Taking webcam photos and screenshots with Prey

Pictures will be included in the reports you receive when marking your device as missing on your Prey account. From computers you will receive photos and screenshots, while from mobile devices you will only get photos.

Important note: There are specific cases in which privacy policies may be far more strict than others. Especially for Educational Institutions and Enterprise accounts. Hence this feature can be disabled on demand. 

In the particular case of iOS, photos can’t be taken by an app alone without any user interaction. This is why we created a trap push notification claiming to be about billing information that the thief will tap, allowing the device to take a photo of him.

Feel free to try this out by setting your device to missing. Remember to smile at the camera!


I am getting dark green or black pictures

If reports contain very dark pictures, it is possible that the webcam is covered or the device is in a dark room.

I am getting no pictures from my mobile device at all

In this case, it is highly likely that photos taken by your camera are too heavy to be uploaded by the device’s current internet connection, and will start arriving when the signal is stronger. As a safety measure, we suggest keeping your camera’s resolution lower than normal when you travel, so in case you lose your phone or tablet (We really hope you never do!) your reports include pictures.

I am getting no pictures from my computer at all

If this happens randomly and the camera isn’t broken, it is possible that the executable file that triggers the webcam isn’t working and needs a reboot. This can start working again at any moment, but if you’re using Prey as a control measure and have access to it, please try executing the following command:


On Windows

Open a Command Prompt as Administrator and enter:


If the problem persists in Windows, we highly suggest that you enter your system's Control Panel and then Privacy > Camera to verify applications are allowed to use the webcam. Also, remember that both programs can't use the webcam at the same time, so you may want to disable auto-start on video-call programs.


Open a terminal and enter:

sudo -u prey /usr/local/lib/prey/current/lib/agent/providers/webcam/mac/imagesnap -w 1 /tmp/test.jpg


On Ubuntu

Open a terminal and enter:

sudo -u prey /usr/lib/prey/current/lib/agent/providers/webcam/mac/imagesnap -w 1 /tmp/test.jpg

Photos should start arriving afterwards.

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