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How to blur your background on Zoom

Zoom running on a device.

Do you have an emergency Zoom meeting to attend from a location with an unpleasant or unattractive background? Do you want to maintain the privacy of your home from other attendees on a Zoom video call? Luckily for you, Zoom has a blur background feature that you can use to hide or transform your background. The blur background option blurs your Zoom call video background so nobody can see it.

The background blur feature works anywhere you are. A messy room, a sunny playground, an airport lounge; it doesn’t matter. You can attend your video meetings without anyone catching a glimpse of your background. And the best part? This feature is available on both desktop and mobile devices.

So read on to learn how to use Zoom’s blur background feature.

How to blur the background on Zoom desktop client

Step 1: Launch the Zoom desktop client

Launch Zoom on your Windows, Linux, or macOS computer.

Zoom client on desktop

Step 2: Sign in on the Zoom desktop client

Enter your account details and sign in to the Zoom video conferencing app for PC.

Step 3: Go to Settings on the app.

Click on the Settings icon at the top right corner of the screen. It is just below your account profile initials or profile picture.

Zoom settings recognizable by the gear icon option

Step 4: Click on “Backgrounds & Effects”

Navigate to “Backgrounds & Effects” under Settings. Click on it.

Select Zoom background & effects

Step 5: Click on the “Blur” option.

You will see a “Blur” option under Backgrounds & Effects.” Click on it to blur your background on Zoom.

Blur feature under virtual backgrounds to blur Zoom background

Now all your video calls on Zoom will have blurred backgrounds.

Disable the “Blur” option to stop having a blurred background picture on your Zoom calls.

How to blur the background on Zoom during a meeting on the desktop app

The method described above only works outside a meeting. If you are already in a Zoom meeting and want to blur the background, here is what to do.

Step 1: Bring up video settings during the meeting

Click on the up arrow icon next to the “Start Video”/”Stop Video” button on the Zoom client.

Up arrow icon next to the stop video button in Zoom meetings.

Step 2: Click on the choose virtual background option

Once you click on the up arrow icon, a tab will pop up. Click on “Choose Virtual Background.

Virtual background on Zoom

Step 3: Click on the blur background option.

You’ll see an option for blur under background and video filters. Click on “Blur” to blur your background on Zoom.

The background blur option will automatically be turned on for future meetings. If you attend video calls frequently, this is perfect for you.

How to blur the background on Zoom’s mobile app

The blur effect was previously unavailable on the Zoom mobile app. But now, it is available. You can now use a blurred image as your background when attending a Zoom call on your mobile device.

Here are the steps to get the desired blur effect for your Zoom meeting.

Step 1: Launch Zoom

Open the Zoom app on your phone.

Launching the Zoom app on mobile devices

If you are not signed in to the app, sign in.

Step 2: Join or create a meeting via the Zoom mobile app

Join a Zoom video meeting, or create one yourself. You can join meetings via invite links sent to you by a Host.

Launch the Zoom app and tap on the “New Meeting” icon to create one if you want to create a meeting. Send the meeting invite links to others.

Start a new meeting

Step 3: Select “more” during a Zoom meeting

Once you are in a meeting with your video on, tap the “more” tab on the right side of your screen. A list of options will pop up.

Tap on More tab to bring up select backgrounds and other options

Step 4: Select “virtual backgrounds”

Select “virtual backgrounds” from the list of options that show up. Select “blur.” Now your current background in zoom will become blurred.

For iOS devices, the “virtual backgrounds” option is named “backgrounds and filters.”

Restore the virtual background option to “none” to change your background in Zoom back to the actual background.

The blurred background option is not available for all mobile devices. Also, your mobile device must be a recent high-end device to support virtual backgrounds.

Do Note:

  • The blur background option only works for recent updates of the Zoom app. If your app version doesn’t support blurred backgrounds, please update Zoom to the latest version.
  • The blur Zoom background option doesn’t work on the web version of Zoom. You must use the desktop app or the mobile apps on Android devices or iOS devices.
  • It would be best if you were signed in to use the background blur effect for your Zoom meetings.
  • Your PC or mobile device must meet Zoom’s “background without green screen option” requirements.

How to use a virtual background on Zoom

If a blurred background doesn’t meet your needs, you can opt for a virtual background.

Zoom allows you to change your environment background to virtual backgrounds and filters. It works just like the blur effect but replaces the background with a virtual background of your choice. Virtual backgrounds could look more realistic and professional in a Zoom meeting than a blurred background, especially when the right image is used.

The virtual background could be an image or video of your choice! It could be a fancy office or a ski resort center in Switzerland.

The steps you take to use virtual backgrounds on a Zoom call are similar to the steps described earlier for a blurred background in Zoom.

Navigate to “background and effects” under the settings icon. Click on any virtual background of your choice among the options. You might be asked to download the “Zoom Smart Virtual Background Package” to access the effects.

Zoom Smart Virtual Background Package Download

You can also add supported personal images and videos of your choice. However, the mages must have a minimum resolution of 1280 by 720.

You can also repeat the procedure and select “none” to turn off Zoom’s virtual background feature during meetings.

Virtual backgrounds on mobile

The Zoom mobile apps also support virtual backgrounds. Tap “virtual background” or “backgrounds and filters” from the “more” menu to use this feature for a Zoom call on your Smartphone.

Do note that to use virtual backgrounds without a green screen, your PC must meet Zoom’s virtual background requirements. The same also applies to an Android or iOS device. If your device doesn’t meet the requirements, you’ll get an error message.

Toby Grey contributes as a How To expert for BGR. Typing away like a keyboard super hero, he covers just about anything you can think of. If Toby isn't writing, he's probably reading a book or playing video games.