Once You Choose a Background Effect, It Stays Until Changed
In an August 15 update for the Teams User Voice request for a default background for meetings, Microsoft’s Alex Olsen said that: “I’m happy to share that the default background feature is live. The background you choose will now persist in all of your meetings and calls, until you decide to change it.” The support article for background images has been updated.
The news about this change came as a surprise, but it’s a welcome update that will be popular with Teams users. Microsoft says that the update is available across Office 365 for all desktop clients running the latest release. I’ve tested it and the feature works as advertised with the current Teams desktop client on Windows. Persistent backgrounds also work with the Teams Mac client, but although you can use background blur with the Teams client for Linux, background images are not supported.
The change means that after you choose a background effect in a Teams meeting, Teams keeps track of the chosen background and applies it automatically to all future meetings until you decide to select a different effect (blur or an image). You know that the feature works if you start a meeting with video enabled and see the last selected background displayed by the client (Figure 1).
If you turn off video in a meeting, the effect disappears. Likewise, if you enable video, the effect returns (it’s persistent). There’s no way for a tenant to mandate that clients should use a background effect.
It is important to download and install the latest version of the Teams client to be sure that your desktop software has the necessary bits to recognize that background effects should persist.
Small but Important Detail
Something like this is a small but important detail that helps users. It’s evidence of better fit and finish appearing in the Teams client. There’s more work to be done, but hopefully the changes made are as good as this one.
This update isn’t on the Microsoft 365 roadmap and it wasn’t announced in an Office 365 notification. It’s an example of how small but important things change all the time inside Office 365. Which is why we keep an eye on things for the subscribers of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.