Why Does My Webcam Keep Zooming?

By Elizabeth Smith

Settings that track your face can cause the webcam to zoom.
i Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

Although a zooming webcam may seem alarming, it is not an unusual occurrence. Users on support forums across both Mac and PC platforms have reported similar problems. When your webcam zooms out of your control, it can make it difficult to chat or take still photos effectively. Fortunately, the problem is usually easy to fix without much time or technical skill.

Webcam Settings

Many webcams have custom settings that help automate the video chatting experience. Auto focus enables the camera to change its focus automatically. If you are moving around while using the webcam, it may need to zoom in and out to control the focus. The same goes for Zoom and Pan, which will also cause the camera to move side to side. More advanced webcams have face recognition software which will cause the camera to zoom in order to keep your face in focus.

Changing Webcam Settings

Changing the webcam settings to fix an automatic zooming problem is easy. The location of the settings varies by camera and operating system. On Windows machines, the imaging center for both built-in and external webcams is usually located in the Start menu under the manufacturer name, imaging center or webcam console. Turn off the automatic options in the video settings.

Driver Updates

When your webcam drivers are out of date or corrupt, they can cause the camera to behave erratically. Problems with the video card driver may also be responsible. Webcam drivers are usually available for download on the manufacturer's website. On a Mac, update your video card drivers by selecting Software Update from the apple menu. On a PC, choose Windows Update from the Start menu,

Other Solutions

If standard troubleshooting steps don't fix the problem with your webcam, the zooming problem may be related to a problem or corruption with the temporary settings. Restarting the computer usually solves occasional issues. If the problem occurs only with a certain program, check to make sure that the program doesn't have its own video settings; as a last resort, uninstall and reinstall the problematic program.