Why My Laptop’s Built-in Camera Has Been Covered for the Last 10+ Years.

Many years ago, before I had ever heard of blogs, I took my then computer laptop to a computer store to have it repaired. When I placed it on the counter inside the repair shop and opened it up, I was a little embarrassed. Before leaving home, I had forgotten to remove the folded up yellow Post-it note I had taped over the camera.

I hastily removed it, mumbling something about having heard you could be spied on through your laptop camera. I figured the computer repair guy would think I was nuts. Instead, he said, “No, it’s a good idea to keep that covered.” Umm, I liked this guy.

I’ve always kept something over the camera of my laptop because I never use it, and somewhere along the way I read you can be spied on via the camera if your computer gets hacked.

Fast-forward 2-3 years ago while I was visiting my son, I proudly pulled out my brand new laptop to show it to him. As I opened it he noticed my upgraded, high-tech camera cover: a round blue sticker. Yup, I had graduated from a folded up Post-it note to a round blue sticker that perfectly fit over the camera opening.

My son asked, “What is that?” I went into my spiel about how if your computer ever gets hacked, you could be spied on via the camera. He laughed, shot me that look he gives me when he thinks I’m worrying about nothing and rolled his eyes. I started to explain, adding that even the guy at the computer repair place agreed. More eye rolls ensued, so I gave up.

A few months later my cell phone rang. It was my son. I answered, always excited to hear from him. First words out of his mouth were, “You were right! I just read an article where they showed a picture of Mark Zuckerberg at his computer, and the whole article was about how he had something covering the camera on his computer.”

It’s not often I get to hear the words, “You were right,” coming out of my son’s mouth, especially when it comes to something technology oriented. I wanted to ask him if he would kindly take back all the eye rolls now, but I resisted. lol

 

This picture went viral when Zuckerberg posted it on his Facebook page and there were a lot of articles written about it. Here’s one of those articles in case you would like to read more about why he keeps his camera covered: Mark Zuckerberg Covers His Laptop Camera.

Note the lower red circle…apparently, he even tapes/covers the microphone jack to keep hackers from listening in on conversations. I can just imagine he would be a regular target for hackers.

That little blue sticker has served me well for the last few years but since I’m probably going to add an Echo Show to my desk, another device with a built-in camera, I decided to see if anyone had finally invented something to deal with this webcam issue. They have!

I ordered a set of these little webcam covers.

Privacy Cover for Laptop Camera and other devices with Built-in Cameras

 

When the webcam cover arrived, I peeled off the blue sticker and stared into the beast for the very first time in many years. There’s just something creepy about having a camera focused right on your face while you work.

Camera in Laptop, Cover it for Privacy

 

Here’s how the little webcam cover looked out of the package.

Webcam Cover for Laptop, Tablet, Echo Show, iPad

 

I peeled the protective paper off the adhesive on the back.

Webcam Cover, Easy to Install

 

Here’s how it looks in place over the camera on my laptop. When using the camera on a computer,  it would look like this.

Sliding Webcam Cover for iPad, Laptop, Tablet and Echo Show

 

But when not using the camera, the little door on the cover slides over the camera opening like this. This is how mine will stay since I never have a reason to use the camera on my laptop.

If you make a mistake putting it on and it goes on crooked, it’s easy to peel off to replace with another one. They come several to a pack so you don’t have to worry if you goof putting it on. I peeled mine off to turn it around so it opened a different way. It was easy to remove.

Cover Your Camera on Your Laptop, Tablet, iPad for Privacy

 

It definitely blends in a lot better than this electric blue sticker did. lol

If you would like to cover the camera on your laptop, iPad, tablet, Echo Show or another device, you’ll find these little covers available here: Webcam Covers. I’m really happy with how well it works and how easily it slides over and off the camera opening.

 

See you tomorrow for Tablescape Thursday!

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Comments

  1. Another excellent idea, Susan! I’m ordering a set for hubby’s laptop right away. And covering the microphone is brilliant, something we would never have thought of.
    We’ve had the creepy troll calls about servicing your computer, trying to hack in, change your IP address, etc. Horrors. Covering everything will definitely give peace of mind.
    Thanks again, Susan, you’re the bomb, girlfriend!

  2. My nephew just sent me one. Actually for each family member. I love how he watches out for me. 🙂

  3. Renee Cook says:

    Thank you for this article! I’ve always felt a bit creepy about the camera being there, but haven’t always covered it up. I love that they’ve made something specifically for this purpose. You are wealth of information! Thank you so much for all the effort you put into creating a lovely and informative blog!!

  4. Thanks for this information. My husband and I use tablets so I’ll be checking on what I need for those. What a shame that we have to be on guard all the time against hackers and thieves. Thanks for the warnings.

  5. Several years ago my computer was hacked and I found myself on my computer screen. It was quite unnerving and when I realized what was happening, I read a message on the screen about some illegal activity I was (supposedly) involved in and it said I could get control of my computer back by paying $300. I destroyed the computer and reported it to the police who said that scam was going around at the time. I’ve had a small bandaid over the camera eye ever since.

  6. Donna zoltanski says:

    Blue tape here too!

  7. I have kept a Starbucks rewards sticker (from the bags of coffee I buy) on my computer’s camera for years. The adhesive on it is great.

  8. I have covered my laptop camera since I got it way back when. My son originally told me about how people could spy on you through the camera if my computer were ever hacked and I have covered it with a little piece of post-it note paper. Thank you for the very cool covers. I will definitely buy them.

