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Skype gets custom backgrounds in calls, but Windows 10 version is left out

Skype on Windows 10
Skype on Windows 10 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Custom background support is rolling out to Skype on Windows, Mac, Linux, and the web.
  • The update also makes it easier to access call controls.
  • Custom backgrounds are not available on Skype for Windows 10 but are available on the desktop version of Skype that you can download on Windows.

A new update to Skype is rolling out to people this week. The update brings support for custom backgrounds within video calls on devices running Windows, macOS, Linux, and on the web. The update is not available for Skype for Windows 10 (opens in new tab) (Version 14) but is available on the desktop version of Skype (opens in new tab) that you can get on Windows 10. The update (opens in new tab) started rolling out on April 16, 2020 but is rolling out gradually throughout this week.

There are multiple ways to use Skype on Windows 10, and only some of them support custom background images within video calls. Microsoft's naming for its different Skype apps can be confusing, but if you want to use custom backgrounds on Windows, grab the desktop version of Skype (opens in new tab).

Here's the complete changelog of the update currently rolling out:

  • This could be anywhere: Want to look like you're calling from the beach, or from space? Now you can, with custom backgrounds for your video calls. Learn more about backgrounds in Skype. Note: Background improvements are not available for Skype for Windows 10 (Version 14).
  • Share all the things, Part 2: Now you can share files directly from your Mac to your Skype contacts, as well.
  • Faster on the draw: You now have quicker access to call controls in the chat menu. Learn more about what you can do in a call.
  • Bug fixes and stability improvements. We've chased a few bugs out of the attic and done some spring cleaning.

Microsoft has a page that breaks down (opens in new tab) how to set up custom backgrounds within Skype and how to blur backgrounds within video calls.

Blurring a background or using a custom background image is particularly handy when you're working from home. You can blur the background to hide confidential material or a mess in your home office. Custom backgrounds can also make it feel like people on calls aren't sitting in impromptu offices do to being stuck at home.

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

9 Comments
  • So they brought over a feature that is in Teams
  • Well yeah, technically Teams uses Skype's technology for the calling/conferencing part. So the features are there already in the background and just need to be enabled in the Skype UX.
  • It is now enabled in the Win10 version, too.
  • > Note: Background improvements are not available for Skype for Windows 10 (Version 14). Given how bad UWP version of Skype is, nobody should be using it anyway.
  • It works perfectly for me.
  • I know I shouldn't be at this point, but I am still completely amazed at how badly Microsoft failed to support it's own UWP "platform". It's no wonder nobody else ever got on board. It's so sad. There were some really good ideas behind it. Anybody remember three screens and a cloud?
  • You shouldn't be that amazed. Similar to when they launched there last two lumia devices, Cortana enabled speakers, band(s), etc... Any investor would see the pressers for those and the lack of pr hype and nope right out of that decision.
  • The development library never matured to a level that it needed to be and now the focus is on PWA's. Probably better for all in the end.
  • Wow. Way to fragment your Skype userbase. Why isn't Skype for Windows 10 supported? Not sure how Microsoft expects developers to make apps when they don't even support their own UWP apps. The fact that consumers are offered Teams (free), Skype for Desktop, Skype for Windows 10, and GroupMe, it's pretty confusing which one people should use if they want to stay in the Microsoft ecosystem and not use something that will be nixed in the near future.