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Troubleshoot Google Hangouts Video Not Working

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
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Introduction

If you've ever been in a Google Hangouts video call and the video between yourself and the other person isn't working properly, it can be frustrating to figure out where to begin to get things resolved quickly. Some common Google Hangouts video issues involve not being able to see others, others not being able to see you, or your video being blurry, fuzzy or choppy. This guide will take you through how to check the video settings within Hangouts, adjust the appropriate settings on your computer, or update your display or camera drivers to make sure things are working the way they're supposed to.

Before You Begin:

Google Hangouts is a web app that doesn't need to be installed on your computer. However, to get the best experience with Hangouts, it's recommended to use Google Chrome.

Google Hangouts Banner.

1 I Can't See Others

If you can't see others while you're in a call, it may be because you are having issues with your display adapter, also known as the video card. Display issues can sometimes be caused by outdated or corrupted drivers. Drivers are specific software that tell the operating system how to operate the computer's internal components.

WindowsUpdate the Display Driver on a Windows PC
  1. Search Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar
  2. Select Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar showing device manager
  3. Select the small arrow next to Display adapters to expand that section, and see the devices in them.
    Windows 10 device manager showing display adapter
  4. Double click one of the devices under one of these headings to show its properties. Select Driver.
    Device properties with Driver tab highlighted.
  5. Select Update Driver.
    Driver Properties with Update Driver highlighted.
  6. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
    Update Drivers with Search automatically for updated driver software highlighted.
  7. Windows will automatically locate any updated drivers available.
    Update Drivers searching for drivers.
  8. If any updated drivers are available, you'll be offered the chance to install them. Once installed, or if none are available, close the driver updater for this device.
    Driver up-to-date with Close highlighted.
  9. Repeat these steps until you've made sure all Display adapter devices are up-to-date.
AppleUpdate the Display Driver on a Mac

There are two areas to check for updates for your Mac, the System Software and the Apps installed from the App Store. When you update your Mac System, it will also update your video drivers.

Update System Software

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Software Update.
    Software Update Preferences
  3. Any updates to your System Software will be offered here.
    Software Update Preferences

Update App Store Apps

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. Select Updates on the left. Any updates available will be offered here.
    App Store with Updates highlighted.

2 Others Can't See Me

If others can't see you while in a call, here's what you can do:

Check the Camera Status in Hangouts

Look at the middle bottom and make sure your camera isn't turned off.

Camera Turned On
Microphone, End Call and Camera buttons in Google Hangouts.If you see a white camera on a black background, it means others should be able to see you.
Camera Turned Off
Camera Off button highlighted in Google Hangouts.If you see a black camera with a strikethrough on a white background, it means others should not be able to see you.

Check the Camera Settings in Hangouts

  1. Click on Settings in the top right.
    Settings icon highlighted in top right of Google Hangouts.
  2. Make sure you have the correct Camera selected.
    Camera selector highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.
  3. Click Done once you've set your camera settings correctly.
    Done option highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.

Check the Camera Settings in the Browser

  1. Within the browser, click the Padlock icon to the left of the web address, and make sure the Camera permission is set to Allow and not to Block.
    Camera option highlighted in permissions list for loaded website in Google Chrome.

Additional Things to Check

  1. Some cameras have a cover for privacy reasons. If you have one of those, make sure you uncover the camera lens.
    External Camera with Cover
    Cover latch highlighted on external camera.
    Laptop Camera with Cover
    Laptop camera with cover.

    You may also want to make sure you have proper lighting and the camera angle is right so that your camera feed is as clear as possible.

  2. Make sure that all other programs that could use the camera, such as Skype, FaceTime, Discord etc. are not using it or are closed.

    You may need to reload Hangouts in your browser to be able to initialize the camera.

  3. If you have an external camera but you can't see the live view, you may need to unplug and plug it back in, or even try a different USB port.

    Make sure you close Hangouts before doing this, and only open it after the camera is plugged back in.