  9. Susan, I had to laugh when you described your son’s response to your sticker. My 28 year old son does the same thing to me – especially about technical issues! I can’t wait for his son to do the same thing to him some day. ; )

  10. I use a television as a monitor for my laptop so I rarely have my laptop open, however, I plan to cover the camera and I will be doing the same to my tablet. Thanks for the “heads up.” Your son calling you to let you know you were right made me smile. That doesn’t happen often for me. I was in TJ Maxx a couple of months ago and had to buy a coffee cup. Written on it was “OMG my mother was right about everything” I wish there had been two of the cups cause both of my kids would love to have one. LOL

  11. Wow, I had no idea this could happen, I just told my son about it and he put stickers over the camera on both our Ipads, thanks so much for the info.

  12. Sandra D in Joliet says:

    I heard about the camera spying years ago too but not the microphone. My brother built my computer for me and I opted out of having a camera. I use my digital hand held camera. I don’t have a smart phone yet but have you heard anything about them since they’re a little personal computer and everyone takes photos with them. I know a lot of people just lay their phone down when doing stuff or talking face to face with someone-can someone be watching or listening? Scary indeed. I think that sounds like a great stocking stuffing for your son and others.

  13. I forgot all about those covers–they didn’t have any in stock when I bought my new computer last January. So I put a piece of Scotch tape over the camera! It works great and Hey! maybe if I get hacked I’ll have that soft & blurry model effect! ; D
    (*I really need to order a legit cover!)
    Catherine

  14. This actually happened to someone I know. My camera is covered with a small piece of black electrical tape. I can’t even see it, so it doesn’t bother me. Hadn’t thought about the microphone though….thanks for that tip!

  15. Jane Franks says:

    Wow! I didn’t realize so many people did this!! Interestingly, I just learned about this “somehow” when researching something else a few months ago, and have had a small post-a-note over my web cam lens ever since. I almost took it off, thinking “this must be overkill”. But I haven’t!! Thank you for the info. I’ll be sure to leave it there until and if I purchase the covers. I never dreamed there was a product for this! You find out everything, Susan! You are a wealth of information, and I really appreciate it!! Thanks so much!!

  16. Wow, love that camera cover, Susan!
    Actually, this is the first thing I do when I buy a new laptop or tablet, I always cover up the cameras with a little piece of sturdy cardboard that I only remove when I use Skype, but… sheehs! I have never worried about the microphones… till now! (Ok, if there’s a bad guy out there who is learning Italian by just spying on me, he should rather know that whenever I was chatting it was always with my big and VERY protective family!) 😉
    Seriuously, this is something that really scares me, so I’ll cover those microphones, as well!
    PS: Susan, tomorrow (actually, here it is today, already), on Saint Nicholas Day, primary school pupils are going to sing publicly in our town and I have had the pleasure of teaching three Christmas songs to them, so, please keep your fingers crossed for us… they’re all so excited… (ok, me, too!) lol

  17. I don’t know Susan I kind of like the blue sticker better! LOL…. I too have a paper taped over my camera on my desktop. I heard of this a while back and it makes sense. I like this new device you found. Thanks for sharing the info!

  18. I often tell people “I am not low tech, I am no tech” I had to laugh because I have duct tape on mine. They say all of the smart appliances, including your TV, can spy on you. Perish the thought.

  19. Great product! I will have to get one! I had heard the same thing about the cameras on computers.

  20. Cyndi Raines says:

    I confess, I had placed a band aid over my camera on my laptop, haha. But now I use my tablet all the time and so will need to do something for that. Never ever gave it a thought about the microphone! Wow. Have to always be one step ahead! Thanks Susan!

  21. Thanks, Susan. I just ordered 5 sets for all my sons-in-law and husband, and they will be stocking stuffers!! You continue to be a wealth of information. Thank you for sharing.
    Rosie

  22. Have you heard anything about a similar cover for a Smart TV? Great info from you as always. Marge. Merry Christmas!

  23. I’ve got a pink post it on mine but these gizmos look great. I may get them for myself and for stocking stuffers, too. Thanks for the post. I’ve accidentally answered Facetime and GooglePlus hangout invites when I didn’t mean to so I started covering mine.

  24. Jane Boyd Broce says:

    You give the very best recommendations and I really appreciate it! My order is placed!!!

  25. Gail Bell says:

    Another very informative post. Thank you Susan.

  26. Nice! I’ve kept mine covered ever since you mentioned it, at least a couple years ago? I have a post-it note and then washi tape over that. Those are nice little covers. Would be a good item to throw into a Christmas grab bag gift idea with a few other things like some fun post it notes, etc.

  27. Thanks, Susan. what a great innovation. and like everyone else, these will make great stocking stuffers!

  28. What a great novelty. That is a great stocking stuffer idea.
    I haven’t graduated from the yellow post-it over my laptop camera. It seldom is removed.
    Fear of hacking is another reason why Alexa isn’t in my home.
    Thanks!

  29. I also keep my cameras covered. Just wanted to mention that when you get your new echo, don’t cover the smaller dots next to the camera. I believe they are light sensors, which would affect the camera and possibly display functions. I placed mine on a very pleasing diagonal and it looks just fine. Depending on the size of your cover, it may work side by side without covering any of the sensors, but just in case 🙂

  30. I use black electrical tape.

  31. Thanks for the reminder, Susan. My husband just bought a new computer two days ago. So, i went to my desk and looking at all our return address stickers which are sent to us free for giving donations to charities.

    I cut the corner off of one and put a nice little American flag on my husband’s computer and then picked out a F initial for my last name. Both were just the right size and have nice self adhesive.

    Your gadget works well, but why buy something. Just get creative, it’s free.

    • I like the idea of being able to open or close it, just in case I ever do want to use the camera. Also, I prefer the way it looks, like how it blends in and looks like it came that way. Glad you found a solution that works great for your computers.

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