All of your presentations will get better in macOS Sequoia

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in macOS

Apple's WWDC keynote included a few macOS Sequoia changes to help with video calls. Here's how Presenter Preview and Background Replacements can help you in your online meetings.

A laptop screen displays multiple open apps including a webpage, notes, FaceTime call, map, Siri commands, and system controls, featuring two people in video calls.
Online presentations on Mac will get a bit better in macOS Sequoia



Since the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working and working from home has become normalized. With many apps available for video conferencing, talking to a webcam and sharing your screen with others is a fairly regular occurrence in homes around the world.

Apple has gradually made it easier for macOS users to deal with regular video conferences over the years. This has included introducing a Portrait function to blur untidy backgrounds, and using an iPhone as your webcam.

In macOS 15 Sequoia, Apple's adding more features to make computer-based presentations over the Internet more bearable.

Presenter Preview



If you regularly share your screen in Zoom or Discord, you will be well aware of the potential problems in showing your part of your desktop to others.

Not everyone keeps a tidy desktop, so there's a chance people will see masses of icons with interesting or compromising names. They may also end up catching on-screen things you don't want to share, such as confidential work or personally identifiable items.

Computer screen displaying a video call, a presentation on agar jelly snacks, and a project timeline with colorful charts and icons at the bottom.
Presenter preview in macOS Sequoia



Depending on the features of the tool you're using to talk to others with, you may want to only share a specific application, not your desktop. Even if you're aware and want to only share the app, it's possible that you may accidentally select the wrong option and share the desktop as a whole.

To try and combat this, Apple is updating its presentation tools to incorporate a Presenter Preview. As the name suggests, it's a section of the controls that shows what is currently being screen-shared to other call participants.

Along with the preview, there are other controls to change what in the screen is being shared, and to stop sharing the screen entirely.

Background replacements



The other video call change is the background. Rather than having an untidy room as your backdrop, and when the Portrait blur isn't enough, you can instead replace the background with something else entirely.

Under the camera settings in the Menu Bar, there's an option titled Background. Selecting it brings up a second window, to actually select the background.

Two women on a FaceTime video call. One is speaking, the other is shown in a smaller window with a landscape background. Integrated controls are displayed.
Background selection in macOS Sequoia



Three tabs are available, with the first being plain gradient background colors. The second tab is for landscape backgrounds, though there is currently only one selectable at the moment in the initial beta.

The third tab is one where users can select their own photos or images to insert as their background.

This is a feature that other video-calling services have already implemented. You can easily go into the settings of many video meeting apps and see a background replacement option.

However, Apple's version works independently of the apps. That means you can have the same backdrop for multiple call apps, instead of relying on whatever technology or quality of mask the app provides.

It also means that you'll be relying on Apple's masking technology to handle the placement of the background around you. This tech has proven itself in the past, and does so again in our initial testing.

The quality of the mask is greatly affected by the webcam, so it will work a lot better when using a higher quality of camera. Using an iPhone 15 Pro Max as a webcam resulted in a very good result.

This isn't a groundbreaking addition by Apple. But it is one that will at least enable users to have consistency between calling services.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    AppleInsider said:

    Apple's version works independently of the apps. That means you can have the same backdrop for multiple call apps, instead of relying on whatever technology or quality of mask the app provides. 

    If it's truly app-independent, that's good to hear. I had assumed it would work only in FaceTime video calls and/or video calls where the app's developer opts in.

    Does Sequoia's background replacement also work with any webcam? In my experience, at least prior to macOS Sequoia, certain features like portrait background blur worked with the webcam in my Apple Studio Display but not with the webcam in my LG UltraFine 5K monitor, despite the latter being Apple's preferred monitor for a while (until Apple reintroduced their own first-party monitors).

    Oferwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 4
    mobirdmobird Posts: 757member
    I thought I had read that macOS Sequoia was to be less about the addition of new "features" and focused more so on the stability, bugs, and performance of the OS? So far, the only articles I have seen on AI regarding macOS Sequoia are those discussing "new features". Did Apple take a different track?
    I know every major OS update will include "new features", just hoping maybe to see some articles (if warranted at all) discussing under-the-hood work.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 4
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 659member
    mobird said:
    I thought I had read that macOS Sequoia was to be less about the addition of new "features" and focused more so on the stability, bugs, and performance of the OS? So far, the only articles I have seen on AI regarding macOS Sequoia are those discussing "new features". Did Apple take a different track?
    I know every major OS update will include "new features", just hoping maybe to see some articles (if warranted at all) discussing under-the-hood work.
    Probably not. Some bugs might be stamped over with a new version of an application or service, but historically the OS just 'moves on'.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 4
    There is a bug in this developer beta version. The background replacement works only with build in facetime webcam, but if you are using an external camera like Sony A6100 with camlink usb connection or even using iphone 15 pro max via continuity camera, there is no option to change background as no such option appears. It only appears for built in webcam. Moroever the presenter overlay in both small and large windows will not show your video feed irrespective of the built in webcam or external cameras
    watto_cobra
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