How to Use Zoom's Virtual Background Feature

Hide your messy room from your next zoom video conference

Zoom is an immensely useful way of hosting video conferencing chats or webinars. It offers some very useful features that other video conferencing tools don't provide, like the option to use a Zoom virtual background during your calls.

Set it up and you won't have to worry about your messy room or if your living space looks a little too 'lived in', which is perfect when you need to work from home. 

You can enable Virtual Backgrounds for Zoom on PC, Mac, and iOS (iPhone 8 or later, iPad Pro and 5th and 6th generation of iPad 9.7-inch or later).

How Does the Zoom Virtual Background Work?

To use Zoom's video chat background feature, you need a fairly high spec PC or Mac to enable it. That means your Mac or PC will need a very recent version of its operating system and higher-end quad-core processor.

If you have an older, lower spec system then you'll require placing a physical green screen behind you for Zoom conference to be able to pick up on it and translate your background to a more aesthetically pleasing backdrop than what was there before. 

The Zoom.us support site offers full details on what's required of your system. Expect to require at least a quad-core processor or higher to fully use the feature. 

How to Set up Zoom's Virtual Background Feature

It's recommended that you use a reasonably high quality webcam and avoid wearing clothing that are the same color as the virtual background. Watch the video or follow the written instructions below to get your background set up.

0:56

How to Use Zoom's Virtual Background Feature

Assuming your PC or Mac has the power to cope with the virtual background feature, it's easy to set up. Here's how to do it, and hide all that clutter behind you.

These instructions work for both Mac and Windows computers running the Zoom app.

  1. Open the Zoom desktop client.

    You may need to log in at this stage.

  2. Click the Settings cog.

    Zoom app with the Settings cog highlighted
  3. Click Virtual Background.

    Zoom app with virtual background option highlighted
  4. Click on a virtual background of your choice.

    Zoom app with virtual background options highlighted
  5. If your PC/Mac is powerful enough, the virtual background will be immediately applied to your image. 

  6. If you have a lower spec system, set up a green screen behind you and tick the I have a green screen box to see your virtual background correctly.

    Zoom app with Virtual Background and I have a Green Screen option highlighted

How to Add a Zoom Virtual Background Mid Meeting

If you're halfway through a meeting and you've realised you need to hide your background, there's a simple way of doing it. Here's what to do.

  1. During the call, click the up arrow next to Stop Video.

    Zoom app with Stop Video options highlighted
  2. Click Choose Virtual Background.

  3. Select a Virtual Background from the list of available options.

  4. Close Settings.

  5. The virtual background should now be in place, hiding anything in the actual background of your call.

How to Add Your Own Images to Zoom Virtual Background

Zoom comes with its own supply of virtual backgrounds, but it's possible to add your own images. Here's how to do it.

  1. On the Zoom app, click the Settings cog.

    Zoom app with Settings cog highlighted
  2. Click Virtual Background.

    Zoom app with Virtual Background highlighted
  3. Click the plus sign next to Choose Virtual Background.

    Zoom app with plus sign highlighted to demonstrate how to add a virtual background
  4. Browse to find the picture you want to add.

  5. Click Open.

  6. The picture is now your virtual background. 

To delete the background, click on the x on the image thumbnail.