Fixing the macOS Microsoft LifeCam Webcam Overexposure Issue

There’s a problem with old Microsoft LifeCam webcams with macOS; often they will have increased exposure, making them basically useless (I look like a blindingly white ghost – well, more than normal). There’s no way to fix this at the OS level, no drivers update or settings to change. I read about a hack using Photo Booth to override the exposure issue, but it doesn’t fix it permanently and I found the effect would randomly stop mid-conference call. Not to mention that it hits your CPU pretty hard, which kicks up the fans on my laptop and makes things noisy. This webcam has to be about a decade old – maybe more – so frankly I’m amazed it works at all. 😆

I came up with the only thing I could think of to force the exposure levels on the camera down: I popped a lens out of my non-prescription sunglasses and taped it over the front of the webcam. It worked, dropping the exposure down to a usable level. And when the camera occasionally gets the exposure right, I can flip the lens up to remove the darkening effect.

Without the sunglass lens on the left, with on the right.

Now I’m just waiting for my new webcam to show up…in a month. 😩

Lifehack: Cleaning Car Mats/Fabric Using the Sticky Tape Method

Certain types of materials/fabrics are extremely difficult to get clean. A lint roller works well for most types of clothes, but what if you’re cleaning your car and the vacuum cleaner can’t pick up bits of debris embedded in the fibers? I’ve found this type of material the hardest to clean, so I came up with a solution that works incredibly well, is easy to do, and extremely cheap:

  1. Take a roll of basic packing tape (I prefer the clear, ultra-sticky kind vs. the brown, thinner, less sticky kind)
  2. Cut off a six inch piece
  3. Loop it around so that it attaches back to itself
  4. Put the loop around three or four fingers (this varies depending on your hand size)
  5. Use the tape to press down on the fabric you are trying to clean, using a rolling motion to pick up debris
  6. When one side loses its stickiness, rotate the tape to the fresh side

I find you can usually get at least 8-10 rolling motions per side before you have to replace the tape. The type of packing tape I use is much stickier than a lint roller, so it picks up better, and this is also much cheaper.

Got any of your own cool lifehacks for cleaning? Share ’em!