Old iSight with Ubuntu 16

Posted by on July 26, 2016

Do you have an older MacBook Pro where your iSight camera (the built-in camera) does not work out-of-the-box? I cannot say anything about modern Mac`s, but this is the way to get it to work (and work permanently) for older ones like mine (6-7+ years):

1. Get the firmware for the camera. You can it get from your Mac partition or a backup of it (if you still have any of those around), but if you are too lazy (like me) just download it from here. Unzip it and put it in any directory you like.

2. Install the firmware extraction tool:

sudo apt-get install isight-firmware-tools

3. When asked, point the tool to the directory where you put the firmware in pt. 1.

4. (Optional) When your firmware is successfully extracted to /lib/firmware/isight.fw you may totally remove the extraction tool:

sudo apt-get –purge remove isight-firmware-tools

5. The firmware needs to be loaded into memory EVERY TIME YOU BOOT, as the camera will not retain it. The small trick to accomplish this is by creating a small startup script that sets the modification date for it, to make sure it will be ready again for your NEXT boot:


touch /lib/firmware/isight.fw

Save this script anywhere you like, just make sure it is executable.

6. Add your script with “Startup Applications”.

7. Shut completely down, then reboot.

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