there is no notification area icon for webcam access as there is for microphone access. The physical light on your camera device serves as a notification that an application is accessing your webcam.