What are the Different Types of Webcam Software?

G. Wiesen

There are many different types of webcam software, which are usually developed to function with a particular webcam or for a specific purpose. Many webcams have software that allows a computer to effectively connect to the camera and display images captured by that camera. There are also programs that can be used to make a webcam part of a network or to access a webcam on a computer from a remote location. Some types of webcam software are developed to allow a webcam to function in a particular way, such as creating a motion detection feature or forcing a video cam to capture still images rather than video.

A laptop with a webcam built in.
A laptop with a webcam built in.

Webcam software typically refers to software programs that can be installed onto a computer for use with a webcam, or web camera. One of the most common types of programs is a piece of software that allows a webcam to be used with a computer. Some webcams can be used as “plug and play” hardware, which means they can be connected to a computer and then used with software that may already exist on the operating system (OS) of that computer. Other webcams may require webcam software to allow the computer to recognize the webcam and effectively capture and display images from the camera.

Most mobile devices like tablets and smartphones now include a front-facing webcam type camera.
Most mobile devices like tablets and smartphones now include a front-facing webcam type camera.

There is also webcam software designed to make a webcam usable for security or surveillance purposes. This type of software can be used, for example, to connect a webcam to a larger network, rather than a single computer. By connecting a webcam to a network, the webcam can be made accessible to multiple users on a network, or from any computer on that network, which can be used to create a home or business security system. Some webcam software can also be used to establish a dynamic Internet address for a webcam, allowing it to be accessed by any computer on the Internet, usually through the use of a private username and password.

Webcam software can also be used to enable features in a webcam that may not be part of the default options enabled on a webcam. Some software, for example, can be used to enable motion detection. This means that when the webcam is connected to an active system, it will begin recording images as soon as motion is detected by the camera. There are also webcam software programs that can be used to alter how the camera captures images, such as allowing a camera that captures video to instead take a still image every 10 seconds.

Computers without built-in webcams may need software that allows the computer to recognize a webcam.
Computers without built-in webcams may need software that allows the computer to recognize a webcam.

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Discussion Comments


@Ana1234 - I don't actually think many people end up with that problem from webcam software. Mostly it tends to come packaged with hardware and that should be reasonably safe.

It's only when people start visiting sites that they shouldn't, or downloading software or other files from unreliable sources that they can end up in that kind of trouble.

And, frankly, the bigger danger isn't the webcam. With that kind of malware on your computer it can be completely controlled, which means that the person who is on the other end will be able to access your passwords and possibly get hold of things like your bank data and so forth.

If you're just looking for webcam capture software, then you should be reasonably safe from that kind of trouble.


@pastanaga - The best way to prevent anyone from using your webcam to watch you is to keep a piece of masking tape over it whenever you aren't using it.

I don't even keep mine connected to my desktop unless I'm specifically going to be using it, but I know that laptops often have one built in. Generally they won't activate without the little blue light showing, but if you're paranoid, you can make absolute sure it's not being misused with that little bit of tape.

The best webcam software will have a lot of reviews and discussion online so you can see whether or not it's safe to download. Don't download anything unless you're sure it's safe.


Just be careful if you download free webcam software that you aren't going to pick up a virus or some other kind of malware. Anything that has access to your camera can do some serious damage to your real life. There are forums out there where people boast about having taken control of the computers of unknowing victims so they can watch them through their webcams.

It might sound like a horror story, but it's something that happens all the time.

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