How to improve video call quality in Zoom, FaceTime, Teams, Skype, or any video calling app on your Mac

This tutorial shares some quick and practical ways to improve the quality of video calls on your Mac. The tips here apply to all video conferencing services like FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Slack, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Discord, Facebook Messenger, LINE, and more.

Several video calling app icons - Skype, Google Meet, Zoom, Slack, Discord, FaceTime, WebEx, and Teams

Improve your internet connection

The most important tip to get better picture quality on video calls is to improve your internet connection. Check out some quick tips to increase the download and upload speeds on Mac with your existing internet connection.

Wipe your MacBook camera clean

The built-in camera of your MacBook is in the middle of the top bezel, and it gets soiled by regularly opening and closing your laptop. So before starting a video call, wipe it clean with a soft dry cloth. Similarly, clean off the dust if you have a webcam mounted over your Mac’s monitor.

Try different positions in your room or adjust the interior lighting

The light around you is crucial for a crisp and clear video call. Before suggesting you invest in dedicated lights, I want you to work with what you already have.

Open the Photo Booth app and follow these tips:

  • If you’re on your MacBook, hold the laptop in your hand, move to different parts of your room or office, and see where you get the best picture quality. Since you can’t do this with your Mac desktop, consider the remaining points below.
  • If the room you’re in has several lightbulbs, ceiling lights, desk lamp, and such, turn them on or off and see in which situation you get the best picture.
  • Are there windows behind you that shine light directly on the camera? If so, close the curtain.
  • In most cases, opening curtains in front of you (and behind the camera) will throw more light on your face and improve the video call quality.
  • Similarly, try opening and closing the door and other windows and see which combination gives the best photo quality.

Increase the display brightness

Cranking up the screen brightness will point more light on your face and help with video calls.

Pro tip: If you’re on a big monitor, you can set a solid white image as the wallpaper and make the video call app window small. After that, your screen will act like a bright light source.

Use FaceTime effect

Follow these steps when you’re on a video call:

  1. Click the Control Center icon from the top right of the menu bar.
  2. Click Video Effects and select Portrait. This will blur your background and focus on just your face.
Portrait video effects on Mac

Change video call setting to high definition (HD)

Most video-calling platforms offer an option to change video quality. For example, on Zoom, you can click the settings icon > Video and enable HD quality. In Google Meet, you can enable High definition for send and receive resolution.

Similarly, you can find a button to enhance the video quality on the video-call screen or in the app settings. You can enter the settings pane of most macOS apps by opening that app and pressing together the Command + comma (,) keys.

Use your iPhone as your camera

Your iPhone camera is better than the webcam of your MacBook, iMac, or Apple Studio Display, and therefore you can consider using it instead of the built-in options.

Invest in a good external camera

Buy a high-quality external webcam if you make a lot of video calls. This is especially helpful if you have a Mac mini, Mac Studio, or Mac Pro. You can leave the webcam connected for a reliable connection instead of fiddling with using your iPhone or something else as the webcam.

Get a monitor lamp or ring lights

If you occasionally make video calls, this may not be worth the investment. But if your job involves video calls around the clock, you can get a monitor lamp that rotates and points light on your face, or ring lights that softly increase the light around you.

Use a nice background

A messy background looks unpleasant on video calls, and virtual backgrounds offered by apps like Zoom may look distracting. So, a better alternative is to clean and organize the area behind you or use a curtain that works as your background.

Take care of audio to complement your video call

Have an iPad?

Not necessarily a Mac tip, but if you have an iPad, you can use it for video calls instead of your Mac. This is because the iPad’s front camera is most likely better than your MacBook’s. Furthermore, recent iPads feature Center Stage, a feature that always keeps you in focus during video calls. By comparison, only a modern Mac connected to Apple Studio Display supports Center Stage.

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