    USB port and connector
  4. If you have a Mac computer running on macOS 10.14 Mojave or later you may need to make sure the browser you are using has permission to access your camera.
    Allow your browser to access your camera

Update the Camera Driver on the Computer

Camera issues can sometimes be caused by outdated or corrupted drivers. Drivers are specific software that tell the operating system how to operate the computer's internal components.

WindowsUpdate the Camera Driver on a Windows PC
  1. Search Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar
  2. Select Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar showing device manager
  3. Select the small arrow next to Imaging devices to expand that section. If Imaging devices doesn't show in the list, look for Cameras instead.
    Windows 10 device manager showing Imaging devices.
  4. Double click the camera to show its properties. Select the Driver tab.
    Camera properties with Driver tab highlighted.
  5. Select Update Driver.
    Driver Properties with Update Driver highlighted.
  6. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
    Update Drivers with Search automatically for updated driver software highlighted.
  7. Windows will automatically locate any update available drivers.
    Update Drivers searching for drivers.
  8. If any updated drivers are available, you'll be offered the chance to install them. Once installed, or if none are available, close the driver updater.
    Driver up-to-date with Close highlighted.
AppleUpdate the Camera Driver on a Mac

There are two areas to check for updates for your Mac, the System Software and the Apps installed from the App Store. When you update your Mac System, it will also update your video drivers.

Update System Software

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Software Update.
    Software Update Preferences
  3. Any updates to your System Software will be offered here.
    Software Update Preferences

Update App Store Apps

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. Select Updates on the left. Any updates available will be offered here.
    App Store with Updates highlighted.

3 I See Poor Video Quality And/Or Others See the Same

Blurry, fuzzy or choppy video quality may be caused by a few reasons. It may be caused by a slow computer, a poor internet connection or even a low quality camera.

Close Other Apps

The computer may be running slow because its processor (CPU) is being overused or its memory (RAM) is running low. A quick possible fix for this is to close any unused or unnecessary apps.

WindowsClose Apps on a Windows PC Closing Unused programs will give your computer more resources to use elsewhere.
  1. Press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys on your keyboard at the same time.
    keyboard with control, alternate, and delete keys highlighted
  2. Choose Task Manager from the screen that comes up.
    Lock screen showing task manager highlighted
  3. You will see a list of programs that are open. Choose a program you are not using, and click on End Task. Repeat as needed.
    Task manager with a program and end task highlighted. Screenshot
AppleClose Apps on a Mac

When you hit the red circle to close a window, the program may still run in the background. If you run too many applications at the same time you can have issues where you run out of memory, or an open program is using a good chunk of your CPU, and decrease battery life.

There are 2 ways to close a program on your Mac. The first way is preferred.

Quit A Program Normally

  1. Look at the Dock, the bar with the icons, usually at the bottom of your screen.
    Mac Dock with running items highlighted.
    • Items that are running have a small black dot below them. Select that item to bring that App to the forefront.

Finder, the first icon on the bar, will always be running, and can be ignored.

  1. Select the name of the program from the menu bar at the top, then choose Quit.
    App menu with Quit highlighted.

Force Quit a Program

  1. Select the Apple menu, then select Force Quit.
    Apple menu with Force Quit highlighted.
  2. Select the program you are having problems closing, then select Force Quit.
    Force Quit window with app and Force Quit button highlighted.
  3. You will be prompted to confirm, select Force Quit.
    Force Quit dialog with Force Quit button highlighted.
  • Any unsaved work will be lost from a program that you Force Quit.
  • You can not close the Finder application.

Reboot the Computer

Slow performance may also be caused by underlying issues that can be quickly resolved by simply rebooting the computer.

After rebooting the computer you may still need to close some apps that initialize on startup.

WindowsReboot a Windows PC
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
AppleReboot a Mac
  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.

Troubleshoot the Internet Connection

If your computer is running fine or you've fixed your computer's performance issues, then your poor video quality may be caused by your Internet connection. Troubleshooting an Internet connection can become complicated and take a longer time. We have a few other guides that may help you fix it.

Consider Replacing the Camera

If you've exhausted all the above troubleshooting options or if you're using an older camera with low quality you may want to consider replacing it with a more up to date camera that can improve your video quality.

