How to Blur Your Background on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet Video Calls

Video software remains an integral part of many people's lives in 2021 as the COVID pandemic continues to impact jobs and social lives.

Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams—three of the most popular tools—offer ways to use virtual backgrounds for extra privacy or simply a change of scenery. Another way of achieving that without uploading images is blurring the background altogether.

Luckily, that feature is also now available on all three video conferencing tools, making it quick and easy to hide your surroundings from workmates, friends or family. Here's how to toggle the blurred background feature both before and during meetings.

Zoom: The software has offered the feature since February 1, 2021, when the company released an updated version of the tool, V. 5.5.0. "Users can now choose to blur their background rather than selecting a specific virtual background, providing added privacy when a branded background is unavailable or unnecessary," patch notes said.

Previously, it had only let users to use an image or video as an alternative background during a meeting, known as a virtual background. Now, however, the blur feature allows users to keep their face and body in focus, while blurring everything else.

Before video call: Open software > Settings > Select Backgrounds and Filters > Choose the blur option, which can be located under the Virtual Backgrounds menu.

During video call: Click the up arrow next to Stop Video button > Select Choose Virtual Background and be directed to the Backgrounds and Filters menu > tap Blur.

Google Meet: Google's video calling software offers the same functionality, saying on its website that the blur feature could be helpful at limiting user distractions. It notes that users who join a call while not logged into a Google account—and users who request to join a session—can only change their background once in the video call.

Before video call: Open up Google Meet and then select a meeting > On the bottom right, click Change Background > There are options that let you blur your background fully or blur your background slightly > Click Join to enter the session.

During video call: Click More at the bottom > Click Change Background > Choose one of two options: "blur your background" or "slightly blur your background."

Google says that a device's camera is automatically turned on when you click change background and the feature could potentially slow down your laptop or computer. The same menus also carry the option of uploading a virtual background picture.

Microsoft Teams: Like its rivals, Microsoft's software lets you change your background with an image or use a blur filter. It does warn that blurring or replacing your background
might not always stop sensitive information from being seen by call participants.

Before video call: When choosing video and audio settings before a call you can select Background filters > Look at the menu on the right side > Select Blur.

During video call: Go to the meeting control panel and select More actions > Click Apply Background Effects > Select Blur. There is a stop button to toggle off if needed.

Man and woman on video call
Stock: Man and woman are talking through a video call. Video software remains an integral part of many people’s lives in 2021 as the COVID pandemic continues to impact jobs and social lives - here's how to blur your background. iStock