How to Blur the Background in Google Meet
Google Meet has a nifty feature that allows you to change the background in your video call. It can come in handy for those early morning meetings when you haven’t had the time to tidy up the room. The blurring effect will keep the focus on you while dimming the background.
The setting is super easy to use, so it works great for impromptu sessions. Even better, you can do it on the spot, meaning you can activate it while you’re in a meeting. No one has to see your dog get the zoomies in the worst possible time, right? So, if you want to know how to blur the background in Google Meet, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll show you how to do it before and during a video call.
How to Blur the Background in Google Meet Before a Video Call
You can prepare for a conference call by blurring the background beforehand. It takes a few simple steps, and you can do it with different devices. That means the mobile app for iPhone and Android, respectively, also has a built-in option.
However, there are some requirements for changing the background in Google Meets. If you’re on your computer, you have to have a browser that can support the feature. Your best bet is to install the latest version of Chrome, whether you have a PC or a Mac. Android users need to download the 9.0 update (Pie) or, ideally, the newest Android 11. For iOS devices, the iPhone 6s is the oldest model that allows you to change the background.
If you check all the boxes (or at least one of them), you’re good to go. Make sure to keep reading for a breakdown on how to blur the background before a video call.
As we said, you have to have the right browser to change the background in Google Meets. For most Mac users, Safari is the preferred choice since it’s the official Apple search engine. You need to make sure your version supports the latest WebGL specification. To check, go to this website.
Mainly, if you have the Safari 10.1 version or above, you won’t have any issues blurring the background. Just follow these steps:
- Launch Safari and open the Google Meet web app.
- Enter the meeting code to access it. Make sure you’re signed in to your Google account.
- On the bottom-right corner of the screen, click on the three vertical dots. You’ll see the option to “Change Background.” Click to open the menu window.
- If you want to obscure the background completely, select “Blur Background.”
- If you want it to be slightly out of focus, select “Slightly Blur Your Background.”
- When you’re done, click to join the meeting.
Even without the appropriate version, there’s a way to use the feature with a Mac. Just download the Chrome browser from the official website:
- Launch Safari from the Dock and go to google.com/chrome/.
- Click on the blue download button under the Chrome icon.
- Specify what kind of chip you have (Intel or Apple).
- Once the download is complete, open the .dmg file. Drag the Chrome icon to the Applications folder.
- Click on the Chrome icon and then “Open.” Sign in to your Google account.
On Windows or a Chromebook
Even though Chrome is the official Google web browser, not all versions support the blurring feature. You have to download the M84 update or higher. If you’re not sure when your last upgrade was, it can’t hurt to check:
- Launch Chrome and tap on the three vertical dots in the top-right corner.
- If you see the option to update Chrome, click on it. If not, you already have the latest version.
- To complete the upgrade, click “Relaunch.”
After you install the newest framework, you can head on over to Google Meet and enable the feature:
- Go to the Google Meet web app and open the pending meeting.
- Navigate to the lower-right corner of self-view. Click on the “Apply visual effects” icon.
- Click on the “Blur Background” icon in the panel on the right-hand side.
- If you don’t want to blur it completely, click on the button next to it.
- Once you’re satisfied, click the “Join Now” button.
All Android users can get the official mobile version from the Google Play Store:
- Tap on the Play Store icon on your home screen.
- Use the search function to find the Google Meet app.
- Tap the green “Install” button under the app info.
- Wait a few seconds, then tap “Open.”
- Select a Google account and sign in.
However, as mentioned, you have to have the Android 9.0 version to use the blurring effect. If not, the feature won’t appear on your screen. For those of you with the latest upgrades, here’s what you should do:
- Tap on the Google Meet icon to launch the app.
- Select the meeting and add the code.
- The apply visual effects icon should appear on the screen. Tap on it and select the blur option on the next screen.
- If you like it, tap “Join” to access the meeting.
The App Store also has a free mobile version available for iOS devices:
- Open the App Store app and type “Google Meet” in the search bar.
- Tap the “Get” button to start the download.
- If prompted, enter your Apple ID.
When it comes to blurring the background, the same rule applies: you can’t do it with older versions of iOS. Google Meet requires a 64-bit operating system to run this feature. Luckily, many older generation models make the cut, for example, the iPhone 6s. If you have one older than that, you’ll have to use a different device for a video call with blurred self-view.
The process is pretty much identical as with the Android app:
- Launch the Google Meet app by tapping on the icon.
- Enter your meeting code.
- If you have an iOS 6s to iOS 12 models, you’ll see the blur icon on the screen. Tap on it.
- After you enable the effect, tap “Join Now.”
