Windows 11 Will Detect If You’re Blocking Your PC’s Camera

A simple Windows 11 logo on a blue background

Microsoft has been hard at work on Windows 11 improvements ahead of the big 22H2 update, which is now expected to arrive in September. More fixes are on the way for the Windows Camera app.

Microsoft is rolling out an update to the Camera application for Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel, with a version number of 2022.2207.29.0. The update adds a new alert message to the preview window when your webcam’s view is obstructed. Microsoft said, “Camera can now understand the state of the privacy shutter on supported hardware, like the Microsoft Modern Webcam or the integrated camera on many new Windows 11 laptops. If the shutter is blocking the view or if the laptop lid is closed, Camera app will inform you and offer guidance.”

image of a warning that says "Camera is blocked. You might need to slide the shutter over your camera, press a camera button on your keyboard, or slide a camera switch on your device."

Many webcams have a sliding cover, also known as a privacy shutter, which can be positioned to cover the camera when not in use. It’s a great way to make sure no applications or malware can see what you’re doing at any time, short of physically disconnecting the camera (which may not be easy on a laptop). However, if you leave the camera covered most of the time, you might forget about it and wonder why your video isn’t working — hence the new alert.

Microsoft also says the Camera app is now optimized for 64-bit ARM devices, like the Surface Pro X and Lenovo ThinkPad X13s. It’s not clear if the Camera app only ran in 32-bit ARM mode before now, or if it was still an emulated x86 application. Either way, those devices (mostly Snapdragon-powered laptops) will now “see faster and better performance.”

The Camera app was last updated in July, with a tweaked design that fits in better with Windows 11, and the ability to scan QR codes and barcodes.

Source: Windows Insider Blog