How to Blur Backgrounds in MS Teams

Keep video calls looking professional with this handy feature

Whether you’re working from home or an office, keeping your background clean and uncluttered is essential for video conferences. It’s especially crucial if you’re on a job interview or on-boarding a new client. However, it’s not always possible to maintain a pristine background.

Microsoft Teams can blur what’s behind you so you don’t have to worry about what your co-workers, clients, or potential employers are seeing. Even better, you can blur your background before anyone sees you on camera. Alternatively, you can use one of the other Microsoft Teams effects, which will obscure your background; you can preview these options too.

These instructions apply to the desktop Teams app on a Mac or Windows computer. 

How to Blur Your Background in Teams (Free)

You can access Microsoft Teams for free; all you need is a Microsoft account. If your workplace or school uses Teams, you can access the premium version, which has extra features. In both instances, you can blur your background before joining a video chat or during one.

Adding a background without a green screen yields mixed results. You might see some oddities, like your face or hair disappearing into the background.

  1. Open the Teams app.

  2. Click Chat on the left rail.

  3. Start a new chat or enter an existing one.

  4. Click the Video icon on the top right to start a call. For incoming calls, click the Video icon in the incoming call alert. (Click the Phone icon if you want to be audio-only until you're background is set.)

    Starting a video chat in Microsoft Teams.

    Cover your webcam or click the Video icon to turn your camera off if you don't want others to see you before your change the background.

  5. Once others have joined, click the three-dot menu.

    Starting a video chat in Microsoft Teams.
  6. Select Show background effects.

    Starting a video chat in Microsoft Teams.
  7. Click the blurred background option. Scroll down and click Apply and turn on video.

    Apply the blurred background filter on Microsoft Teams.

    Alternatively, you can select one of the backgrounds that are shown to replace your background. This will hide what's around you, and replace it with the virtual image. Like a blurred background, if you're not using a green screen, the resulting virtual background can sometimes show or hide unwanted elements.

  8. You can also click Preview to see how it looks; other participants won’t see you until you turn on your video.

    Previewing the blurred background filter on Microsoft Teams.
  9. If you're happy with the preview, click Apply and turn on video.

    Previewing the blurred background filter on Microsoft Teams.
  10. Your video's background will blur and participants will be able to see you as long as your webcam isn't still covered.

    The blurred background filter on Microsoft Teams.

How to Blur Your Background in Teams (Business)

In the business and enterprise versions of Microsoft Teams, blurring your background works a bit differently. This version of teams requires a Microsoft 365 Business or Enterprise subscription. If you follow the instructions below, but don’t see a Blur my background option, then your device isn’t supported. Microsoft says the effect requires hardware with an Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2) processor.

  1. Open Teams app.

  2. Select a scheduled meeting and click Join.

  3. You’ll see three sliders underneath the video.

  4. Toggle on the middle one to enable background blur.

  5. Click Join now to share your video.

  6. After a meeting starts, you can blur your background by clicking the three-dot menu and selecting Blur my background.