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How to Change Background on Teams

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Nov 26, 2021• Proven solutions

If you are using Microsoft Teams from a place with inappropriate or old and dusty backgrounds, the app has your back. Teams has a plethora of built-in images that can be used as a virtual background so your overall presentation looks decent and professional. With that being said, here you will learn how to change background in Microsoft Teams on laptop computers and mobile devices.

While going through the following sections, you will also get to know how to add background in Teams, and use those custom backgrounds during the video calls. By the time you are done reading, you will be able to change the background in Microsoft Teams on a laptop, upload and use your custom backgrounds, change the background in Teams on smart devices, typically the cellphones, and will have a better understanding of how the program works and the restrictions it comes along with.

Part 1: How to Change Your Microsoft Teams Background Before a Meeting on Laptop?

Teams enables you to use a virtual background before you start or join a meeting. This approach makes sure that the other participants don’t get distracted by the homely and unprofessional walls and decorative items that your room may have. To learn how to change background on Microsoft Teams, you can follow the steps that are explained below:

Step 1: Prepare for a Teams Meeting

Launch Microsoft Teams on your laptop (a Windows 10 PC is used here for demonstration). Make sure that the Chat option is selected from the left pane, click the New Meeting (Camcorder) icon from the upper-right area of the Chat pane, and click Start meeting.

Start video call on teams

Step 2: Open the Background settings Pane

On the Meeting with box, turn on the Video and Audio switches if they are not already enabled, and then click the Background effects icon from under the preview window.

Step 3: Change the Background

From the images available in the Background settings pane on the right, click to select the one that you want to use as the background, and click Join now from under the preview window to Start/Join a meeting with a changed background.

change background on teams before meeting

Part 2: How to Change Your Microsoft Teams Background During a Meeting on Laptop?

Microsoft Teams also allows you to switch to a different, more professional-looking background during an ongoing meeting session. The steps that are given below explain how to change background in Microsoft Teams in such scenarios:

Step 1: Start/Join a Meeting

Use the method explained in the previous section to get to the Meeting with box, turn on the Video and Audio switches from under the preview window, and click Join now.

join in Teams on meeting

Step 2: Get to the Background settings Pane

While in an ongoing meeting session, click the More actions icon from the top-right area of the Meeting with box, and click Apply background effects from the menu that appears next.

apply background on Teams meeting

Step 3: Change the Background

From the images available in the Background settings pane on the right, click to select the one that you want to use as a new background, and click Apply from the bottom to save the changes.

change background on Teams

Part 3: How to Upload a Custom Background in Microsoft Teams?

In addition to switching to a built-in background, Microsoft Teams even lets you upload and use a custom image for the purpose. The process on how to add custom background to Microsoft Teams is explained below:

Step 1: Get to the Background settings Pane

Start Microsoft Teams on your computer, use the method explained earlier to turn on the Video and Audio switches, and then before starting a meeting, open the Background settings pane.

Step 2: Add and Use a Custom Background

Click Add new from the top of the Background settings pane, and pick your preferred photo from your computer to upload to Teams and use it as a custom background. Next, click Join now from the bottom of the preview screen join or start a new meeting.

add new background on Teams

Step 3: Remove an Uploaded Background

Click to select any other background from the Background settings pane, locate the custom image that you uploaded, click the More icon from the top-right of the tile, and click Remove to get rid of the custom background.

add new custom background on Teams

Part 4: How to Change Your Background Before/After a Meeting Starts on Mobile Devices?

Even the mobile versions of Microsoft Teams let you change the background. However, the restriction is, you must start or join a meeting before the More actions icon appears at the bottom of the screen. To learn how to change background in Microsoft Teams mobile app, you can follow the step-by-step instructions that are given below:

Step 1: Start a New Teams Meeting on Mobile

Launch Microsoft Teams on your cellphone (iPhone X is used here for illustration). Ensure that the Chat option is selected from the bottom of the main screen, tap the Instant meeting (Camcorder) icon from the top-right corner of the window, and tap Start meeting from the lower area of the Instant meeting box that pops up.

start video call on Teams

Step 2: Get to the Select background Screen

Once the meeting starts, tap the More actions icon from the bottom of the screen, and tap Background effects when the options box pops up.

Teams background effects on iPhone

Step 3: Change the Background

On the Select background screen, tap to select an image to use it as the background. Alternatively, you can also tap the + tile to upload and use a custom image. After selecting a background, tap Done from the top-right corner of the screen to save the changes.

change background  on Teams mobile

FAQs About Changing Background in Microsoft Teams Meeting

Q1) Can I add a video as background in Teams?

A1) At the time of this writing, Microsoft Teams doesn’t support videos as virtual backgrounds natively. However, a quick online search will come up with several links that explain how to use third-party applications in conjunction to get motion effects as a virtual background in the app. This is a workaround for now, and not a permanent solution. You can find more suggestions on this (https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msteams/forum/all/cant-change-background-in-microsoft-teams/01d7cd1c-794c-480c-8a45-187bafb52345?auth=1) thread.

Q2) Why can’t I change background in Teams?

A2) If you are unable to change background while using Microsoft Teams, there could be a couple of reasons for this including:

  • Your computer may not have AVX2 that is required to use the feature
  • The IT admin of your organization or school might have disabled the option
  • You are using Microsoft Teams on a Linux computer
  • Your computer might not meet the minimum hardware requirements to support the feature

You can find more details on this (https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msteams/forum/all/cant-change-background-in-microsoft-teams/01d7cd1c-794c-480c-8a45-187bafb52345?auth=1) link.

Q3) Why I am not seeing the ‘Show background effects’ option?

A3) At the time of this writing, the option to change the background is visible only on the computers that are equipped with a specific set of hardware. Although Microsoft is in the process of making the feature available for all devices, no official statement has been released by them to date. You can check this (https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-teams/not-able-to-see-background-effects-in-microsoft-teams/m-p/1351987) link for the detailed discussion. Even after trying the solutions on how to change background in Microsoft Teams, if you are unable to get the job done due to the unavailability of the corresponding options, you may have to wait until Microsoft rolls out an update that enables the feature for everyone.

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Richard Bennett
Richard Bennett is a writer and a lover of all things video.