Microsoft Teams phones gain custom backgrounds and call transferring
Teams phones gained several features familiar to Teams users on smartphones and PCs this month.
What you need to know
- Microsoft Teams phones gained several new features this month, including support for custom backgrounds.
- Support for transferring and adding calls also came to Teams phones.
- One-to-one calls on Teams phones can now show live captions.
Each month Microsoft gathers together a list of all the new features for Teams phones. These dedicated devices allow people to use Teams through hardware like the Lenovo ThinkSmart View. Some of the new features this month bring functionality to Teams phones that were already available on Microsoft Teams for smartphones, tablets, and PCs, such as adding or transferring a call to a device. Microsoft outlines the new features in a Tech Community post (opens in new tab).
Support for transferring and adding calls to devices rolled out this month. If you're on a call on another device, your Teams phone will prompt you to transfer or add the device to the call. This functionality was already supported by the Teams apps for phones and computers, so it's a nice addition to Teams phones.
Another popular feature from the Teams apps, background replacement, also made its way to Teams phones this month. You can now select prepopulated backgrounds to replace your surroundings within a call.
Creating a contact within Microsoft Outlook will now have a person's details appear within the People app on a Teams phone interface. Only phone numbers appear at the moment.
Teams phones also gained the ability to caption conversations live in one-to-one calls this month. Devices can detect what's being said and present it as text on the screen in real-time.
Pre-call screening can now work with dial pads, which is a handy addition in early media scenarios.
Several other improvements rolled out to Teams phones in June, including an improved experience for interacting with contacts and the addition of a screen letting people know if they don't have any voicemails.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com (opens in new tab).
I use a Teams phone (Yealink T58a) and don't see any of these. I wonder if I need to do a firmware upgrade? Or are these features still in beta, not yet live for production devices? Or maybe only supported on certain devices? Any guidance how or when we can get these features? Access to my full Outlook contact list and ability to transfer a call would be huge advances.
OK, I should have checked before posting that. Sure enough, there's a new firmware update on the Yealink website, adding exactly these features. Thanks for the heads-up Sean and Windows Central! For some reason, it doesn't seem to be working (yet) and is not pulling contacts set in Outlook from my account (same account used for Teams). Looks like this will take some research, but I'm confident I'll get it working.