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How to blur backgrounds on FaceTime calls

With iOS 15, Apple expanded the Camera app's Portrait Mode to FaceTime calling. FaceTime now allows you to use the setting during video calls both to focus on your face and to blur your surroundings as you chat.

This feature eliminates the need to substitute backdrops — as you might with commercial video chat apps like Zoom — but rather puts your face forward while leaving background distractions behind. Your iPhone uses its TrueDepth camera to create the blur. Portrait mode allows for the use of memojis, filters, stickers, and text during your call.




5 minutes

What You Need

  • Apple iPhone or iPad

Set up Portrait Mode if you are the caller

If you’re the one making the FaceTime call, you can prepare ahead of time by enabling Portrait mode. Unless you expand your view of yourself, you won't see too much difference in your appearance when Portrait mode is enabled, but the person on the other end of the call will see your environment faintly blurred, just like in a Portrait mode photo.

Step 1: Launch the FaceTime app in preparation for a call.

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Step 2: Launch the Control Center by swiping down from the top right of your iPhone screen and tap the Video Effects button.

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Step 3: Tap to turn on the Portrait button.

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Step 4: Swipe up to close the Control Center, if needed.

Set up Portrait Mode when you receive a call

If a call comes in that you're not expecting, you will not have time to blur your background beforehand, but you can still enable Portrait Mode after you answer your call.

Step 1: Tap your camera view thumbnail at the bottom corner of the Facetime session. You may not see your messy background in the thumbnail, but your caller will see it on the full screen.

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Step 2: Tap the Portrait icon on the top left of the resulting view.

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Step 3: The background should blur immediately. You should also see that the icon background turns white. You can return your camera view to a bottom thumbnail by tapping the arrows at the top right.

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