How to Blur the Background in Google Meet During a Video Call
The great thing about this feature is that you can activate it on the spot. It’s a saving grace for unpredictable situations like when your roommate comes home earlier than expected. To spare your coworkers from the distraction, you can simply blur the background without interrupting the meeting.
Of course, you can do it with all devices, provided the requirements mentioned above are met. Keep reading for a brief step-by-step breakdown on how to blur your background during a Google Meet video call.
There’s one thing you need to check before joining a meeting. You have to make sure your chosen browser has the required specifics. To reiterate, Safari 10.1 to 11 is good to go, as well as Chrome M84 and above.
With that in mind, here’s how to blur the background during a meeting:
- Navigate to the bottom-right corner of the self-view. Click on the three vertical dots.
- An options window will appear. Click on “Change Your Background.”
- From the panel on the right-hand side, click the blur icon.
- If you want to change the background completely, scroll through the template selection. Select the one you like by clicking on it.
You can also do this with your PC. Both Windows and Linux support the latest Chrome version, so you won’t have any issues with changing the background. The whole process is pretty low-key, so most of your coworkers won’t even notice. You can use the same steps, but here’s a repeat just in case:
- While in a meeting, click on the three vertical dots in the lower-right corner.
- Select “Apply visual effects” from the list of options.
- For a blurring effect, click one of the two icons under the self-view image. You can choose to blur your background or completely obscure it slightly.
- To change the background, select one of the templates from the list below.
- You can also upload a custom background from your PC. Click on the “+” button to add an image from your computer.
Note: The last two steps may hinder your device performance. If you want to use a pre-uploaded image or upload your own, it’s best to do it before the meeting.
With the risk of sounding repetitive, make sure your device has the latest Android OS version. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the 2020 upgrade; you can also do it with the Pie framework. If you don’t know whether your phone is compatible with Android 9.0, check out this website.
If everything’s in order, here’s how to blur the background in Google Meet Mobile during a meeting:
- Tap to open your video preview.
- Tap the apply visual effects icon then select the blur option on the next screen.
Since the app interface is very similar to the Android version, you can use the same steps. If you have a newer generation model (from iPhone 6s to iPhone 12), the blur icon should appear on your screen:
- Tap the icon to blur the background.
- Tap again to undo it.
Unfortunately, these are the only background effects available for the mobile version. You can only use templates and add custom photos with a computer.
Enable Hardware Acceleration on Chrome
There’s one more prerequisite for applying the blurring effect in Google Meet. You need to enable hardware acceleration on your Chrome browser. There are two ways you can do this, depending on your device. If you own a PC, you can turn it on by using the browser:
- Open your Chrome browser by clicking on the desktop icon.
- Click on the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner.
- Select “Settings” from the list of options, then go to “Advanced.”
- Scroll through the sections and find “System.” Turn on the toggle for using the hardware acceleration.
Mac owners can turn to the Terminal app for the same result:
- Open Finder and click “Go” then “Utilities.”
- Find the Terminal app icon and click to launch it.
- Use this “defaults write com.google.chrome HardwareAccelerationModeEnabled -integer n” command-line and press “Enter.”
- Restart your computer.
How to Use a Virtual Background in Google Meet?
For flashier background options, install the Virtual Backgrounds software. The web extension has an impressive library of templates for every occasion – from business meetings to kindergarten lessons. Here’s how to get it for Google Meet:
1. Launch Chrome and type “Virtual Background” in the search box.
2. Click on the search result with the official version. It’s usually the first one.
3. Click on the blue button next to the info on the right-hand side.
4. Once you’ve installed the plug-in, open Google Meets.
5. Start a meeting or join one using a code.
6. Click on the extension icon in the upper-left corner. Select “Virtual Background.”
7. Find the background you like and click to apply it.
Google Meet Blur Background Not Showing?
As discussed, if you don’t meet the following requirements, you can’t blur the background in Google Meet:
• A device that runs on a 64-bit operating system.
• A browser that can handle WebGL 2.0.
• Hardware acceleration is enabled on your browser.
• The latest Chrome version (M84 or above).
Of course, even with all the right conditions, bugs and glitches can happen. When push comes to shove, you can always try rebooting your computer. Google Meet performance depends on the most recent updates, and sometimes turning your device off then on again can activate them.
No Blurred Lines With Google Meet
Google Meet allows you to blur your background both before and after the meeting. You just have to make sure your browser can support the effect. The same goes for your smartphone – you have to have the appropriate operating system.
Once you meet all the requirements, you have multiple options. There are two different levels of “blurriness” you can apply to your background. You can also use a template or install the Virtual Backgrounds extension for more designs. The best thing is you can do all this without interrupting the meeting.
How often do you use Google Meet? Do you use the pre-uploaded backgrounds or add your own? Comment below and tell us if there’s a way to work around the specific requirements.