This will only improve the way you or others see your camera. It will not improve how you see other's cameras.

 

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If you've ever been in a Google Hangouts video call and the video between yourself and the other person isn't working properly, it can be frustrating to figure out where to begin to get things resolved quickly. Some common Google Hangouts video issues involve not being able to see others, others not being able to see you, or your video being blurry, fuzzy or choppy. This guide will take you through how to check the video settings within Hangouts, adjust the appropriate settings on your computer, or update your display or camera drivers to make sure things are working the way they're supposed to.

Before You Begin:

Google Hangouts is a web app that doesn't need to be installed on your computer. However, to get the best experience with Hangouts, it's recommended to use Google Chrome.

Google Hangouts Banner.

If you can't see others while you're in a call, it may be because you are having issues with your display adapter, also known as the video card. Display issues can sometimes be caused by outdated or corrupted drivers. Drivers are specific software that tell the operating system how to operate the computer's internal components.

WindowsUpdate the Display Driver on a Windows PC
  1. Search Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar
  2. Select Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar showing device manager
  3. Select the small arrow next to Display adapters to expand that section, and see the devices in them.
    Windows 10 device manager showing display adapter
  4. Double click one of the devices under one of these headings to show its properties. Select Driver.
    Device properties with Driver tab highlighted.
  5. Select Update Driver.
    Driver Properties with Update Driver highlighted.
  6. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
    Update Drivers with Search automatically for updated driver software highlighted.
  7. Windows will automatically locate any updated drivers available.
    Update Drivers searching for drivers.
  8. If any updated drivers are available, you'll be offered the chance to install them. Once installed, or if none are available, close the driver updater for this device.
    Driver up-to-date with Close highlighted.
  9. Repeat these steps until you've made sure all Display adapter devices are up-to-date.
AppleUpdate the Display Driver on a Mac

There are two areas to check for updates for your Mac, the System Software and the Apps installed from the App Store. When you update your Mac System, it will also update your video drivers.

Update System Software

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Software Update.
    Software Update Preferences
  3. Any updates to your System Software will be offered here.
    Software Update Preferences

Update App Store Apps

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. Select Updates on the left. Any updates available will be offered here.
    App Store with Updates highlighted.

If others can't see you while in a call, here's what you can do:

Check the Camera Status in Hangouts

Look at the middle bottom and make sure your camera isn't turned off.

Camera Turned On
Microphone, End Call and Camera buttons in Google Hangouts.If you see a white camera on a black background, it means others should be able to see you.
Camera Turned Off
Camera Off button highlighted in Google Hangouts.If you see a black camera with a strikethrough on a white background, it means others should not be able to see you.

Check the Camera Settings in Hangouts

  1. Click on Settings in the top right.
    Settings icon highlighted in top right of Google Hangouts.
  2. Make sure you have the correct Camera selected.
    Camera selector highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.
  3. Click Done once you've set your camera settings correctly.
    Done option highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.

Check the Camera Settings in the Browser

  1. Within the browser, click the Padlock icon to the left of the web address, and make sure the Camera permission is set to Allow and not to Block.
    Camera option highlighted in permissions list for loaded website in Google Chrome.

Additional Things to Check

  1. Some cameras have a cover for privacy reasons. If you have one of those, make sure you uncover the camera lens.
    External Camera with Cover
    Cover latch highlighted on external camera.
    Laptop Camera with Cover
    Laptop camera with cover.

    You may also want to make sure you have proper lighting and the camera angle is right so that your camera feed is as clear as possible.

  2. Make sure that all other programs that could use the camera, such as Skype, FaceTime, Discord etc. are not using it or are closed.

    You may need to reload Hangouts in your browser to be able to initialize the camera.

  3. If you have an external camera but you can't see the live view, you may need to unplug and plug it back in, or even try a different USB port.

    Make sure you close Hangouts before doing this, and only open it after the camera is plugged back in.

    USB port and connector
  4. If you have a Mac computer running on macOS 10.14 Mojave or later you may need to make sure the browser you are using has permission to access your camera.
    Allow your browser to access your camera

Update the Camera Driver on the Computer

Camera issues can sometimes be caused by outdated or corrupted drivers. Drivers are specific software that tell the operating system how to operate the computer's internal components.

