Before we begin, please allow me to first be transparent about what this post is and what it isn’t.
This post is about some friendly tips and tricks for using privacy covers over the cameras on your devices.
This post is not about whether or not criminals, the NSA, or anyone else can access your camera without your knowledge and/or without a light that gets activated or not as a sign that it’s being activated with or without your consent.
That is a controversial conversation for another time, perhaps.
Meanwhile, interested in an additional, physical layer of privacy? Read on!
Here are some tips for using covers successfully without harming your device. They make cool gifts, too, for privacy-minded people.
Since most of these covers use adhesive to stick to the screen around the lens of your device, it’s important to be aware that it’s easy to crack your screen if you press too hard when applying them and/or likewise removing them so I remind myself often that these requires some finesse.
That means gently pressing covers onto screens when adding them to a laptop, desktop display, or even mobile device. It’s easier to crack a screen, especially if you haven’t done it in awhile.
Same when removing the cover, work slowly, gently, with intention. Then, once removed, you can spray some cleaner into a paper towel and wipe away any residual adhesive.
Again –> Go slow. Be gentle.
Here’s one of the adhesive kinds I’ve used with great success –> https://www.amazon.com/0-027in-MacBook-Smartphone-Protecting-Security/dp/B077ZT29P2/
And here’s my currrent favorite, which uses no adhesive whatsoever and fits nicely within Apple’s (and others) recommendations for laptops. It only requires rinsing with water from time-to-time to make it “sticky” again after moving it around awhile to cover/uncover –> (link not monetized) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08CPRZZJW
Apple advises that if you prefer using a cover for your camera and still wish to close the lid on your laptop to mind the following for the best experience:
Privacy covers are a great safety check to help us all be more mindful of using our cameras only when we’ve checked ourselves and our surroundings before a video call to make sure there’s nothing in frame that creates preventable risk, like passwords on sticky notes (I’ve seen it!), or other kinds of identifying details we wouldn’t want anyone to use against us, etc.
If covers like these can help prompt me to better awareness of my surroundings during video calls, cool. If they also help prevent unauthorized use of cameras without our consent, well, that’s cool, too. I’ll take any peace-of-mind I can find these days. How about you?
[page updated 2021-02-12]