How to enable background blur for FaceTime video calls in iOS 15

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How to enable background blur for FaceTime video calls in iOS 15
Use Portrait mode to bring background blur to FaceTime on iPhone and iPad.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

iOS and iPadOS 15 bring a number of big improvements to FaceTime — including voice isolation and the ability to blur your background during video calls like you can on Zoom and other video calling platforms.

We’ll show you how to enable the background blur feature using Portrait mode on iPhone and iPad.

With iOS and iPadOS 15 now in public beta, you may have already updated your devices to try out the latest features. And you might be wondering how some of the less obvious changes actually work.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to quickly activate background blur, or Portrait mode, during FaceTime calls on iPhone and iPad.

Use Portrait mode for background blur in FaceTime

There are two ways to toggle the feature; you can do it from Control Center, or inside the FaceTime app itself. We’ll cover the latter first, since that’s the method we’re likely to end up using the most.

Using the FaceTime app

First, start a FaceTime video call with a person you wish to speak to on your iPhone or iPad, then follow these steps:

  1. Tap the window that shows you to expand it.
  2. Then tap the Portrait button in the top-left corner.
How to enable background blur in FaceTime
Tap the Portrait button to toggle the feature.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Using Control Center

To toggle Portrait mode for FaceTime from within Control Center, start a FaceTime call on your iPhone or iPad, then follow these steps:

  1. Swipe down from the top-right corner to open Control Center.
  2. Tap Video Effects button.
  3. Then tap the Portrait button.
How to enable background blur in FaceTime
Tap Video Effects, then the Portrait button.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

When background blur is enabled for FaceTime video calls, you can follow the same steps for either method to disable Portrait mode if you wish. The first method can also be used to enable Portrait mode on Mac.

Note, however, that you need a device compatible with Portrait mode (an iPhone or iPad with an A12 Bionic chip or later or an M1 Mac) to take advantage of the feature.

iOS and iPadOS 15 land this fall

iOS and iPadOS 15 are scheduled to make their public debuts this fall. They will be free to download for all compatible devices. Public betas for iPhone and iPad are available now, and anyone can try them out.

It’s worth noting that if you’re using the public beta and you enable Portrait mode during a FaceTime video call with someone who’s using iOS or iPadOS 14, they will already be able to see the effect.