Why did Apple get rid of Photo Booth?

Apple discontinued its Photo Booth app starting with macOS Ventura in 2022, removing the software that allowed Mac users to take photos and videos with their webcam using fun effects. This change marked the end of an era for the beloved Photo Booth app that had been included on Macs for over 15 years.

When did Apple get rid of Photo Booth?

Apple officially removed Photo Booth with the release of macOS Ventura in October 2022. Prior to that, the app had been included on all new Macs since its introduction in 2005. It allowed users to take photos and videos using their built-in webcam or external camera, applying various fun effects like Thermal Camera, Mirror, or adding cartoon-like animations around a person’s face.

With Ventura, Apple did away with Photo Booth altogether, eliminating both the app itself and the option to use it from the Applications folder. This came as a disappointment to many longtime Mac users who had come to enjoy using Photo Booth for quick casual snapshots and videos over the years. The app had become a mainstay experience associated with owning a Mac.

Why did Apple remove Photo Booth?

Apple has not provided any official reasoning for removing Photo Booth, but there are a few potential factors that likely influenced the decision:

  • Declining usage – As iPhone cameras improved dramatically over the years, Mac users likely relied less on Photo Booth for casual photos/videos.
  • App bloat – Apple may have seen Photo Booth as redundant or unnecessary app bloat on Macs today.
  • OS simplicity – Removing some legacy apps aligns with Apple’s push for simplified, clean experiences in its operating systems.
  • Encourage use of other apps – Apple may want to encourage use of its newer camera apps like Camera and QuickTime for taking photos/videos on Mac.

Overall, it seems Apple felt Photo Booth was no longer providing enough utility to warrant taking up space in its modern macOS releases. The company is constantly refining its OS experiences, and axing Photo Booth is part of removing legacy apps to streamline macOS Ventura.

What features did Photo Booth have?

As a basic camera app, Photo Booth offered the following main features:

  • Fun effects – Photo Booth’s effects were its biggest draw. These included visual styles like Thermal Camera, Mirror, X-Ray, Bulge, Twirl, and more.
  • Photos – Users could take photos with their Mac’s webcam using either the normal camera or effects.
  • Video – In addition to still photos, short videos could also be captured.
  • Camera tools – Photo Booth offered basic camera tools like a countdown timer, auto-capture on face detection, and burts mode to take rapid sequential shots.
  • Standard editing – Some lightweight editing tools were built-in such as cropping, filters, and text overlays.

While quite basic compared to full-featured camera and editing apps, Photo Booth offered an easy way for average users to have fun with their webcam without needing expertise. The app harnessed the Mac’s built-in camera for casual photo and video activities.

What apps can replace Photo Booth?

While Apple has stripped Photo Booth from Macs, there are several alternative third-party apps Mac users can install to replace it:


The new Camera app that Apple includes in macOS Ventura has some overlapping capabilities with Photo Booth. It allows taking photos/videos with effects like Photo, Stage, Studio, and more. However, it lacks Photo Booth’s more whimsical effects.


QuickTime Player has a built-in camera function for taking photos and videos, though also without effects. But QuickTime remains a handy default app for casual camera use on modern Macs.

Snap Camera

Snap Camera from Snapchat is a popular free app that replicates Photo Booth’s big feature: fun effects. Users can record video applying lenses/filters like anime eyes, sci-fi helmets, distorted faces, and more.

Photo Booth X

Photo Booth X offers the closest experience to replicating Apple’s original Photo Booth app. It brings back many of the whimsical effects missing from new Macs, along with other features like green screen and collage. The basic app is free.


Cheese is an open source Photobooth-style app for Linux that can be installed on Mac with Homebrew. It provides a similar simple app for taking photos/video with live previews and built-in effects.

While no third-party apps are quite as seamless as Apple’s native Photo Booth, the above options help fill the gap. Mac users still have ways to access effects-enhanced camera experiences post-Photo Booth.

What is the history of Photo Booth for Mac?

Photo Booth for Mac has an interesting history as a previously core part of the Mac software experience:

  • 2005 – Photo Booth was introduced by Apple with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. It showed off the Mac’s new webcam support and FaceTime technology.
  • 2009 – Photo Booth gained video recording capabilities with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, enhancing its multimedia features.
  • 2012 – An update added Share Sheets support for seamless social media sharing from Photo Booth on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.
  • 2022 – Photo Booth was removed entirely by Apple in macOS Ventura, discontinuing the app after 17 years.

