How to use Portrait mode in FaceTime on macOS Monterey

How to use Portrait mode in FaceTime on macOS Monterey

Apple announced macOS 12 Monterey along with iOS 15 and other Apple OS updates during WWDC21. While supported iPhone users can now get their hands on the latest and greatest Apple mobile operating system, Mac users will have a wait a bit more. In the meantime, you could take a look at the best apps for Apple Silicon Macs. macOS 12 Monterey brings a highly requested feature to FaceTime on the Mac — Portrait mode.

What is Portrait mode?

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Portrait mode, as a branded phrase, was first introduced with the iPhone 7 Plus. It took advantage of the dual lens rear camera system to focus on a certain subject and blur out the rest. Apple then brought this feature to the front facing camera with the iPhone X. That iPhone was the first to introduce the TrueDepth camera, which supported Portrait mode shots, thanks to the dot projector and IR camera.


Portrait mode remains selfie enthusiasts’ favorite. It produces high quality, studio-like photos right from your smartphone. It also supports multiple lighting modes and effects, turning it into a great tool, regardless of your environment and background. However, Portrait mode in FaceTime, while inspired by the same concept of the iPhone photography tool, isn’t exactly identical to it.

What is Portrait mode in FaceTime?

Portrait mode in FaceTime was first introduced in macOS 12 Monterey, iOS 15, and iPadOS 15. What does it do? It makes FaceTiming people on the spot less embarrassing, especially if you have a messy surrounding behind you. I mean, we get it; most of us go through moments, during which we’re unable to keep everything at home tidy. Whether it’s laziness, busyness, or something else, Portrait mode in FaceTime is here to the rescue.

As its name suggests, if you’re familiar with the Portrait mode photography effect, it blurs your background during a FaceTime call. Even if you have a tidy background, it’s a cool effect that puts you right in the spotlight. On the Mac, this feature is exclusive to M1-powered machines. So if you’re on an Intel Mac, you’re out of luck.

How to use Portrait mode in FaceTime on macOS 12 Monterey

To use Portrait mode in FaceTime on macOS 12 Monterey, follow the steps below:

  • Launch the FaceTime app from your Dock, Launcher, or Spotlight Search.

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  • Click on the Control Center toggle in the Menubar.

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  • Tap on Video Effects in the Control Center.

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  • Click on Portrait under FaceTime in the Video Effects section.

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  • Once toggled on, you’ll immediately notice that your background has been blurred.

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  • You can then dismiss Control Center and FaceTime whenever you want.
  • Follow the same steps to toggle it off. You can do that before, during, or after a call.

It’s worth noting that some third-party apps support this feature too. So you could try enabling it when using other video calling apps, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work. In the Control Center, in the Video Effects section, you’ll see the app’s name that is accessing your camera, rather than FaceTime.

What do you think of Portrait mode in FaceTime on macOS 12 Monterey? Do you use it on your iPhone already? Let us know in the comments section below.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging with his dogs at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached on Twitter @Mahmoudzitani or via [email protected]

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