Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, working from home has become the norm. Many individuals and companies now run their businesses remotely. Video conferencing apps like Zoom have enabled teams to communicate effectively via virtual meetings.
At times, your work setting outside the office may be messy or chaotic and thus not appealing for your meeting members to see. So, how do you hide this mess from your co-workers? That’s where making use of the blurred background feature comes in handy.
This guide guides you through a step-by-step process of blurring your background in Zoom on Windows, Linus, Mac, and mobile devices.
Let’s get started.
To get a blurred background on Zoom, you’ll need to comply with some software prerequisites as follows.
Compliance with system requirements. To access the blurred background feature on desktop and mobile devices, you must comply with the applicable system requirements for virtual background.
Compliance with version requirements. You’ll need your operating system’s latest or updated version.
For Zoom desktop client:
Windows: Version 5.5.0 (12454.0131) or higher
Linux: Version 5.7.6 (31792.0820) or higher
macOS: Version 5.5.0 (12467.0131) or higher.
For Zoom mobile app:
iOS: 5.6.6 (423) or higher
Android: 5.6.6 (2076) or higher
To confirm if your device has the latest Zoom version, follow the below steps:
Step 1: Launch the Zoom desktop client and sign in.
Step 2: Click on the profile photo at the top right corner.
Step 3: Click on Help > About Zoom. It will display the current version.
Zoom allows you to blur your background before or during a meeting with easy steps on your desktop, whether running on Windows, Mac, or Linux systems.
Blur Zoom background before a meeting
Sign in to Zoom desktop client.
Click on your profile photo at the top right corner, then select ‘Settings’ on the sidebar.
Select ‘Background & Effects’ ('Background & Filters' if you use an older version).
Under the Virtual Backgrounds option, click ‘Blur’ to obscure your background.
Blur Zoom background during a meeting
You don’t need to worry if you forgot to activate the blurred background and realized it in the middle of the meeting. You can still do it while the meeting is ongoing.
Note: You will need version 5.9.3 or higher to access this option.
Join a Zoom meeting or webinar.
Click the ‘up arrow' symbol next to the Start Video/ Stop Video button at the bottom of your meeting window.
Select Blur My Background.
If the virtual background feature does not appear despite updating your app version, sign out of the Zoom desktop app, then sign in again.
To access the Blur option, ensure you meet the version and system requirements for the desktop client.
Once you activate the blurred background feature, it remains applicable for all your future meetings.
If you are using a mobile device to join Zoom meetings, you can also enable the blurred background to hide your surrounding. Follow the steps below to activate blur background on mobile.
Launch the Zoom mobile app and sign in.
Join or create a new meeting and enable your video.
Click on the ‘More’ button (three dots) in the controls at the bottom-right corner of your device’s screen.
Select Virtual Backgrounds for Android phones or Background and Filters for iOS.
Click on the ‘Blur’ option. This will make your background blurred and your surroundings invisible.
Like on desktop, Once you enable the blurred background on your mobile device, it will act as the default background for future meetings.
As earlier noted, once the blurred background has been enabled, it automatically remains the default background for your future meetings. This can be undesirable if you only want to use the blurred background temporarily or for a single meeting.
However, you can easily turn off the blurred background whenever you need to by following these easy steps:
Open the Zoom app and go to Settings.
Tap on ‘Backgrounds & Effects.’
Click on ‘None.’ This will enable your background to go back to the real one.
If you are unable to use Zoom’s blur feature for a certain reason, there are other alternative methods you can use to achieve the same result. Check out some of the options below.
If your background is messy and unappealing, Zoom has the filters option that allows you to alter specific aspects of your background and improve its appearance.
This feature can adjust color or add a frame around your video. You can also utilize the avatar feature for unofficial calls with friends or family. This is how to enable the avatar feature on Zoom:
Join or start a Zoom meeting.
Click on the up arrow next to the Start Video /Stop Video button
Select ‘Choose Video Filter’ and click on the avatar you want to use.
Instead of blurring your physical background, you can replace it with a virtual background. You can choose from the various background images provided by Zoom or upload your images and add them as backgrounds.
While virtual backgrounds provide a good way of hiding your real background, they can be highly distractive. You should thus opt for those that minimize distractions.
Go to the Zoom app, click on your profile picture, then ‘Settings.’
Select Background and Effects.
Tap on the Virtual Backgrounds tab and choose one.
If everything else fails to work, you can decide to switch off your camera. This way, neither you nor your background will be visible. The participants will only hear your voice but not see anything.
This method is ideal when you are not expected to make visual presentations during a meeting. Where you need to give explanations using visual aids, this method may not work.
Why is the Zoom background blur option missing?
The blur option may fail to show up in your Zoom for two main reasons.
Your device does not support the required version: Since the blur feature is part of Zoom’s latest client version, you’ll need to ensure that you are using the latest mobile or desktop app version listed above.
Your device does not meet the system requirements: To access the blur option, your device must comply with all system requirements for Virtual Backgrounds.
Why is Zoom blurring parts of me?
If Zoom blurs parts of you, your camera is out of focus, and here are 3 quick ways to fix the problem:
To solve this issue, you can manually refocus your camera by twisting the rings around the lens.
Alternatively, you can opt for an auto-focusing webcam, especially if you are so much into video calls.
You should ensure your camera lens is clean by wiping them gently using a silk or microfiber cloth dipped in isopropyl alcohol.
How to update Zoom to Get the Blur Background?
The blur background feature is only available on the latest Zoom version. You should thus ensure that your device has the updated version. To check and update Zoom:
Launch Zoom and sign in to your account
Click on your profile picture at the top-right corner and select ‘Check for Updates’.
Tap the ‘update’ button if there are newer versions available.
Click on ‘Install.’
Need to keep your co-workers out of your living room or simply want to hide your messy background? You are now equipped with the necessary information to blur your Zoom background on desktop, PC, Mac, or mobile devices.
Follow these steps and participate confidently in your next Zoom video call without worrying about the happenings in your background. You must ensure that your device meets all the system and version requirements to access the blurred background feature on Zoom.
You can try other alternatives if this does not work out for you. Now go ahead and handle that meeting like a pro!