With this year’s software—iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma—Apple has introduced the ability to send video reactions to people during video calls in FaceTime and other video call apps like WhatsApp. However, many users are not aware of this feature and only discover it accidentally.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to use these Apple reaction features during video conferencing on apps like FaceTime and WhatsApp. Notably, there’s very little you need to do apart from updating to the latest compatible OS—as it is enabled by default. These 3D animations and background effects are triggered by making various hand gestures during the calls.
Here’s what you need to do to trigger these Apple Reaction effects:
Firstly, you need to be on a video conference call on an app like Apple FaceTime or WhatsApp.
- Fireworks: To trigger this background effect, you need to give a double thumbs-up during the video calls, or you can choose the fireworks option in the Reactions submenu.
- Hearts: As you might have guessed, creating a heart shape with your two hands will trigger this effect, or you can use the Reactions submenu.
- Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down: To trigger this simple 3D effect, simply give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down gesture while pointing towards your iPhone, iPad, or Mac’s web camera. A thumbs-up will add a thumbs-up bubble to your video feed, while a thumbs-down will add a thumbs-down effect. And, like the others on this list, it can also be triggered through thumbs-up.
- Confetti or Balloons: To trigger confetti celebrations, make two victory signs. If you want to introduce multiple colorful balloons to the frame, just make a victory sign with one hand.
- Rain: To introduce a rainy background, point both of your thumbs down. This will trigger a background rain animation, suggesting a sad mood.
How to turn this feature off on Mac and iOS/iPadOS
If you prefer not to use this feature or are concerned about accidental activation during critical moments, such as an important video call, Apple offers the option to disable it.
On Mac: Go to the top right menu bar, select ‘Reactions,’ and turn off the feature by clicking on it. When it is no longer green, it means the feature is off.
On iOS/iPadOS: During a video call, pull down the Control Center and locate ‘Effects.’ Open it and toggle off ‘Reactions.’
Deactivating the feature will prevent it from being activated during a video call, even if the gestures are performed.