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How to blur your Zoom background

How to blur your Zoom background
Now nobody has to see how messy your room is (Zoom)
Now nobody has to see how messy your room is (Zoom)

Zoom has finally introduced the option to blur your background during meetings in its latest update.

The feature has been included in the latest 5.5.0 update to the video chatting software, which was released on February 1, 2021.

In order to use it, you’ll need to adjust your settings before you begin any meeting so that the option is available once you’re logged in.

Like the option to have a virtual or picture background, once activated you can toggle it on and off to blur everything in the picture apart from yourself.

We tried the feature on both a Windows 10 laptop running the downloaded Zoom client and an Apple iPad running the iOS app version. While we were able to get the blurring feature on the former, it didn’t seem available on the latter.

How to change your Zoom background

Check that your Zoom client is running the latest version (Metro.co.uk)
Check that your Zoom client is running the latest version (Metro.co.uk)

Firstly, you’ll need to make sure you’ve updated the software to version 5.5.0 or later. To do this, open Zoom and click on the option to Check for Updates.

You should see whether or not you’ve got the latest version installed. If not, click the option to update.

Zoom will tell you which update you're currently running (Metro.co.uk)
Zoom will tell you which update you’re currently running (Metro.co.uk)

Once you’ve updated, click the Settings icon in the top right corner and then select Background & Filters.

Under the option for Virtual Backgrounds, you’ll see a new option there called Blur.

In some cases, your PC may have to download an additional virtual backgrounds package – you’ll be prompted to do so if this is the case.

The option to blur your background will appear in the Virtual Settings option (Metro.co.uk)
The option to blur your background will appear in the Virtual Settings option (Metro.co.uk)

Once selected, you’ll see in the preview window how you’ll look with the background blurred. This is what all the other partipants in the meeting will see.

How to sign up for Zoom

Signing up for Zoom is easy and just requires an email address (Photo illustration by Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Signing up for Zoom is easy and just requires an email address (Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

All you need to sign up for Zoom is a valid email address. Download the mobile or desktop app, agree to the privacy policy and the terms and conditions and you’re good to go.

Like other video conferencing software, Zoom provides 256-bit encryption on any transmission which means you can be confident your meeting – and any documents shared within it – stays safe.

Thankfully, setting up and making a Zoom call couldn’t be easier. If you’re planning to start the meeting, you’ll be the dedicated host of the call and the one with a few extra privileges.

How to join a meeting on Zoom

a man using zoom
Zoom is becoming a must-have application (Zoom)

Firstly, load up the Zoom website and app and make sure you’re logged in. Click on the ‘New Meeting’ option and then the ‘Start With Video’ button.

Zooom will generate a link that you can share with other people to invite them into the meeting.

If you’re a recipient, all you have to do is click on the link to be taken directly into the meeting – providing you’re set up with your own Zoom account.

You can choose to join a call with either audio only or video, using the webcam on your laptop or phone.

What is Zoombombing?

Ant and Dec rehearse Saturday night takeaway on Zoom
Zoombombing can occur when trolls get involved with public meetings (@antanddec)

Zoombombing is the name that has sprung up to mean when trolls interrupt a Zoom meeting and attempt to ruin it.

It gained prominence last year on a public Zoom call hosted by tech reporter Casey Newton.

Newton was hosting his popular daily show WFH Happy Hour where anyone could join with the public ID and before long many of the attendees were being shown horrific videos as a troll entered the call and started sharing porn.

Attempting to block attacks by kicking the troll off these calls doesn’t help because they can simply re-enter the ID and join in as a different name.

The problem comes from Zoom’s default setting that the host of a meeting can’t control screen sharing. In order to restrict this, the host has to go to their admin settings and disable the option before starting the meeting.

The company does have a list of ways to effectively lock down your Zoom meetings and stop Zoombombing from happening.