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How to Blur Your Zoom Background Before & During your Meetings

Learn how to blur your Zoom background on desktop or mobile. We go through a full step-by-step and also help you troubleshoot.
Ortal Hadad
Content Specialist & Blog Editor
Last Updated:
March 24, 2024
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

Wondering how to blur your Zoom background when video conferencing?

The Zoom app’s blur option can help you add focus to your frame and eliminate distractions in the background. This keeps you looking professional and ensures no one in the meeting is paying attention to something else in your background.

If you’re new to Zoom, you might not know how to set this up.The good news is that blurring backgrounds is easy once you know how to do it. Here’s our quick and simple guide to get you started!

Requirements for enabling a blurred Zoom background

In order to access Zoom’s blur background feature, your account will usually need to meet a few basic prerequisites.

If you’re using a desktop device, you’ll need to upgrade to Windows 5.5.0, iOS 5.5.0, or Linux 5.7.6 or higher.

If you’re using Zoom on a mobile device, you’ll need to install at least Android 5.6.6 or iOS 5.6.6. The best way to ensure you’re prepared to begin is to regularly check for updates and install them as they arise.

Regardless of your operating system, you’ll also need to meet the relevant system requirements for virtual background and effects.

Set up your Zoom account for background blur

Before you can start a new meeting and select blur for your background, you’ll need to check that your Zoom account is set up to allow access to this feature. Use these steps to get started.

Step 1: First, login into the Zoom web portal, and navigate to ‘Settings.’

Step 2: Go to the ‘Meeting’ tab, and under the ‘Virtual background’ turn on the toggle to enable this option.

virtual background settings on Zoom

Step 3: Make sure to save your changes before you start video conferencing. These settings should provide you with access to video background effects across all future meetings.

How to blur your Zoom background before joining a meeting

You’re about to join a video call, and you want to blur your background image before you turn on your webcam. What can you do? Fortunately, the process is easy following just a few simple steps.

Step 1: Sign into your Zoom account using the desktop app.

Step 2: At the top right corner of your screen, click your profile picture, and select ‘Settings’ from the dropdown menu.

Zoom blur background settings

Step 3: Next, select the ‘Backgrounds & Filters’ option.

Note: If you don’t have a Virtual Background tab and have enabled it via the web portal, sign out and sign back into your Zoom account to ensure your account recognizes any recent changes.

Step 4: Choose ‘Blur’ to apply the effect.

How to blur your background during your Zoom meeting

Even if your Zoom call has already begun, it’s not too late to blur your background! Follow this process to apply the effect.

Step 1: Join your Zoom meeting or webinar as a panelist.

Step 2: Navigate to the bottom left of your screen, and select the ‘up arrow’ next to the ‘Start/stop video’ buttons.

Step 3: From the options that appear, choose ‘Blur my background.’

How to blur your Zoom background from the mobile app

It’s also possible to apply a blurred background if you’re joining your Zoom call from a mobile device. The steps are the same across both Android and iOS devices.

Step 1: First, launch the Zoom app on your iPhone or Android device.

Step 2: Join your meeting, and enable your video and microphone.

Step 3: Select the ‘Controls’ menu, followed by ‘More.’

Step 4: Choose ‘Background & Filters,’ and apple ‘Blur.’

How to change your Zoom background to a virtual background

In some cases, simply blurring your Zoom background may not be the right choice. Instead, you might prefer to apply a virtual background that obscures your real surroundings. Here’s how!

Step 1: Navigate to the ‘Zoom desktop client.’

Step 2: Press your profile picture, and select ‘Settings.’

Step 3: Choose ‘Backgrounds & Filters,’ and select whether or not you have a green screen.

Step 4: Select the desired image for your background, or use the ‘+’ button to add your own image.


Troubleshooting: How to fix the blur effect not working on Zoom

In some cases, your Zoom’s blur feature may encounter some challenges. The good news is that these issues are usually easy to fix.

First, if you’re struggling to apply, check your system! You need to ensure that you have the latest version of Zoom and that your operating system is up to date. Often, installing relevant updates will allow you to access more features.

If you’re still facing challenges, it can be helpful to reboot your Zoom app. This may mean simply switching it off and back on again, or it might mean that you need to delete and reinstall the app.

FAQs on How to Blur Your Zoom Background

Still unsure about how to blur or apply a Zoom virtual background? Here are our answers to a few frequently asked questions.

Is it free to blur Zoom background in meetings?

Zoom’s blurred backgrounds are available as part of a free Zoom account! You should not need to pay for access to this feature. Zoom’s virtual background option is also available for free. However, some backgrounds may only be available with a fee or under a paid plan.

Why doesn't my Zoom have the blur background option?

If your Zoom does not currently offer you the option to blur your background, there’s a good chance that something is wrong with your settings or system. You may need to open Zoom and revisit your settings to ensure you have enabled the virtual background feature.

Check on your account settings for virtual meetings, and ensure that you have completed all necessary updates.

Is it professional to blur background in Zoom?

Blurring your Zoom background is often the most professional choice!

By applying a blur, you can curate your on-screen image. This allows you to obscure background elements that may distract from your content or contradict your professional identity.

By blurring your background, you ensure that you and what you have to say remain the central focus of your Zoom meeting.

Why is my Zoom background covering my face?

Zoom’s blur-background technology is designed to automatically register your face and determine for itself which areas of the screen to blur. This can sometimes lead to inaccuracies. If you notice that Zoom is blurring part or all of your face, the color being replaced may be too close to your skin tone. Here, a simple solution is change your location or put up a backdrop that more greatly contrasts against your skin.

Final thoughts

Is Zoom the only digital communication tool that can provide you with scope for professional calls and meetings? No!

If you’re searching for an alternative Zoom software option, Riverside is a great choice. Riverside’s studio-quality recording and editing tools allow you to host engaging online calls and capture impactful video content.

Get started with Riverside today!

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