Want to know how to blur your background on Zoom? You’re exactly in the right place. Zoom recently updated its background options to include one that pixelates the background while maintaining full focus on the speaker. The feature adds a dash of much-needed privacy to the very public nature of video conferencing. Let’s take a closer look at this latest privacy feature and how you can make it work for your next virtual meeting.
What are Zoom Backgrounds?
Zoom is a highly popular video conference application, and it has a few video conferencing features, including Zoom Backgrounds. The feature allows users to upload images into their live video stream to serve as their background, and it will superimpose that picture over your background in real-time. This way, the other participants can see you clearly within the live video feed but not your real-time background.
This allows you to hide potentially distracting people and objects in the space behind you on the video conference. It’s a great way to keep things private and strictly professional during remote virtual meetings.
If you want to find out how Zoom compares to other popular video streaming platforms, read this Zoom vs. Google Meet review or Zoom vs. Skype review. You may want to check out this list of the best Zoom alternatives for additional options.
What is the Blur Background Feature?
A special variation of the background feature is the blur background feature. Instead of uploading a picture to turn into your background, you can simply have your background pixelated to obscure the details of your real-time environment. Other participants of the live stream will still be able to see you in full detail, but they will not be able to see your background.
The mechanism behind the feature is simple enough to understand. The application takes in your real-time video input, keeping your image crystal clear while applying a filter to your background to keep it pixelated. This way, other members of the meeting can see you clearly but not be able to make out details of your real-time background.
The blur background feature is great for hiding a cluttered living room or office, and it’s also great for when you need to appear from an unconventional place like a coffee shop, car, or somewhere outdoors. As far as keeping things professional goes, this particular feature on Zoom takes the cake.
How to Blur Your Background on Zoom for Extra Privacy
The blur background feature is a relatively new addition to the background feature of Zoom. It’s available across all platforms where Zoom is available, including the desktop app (Windows and Mac) and the mobile app (Android and IOS). Here’s how you can go about blurring your background on the video conferencing tool:
Blur Background on Zoom for Windows and Mac
Most video conference calls are conducted with the use of laptops and computers, so chances are that you downloaded the desktop version of Zoom. If you are using a Windows or Mac to run the application, you can easily blur your background before or during your virtual meeting. Take note of the following steps:
Before the meeting:
- Open the Zoom app on your desktop and sign into your account.
- Click on the “Settings” button underneath your profile or click on your profile and then select the “Settings” option.
- Look for and select the “Background & Filters” option on the left panel. Afterward, select the “Blur” option from Virtual Backgrounds and download the filter. From there, you can already join a meeting with the blur filter in effect.
During the meeting:
- Look for the arrow next to the “Stop Video” option. Select the option “Choose Virtual Background” from the pop-up menu to open up the Zoom settings.
- Afterward, select the “Blur” option from the list of options, and your background will automatically become blurred with the effect.
Blur Background on Zoom for Android and IOS
Zoom is also available as a mobile app for Android and IOS devices. This version of the application is most useful for when you’re on the go, such as when you’re driving somewhere or doing fieldwork. However, note that when it comes to the mobile app, you can only apply the blurred background effect during the meeting and not before. Here are the steps:
- Click on the Zoom app on your Android and IOS device and sign in to your account.
- At this point, you can either create a meeting or join a meeting. While attending the meeting, click on the “More” option at the bottom right corner of the page.
- Click on the “Virtual Background” option for Android or the “Background and Filters” option on iOS, followed by the “Blur” option. From there, the background behind you will be blurred automatically.
How to Unblur Your Background
Note that blurring your background will enable that same filter for your other meetings by default. You may want to disable the blur filter or change the background, so you’ll want to know how exactly to go about it.
To unblur your background or replace it with a photo, simply click on the “Background & Filters” option on the left panel and select a different background or “None.”
How to Blur an Uploaded Photo as Background
By now, you probably already know that you can upload a picture to turn that into your background, and you can also blur your background to obscure your environment. But you probably didn’t know that you can do both simultaneously. That is, you can upload a picture, turn it into your background, and then blur the picture for that extra privacy. Here is how you can go about it:
- First, you will need to select a picture to turn into your background and upload it into Zoom. To upload the photo to Zoom:
- Open Zoom on your PC, click the “Settings” icon, then choose the “Background & Filters.”
- Click on the “Add image or video” button, and click the “Add Image” option to upload your background photo, and it will automatically replace your background.
- Follow the appropriate steps for blurring your background (see steps listed above).
Why Should You Blur Your Zoom Background?
Most people nowadays would prefer to use the background option on Zoom. However, we most often see the feature being used by experts being interviewed by reporters on national television. While people may have different reasons for blurring their background, it usually boils down to a few core concepts.
The first reason why you may want to blur your background has everything to do with the concept of privacy. Most people are uncomfortable about showing the inside of their homes and offices to people they are not close with. It feels highly compromising, potentially stirring up unwarranted opinions and comments. Surely, you don’t want other people to judge you based on what they see behind you in a virtual meeting.
Most people also keep personal items in their vicinity, whether at home or work. Perhaps you have a series of family photos that you don’t want your colleagues to see or a collection of books or DVDs that you don’t want to be judged for. It’s all too personal, and we don’t want people to judge us.
Another key reason why you may want to blur your background is to ensure that other people in your meeting pay attention to you and not what’s behind you. It’s human nature to be distracted by goings-on in the background, and it’s easy to lose focus when a colleague’s dog or spouse walks in the background.
Background distractions are not only disruptive, and they also make for very unproductive and unprofessional meetings. You can help maintain a neutral and professional environment by using the blur background feature. In addition, you may want to keep track of the meeting events, for which you will need a webcam recording software.
Final Thoughts on How to Blur Background on Zoom for Extra Privacy
The blue background option is a great alternative for when you lack a suitable background photo to serve as your background. It’s also a great option if you simply want to maintain some privacy within your home or office.
Of course, you could always upload a clear image or a blurred image and use that as your background. The blur effect can be easily achieved using reliable photo editing software, and it would be highly practicable in a professional environment. However, it’s more fun to use your real-time background.