At its prime in the late 2000s/early 2010s, Photo Booth was a staple app showcasing the Mac’s built-in webcam. It became synonymous with fun casual photography using a Mac. But declining relevance led Apple to axe it to streamline the modern macOS experience after over 15 years of availability.

Why was Photo Booth so popular?

During its long run pre-installed on Macs, Photo Booth became quite a popular app with users for several key reasons:

  • Novel effects – The whimsical effects gave photos/videos a playful style that appealed to many.
  • Ease of use – It was very simple and intuitive to snap photos or record videos with Photo Booth.
  • Convenience – Being built into Mac OS made it always available for quick use on any Mac.
  • Webcam integration – Photo Booth made it easy to make use of Macs’ built-in webcams in a creative way.

For casual, non-professional photographic moments, Photo Booth hit a sweet spot. Its emphasis on fun over function allowed average users to find creative ways to use their Mac’s camera. This helped it become a staple app for an entire era of Mac owners.

How does Photo Booth’s discontinuation impact schools and students?

Area Impact
Classroom Use Teachers often used Photo Booth for classroom projects involving photography/video. Its removal makes this more difficult without a built-in app.
Education Apps Some education apps and curriculums were designed around using Photo Booth, which will now need to be adjusted.
STEM Learning Photo Booth offered easy webcam integration for STEM lessons about photography and video.
Accessibility Photo Booth’s simplicity made it usable for students with special needs. Replacement apps may present accessibility challenges.
Chromebooks Chromebooks never had integrated camera apps like Photo Booth, putting them at a disadvantage Apple has now leveled.

Schools and education relied heavily on Photo Booth as an easy-to-use camera app integrated into Mac systems. Its removal creates new obstacles that teachers and IT departments will need to address through training and new tools.

What are people saying about Photo Booth’s removal?

Apple’s decision to remove Photo Booth has elicited strong reactions from many Mac users:


Many are lamenting the loss of Photo Booth for its nostalgic value, having used the app for years to capture life memories.


Some users are confused why Apple dropped such a beloved app that was a core part of the Mac experience for so long.


Losing a once-standard app feels limiting to some Mac loyalists, who are frustrated they can no longer use it.


Photo Booth’s discontinuation makes some people genuinely sad to lose what they felt was a fun way to express themselves.


More extreme reactions include anger that Apple removed functionality people still regularly enjoyed and found of value.


However, some accept Photo Booth may have simply outlived its usefulness as camera technology evolved.

Overall, responses show just how impactful it was for Apple to remove an app that had become ingrained in so many users’ long-term Mac experiences.

How does Photo Booth’s removal fit into Apple’s larger software trends?

Discontinuing Photo Booth reflects some of Apple’s broader shifts in software strategy:

  • App simplification – Apple is removing apps it sees as unnecessary or redundant as it streamlines macOS and iOS.
  • Focus on essentials – The company is shifting focus to what it sees as core essential apps vs. niche experiences like Photo Booth.
  • Encourage newest apps – Apple wants users on its newest apps like Camera rather than legacy software.
  • OS consistency – Unifying experience across Mac and iOS means culling macOS-specific apps like Photo Booth.

Photo Booth’s removal indicates Apple’s willingness to shed even prominent old apps to refine its platforms. The company is being far more aggressive in eliminating what it sees as software bloat.

Could Apple bring back Photo Booth or a similar app in the future?

While Photo Booth itself is gone for good, there are a few ways Apple could potentially resurrect something similar again in the future:

  • Revamped multi-cam app – A new integrated Mac app offering effects and tools across the front and back cameras.
  • Photo Booth returns – Unlikely, but Apple has revived past ideas before.
  • Photo Booth for iPad – A version tailored to the iPad’s camera and LiDAR scanner capabilities.
  • New creative camera mode – A spiritual successor to Photo Booth within apps like Camera or QuickTime.

However, Apple likely intends for third-party apps to provide that type of Photo Booth experience going forward. Still, never say never – we could see Apple eventually revisit this space with something fresh.


The removal of Photo Booth closes the book on an app that was a memorable part of many users’ Apple experiences over the past 15+ years. While it had a great run, Apple has decided it’s no longer relevant in modern macOS. But with users feeling nostalgic at its loss, perhaps we still haven’t seen the last of something akin to Photo Booth someday reemerging in some form to bring fun and silliness back to Mac photography.