WindowsUpdate the Camera Driver on a Windows PC
  1. Search Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar
  2. Select Device Manager.
    Windows 10 search bar showing device manager
  3. Select the small arrow next to Imaging devices to expand that section. If Imaging devices doesn't show in the list, look for Cameras instead.
    Windows 10 device manager showing Imaging devices.
  4. Double click the camera to show its properties. Select the Driver tab.
    Camera properties with Driver tab highlighted.
  5. Select Update Driver.
    Driver Properties with Update Driver highlighted.
  6. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
    Update Drivers with Search automatically for updated driver software highlighted.
  7. Windows will automatically locate any update available drivers.
    Update Drivers searching for drivers.
  8. If any updated drivers are available, you'll be offered the chance to install them. Once installed, or if none are available, close the driver updater.
    Driver up-to-date with Close highlighted.
AppleUpdate the Camera Driver on a Mac

There are two areas to check for updates for your Mac, the System Software and the Apps installed from the App Store. When you update your Mac System, it will also update your video drivers.

Update System Software

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Software Update.
    Software Update Preferences
  3. Any updates to your System Software will be offered here.
    Software Update Preferences

Update App Store Apps

  1. Open the Apple menu, and select App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. Select Updates on the left. Any updates available will be offered here.
    App Store with Updates highlighted.

Blurry, fuzzy or choppy video quality may be caused by a few reasons. It may be caused by a slow computer, a poor internet connection or even a low quality camera.

Close Other Apps

The computer may be running slow because its processor (CPU) is being overused or its memory (RAM) is running low. A quick possible fix for this is to close any unused or unnecessary apps.

WindowsClose Apps on a Windows PC Closing Unused programs will give your computer more resources to use elsewhere.
  1. Press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys on your keyboard at the same time.
    keyboard with control, alternate, and delete keys highlighted
  2. Choose Task Manager from the screen that comes up.
    Lock screen showing task manager highlighted
  3. You will see a list of programs that are open. Choose a program you are not using, and click on End Task. Repeat as needed.
    Task manager with a program and end task highlighted. Screenshot
AppleClose Apps on a Mac

When you hit the red circle to close a window, the program may still run in the background. If you run too many applications at the same time you can have issues where you run out of memory, or an open program is using a good chunk of your CPU, and decrease battery life.

There are 2 ways to close a program on your Mac. The first way is preferred.

Quit A Program Normally

  1. Look at the Dock, the bar with the icons, usually at the bottom of your screen.
    Mac Dock with running items highlighted.
    • Items that are running have a small black dot below them. Select that item to bring that App to the forefront.

Finder, the first icon on the bar, will always be running, and can be ignored.

  1. Select the name of the program from the menu bar at the top, then choose Quit.
    App menu with Quit highlighted.

Force Quit a Program

  1. Select the Apple menu, then select Force Quit.
    Apple menu with Force Quit highlighted.
  2. Select the program you are having problems closing, then select Force Quit.
    Force Quit window with app and Force Quit button highlighted.
  3. You will be prompted to confirm, select Force Quit.
    Force Quit dialog with Force Quit button highlighted.
  • Any unsaved work will be lost from a program that you Force Quit.
  • You can not close the Finder application.

Reboot the Computer

Slow performance may also be caused by underlying issues that can be quickly resolved by simply rebooting the computer.

After rebooting the computer you may still need to close some apps that initialize on startup.

WindowsReboot a Windows PC
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
AppleReboot a Mac
  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.

Troubleshoot the Internet Connection

If your computer is running fine or you've fixed your computer's performance issues, then your poor video quality may be caused by your Internet connection. Troubleshooting an Internet connection can become complicated and take a longer time. We have a few other guides that may help you fix it.

Consider Replacing the Camera

If you've exhausted all the above troubleshooting options or if you're using an older camera with low quality you may want to consider replacing it with a more up to date camera that can improve your video quality.

This will only improve the way you or others see your camera. It will not improve how you see other's cameras.