Custom Background Images Available for Teams iOS and Android Clients

Now Rolling Out to a Mobile Device Near You

Message center notification MC249625 published on April 9 brought the news that the Teams mobile clients are gaining the ability to use background images, including their own custom images, in Teams calls. The rollout to the iOS client is in progress and should be complete soon while the Android client rollout starts in early May.

Control via Teams Meeting Policy

The ability for Teams clients to use background effects (none, blurring, or background images) depends on the VideoFiltersMode setting in the meeting policy assigned to user accounts. If the value of VideoFiltersMode is BlurAndDefaultBackground, they can choose between blurring and one of Microsoft’s curated set of background images. If the setting is AllFilters, they can also add their own custom image.

Using a Custom Background Image with Teams for iOS

Let’s see how things work on the Teams iOS client. In a meeting, select Background effects from the […] menu. In Figure 1, I have selected an image to use. As on the Teams desktop and browser clients, the first images in the selectable list are None, Blur, and Microsoft’s curated set. I’ve used the plus sign to add my own image, selecting it from the iOS camera roll. You can see the custom background behind my smiling visage.

Choosing a background image on the Teams iOS client
Figure 1: Choosing a background image with the Teams iOS client

I was not able to navigate to other image sources on the device, like OneDrive, but you can download images from OneDrive to the camera roll if you want to use them. Like the other clients, the chosen image is persistent and used for all meetings until replaced.

On Windows and Mac, it’s reasonably easy to download a bunch of custom images to a set location and pick those images up from there (here’s an example of using PowerShell to download the daily Bing image). No doubt someone will work out how to do this on iOS and Android.

Like other clients, people in a meeting see the video feed created from your device, which includes whatever background effect you choose. Figure 2 shows what my background image looks like as viewed in the browser client. Using the reduced data usage mode on the mobile device did not appear to degrade the definition in any meaningful sense.

A background image from Teams for iOS shown in the browser client
Figure 2: A background image from Teams for iOS shown in the browser client

Many people have grown accustomed to using mobile devices for Teams meetings. Being able to use background images, including their preferred custom image, is a nice step forward. Organizations might worry about the continued inability to control the images selected by users, but that’s another day’s work.

Small details mean a lot. That’s why we continually search for new developments across the complete Office 365 ecosystem to consider including in the monthly updates for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. This update resulted in a change of five words… Oh well, on to the next change.

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