[Updated] Google Meet users can’t change background


New updates are added at the bottom of this story…….

The original story (published December 12, 2020) follows:

Google announced the introduction of custom live backgrounds on Google Meet in a blog post a few months ago. And it’s a great addition for two reasons.

First, the feature will help users better express their personality and spice up an otherwise boring conference. Second, it’s extremely utilitarian for people who want to hide their messy rooms in the background.

It’s also worth mentioning here that this feature isn’t exactly a cutting-edge innovation, as Microsoft Teams and Zoom had already integrated it some time ago. But hey, better late than never.

While everything has gone well so far, many users have complained that they cannot change the Google Meet background during certain calls.


Having the same problem, sometimes it works other times I get the message something went wrong.

As seen from the complaints above, users are greeted with a “Something went wrong and your background cannot be replaced” error message when they attempt to do so.

And yes, most users have apparently already confirmed that the administrator has not restricted the use of this feature.

The problem also seems to occur intermittently for the most part.

If you are one of the users facing this annoying issue then you have come to the right place as we have some workarounds up our sleeve.

Workarounds if you can’t change Google Meet background

1. Reset the Meet link: You can try to reset the Google Meet invite link if you have the permissions like the following user did successfully.

Hit!! Go to Google Classroom settings and reset your dating link!

2. Check if hardware acceleration is enabled: Google Meet’s live background feature requires hardware acceleration to be enabled on your browser. To do this, go to your browser settings and search for “hardware acceleration”.

chrome hardware acceleration
Click to enlarge

Although this setting is already enabled on most browsers, just make sure it works for you too.

3. Clear browser data: If none of the above solutions worked, you can also try resetting your browser. This can be done on Chrome via Settings > Privacy & Security > Clear Browsing Data. A similar set of steps can also be followed for other browsers.

Users are not only finding it difficult to switch backgrounds, as there are also many other reports that indicate that the option to switch backgrounds is completely absent.

In this case, you need to make sure your browser supports WebGL. To do this, go to this link and check if the site looks like the screenshot below.

webgl support test
Click to enlarge

Hope the workarounds above have solved your grievances. Let us know in the comments section below if so.

Also, be sure to check out our previous Google Meet stories, like our coverage of “You can’t join this video call” issues and “Headphones aren’t working” issues.

Update 1 (February 17, 2021)

In an official blog post, Google recently confirmed “the addition of the ability for administrators to enable or disable the use of custom or preset backgrounds in Google Meet for meetings organized by a level of organizational unit (OU)”.

This basically means that the meeting organizers will determine whether attendees can change backgrounds. This means that if the host disables this option, meeting participants will not be able to change the background.

Google also notes that the “Let users select custom images” option will default to disabled for Education and Enterprise for Education users. Of course, you must contact your school administrator to change the option.

Update 2 (March 11, 2021)

According to one of the product experts in the Meet community, the extensions could interfere with Google Meet and make the option disappear.

So disabling extensions (if used) is what they suggest to ensure proper operation. And apparently it worked for quite a few affected people. So try it.

Update 3 (March 18, 2021)

For those of you who don’t get the option to change background or blur background, setting “major performance caveat” to “yes” might do the trick. The workaround would have helped many affected users, so you can try that as well. Here’s how one user explains it:

If the status is not “Hardware Accelerated”, the Detected Issues list (under the Graphics Feature Status list) may explain why hardware acceleration is not available.
If your graphics card/drivers are blacklisted, you can override the blacklist. Warning: this is not recommended! (see note on blacklists below). To override the blacklist:
Go to chrome://flags
Enable the Override software render list setting (you will need to relaunch Chrome for the changes to take effect)

You can now use background blur in Google Meet.

Update 4 (March 26, 2021)

We encountered a use case where multiple Meet users cannot change the background to the background. One of the workarounds that seems to help in this case is to disable the Virtual Backgrounds extension for Google Meet, if enabled.

A few other workarounds that would have helped have been explained by users below:

1. Update Chrome to the latest version
2. Go to chrome://flags/
3. Find the Override software render list and enable
4. Restart Chrome

Navigate to the option button (three dots) > Settings > “You and Google” > Advanced > to “Reset setting” > “Restore setting to original defaults”

Update 5 (March 29, 2021)

One user recommended updating to the 64-bit version of Chrome:

1. Check your Chrome version first. It must be the latest and most recent.
2. Verify that it must be 64-bit. if not download 64 bit, install and update.
3. You will have an option now after restarting Chrome. !

Update 6 (07 April 2021)

According to the official Google Meet Change Your Background document, there are some limitations when it comes to changing backgrounds in Meet.

Users who join the video call while not signed in to a Google Account and users who must knock to be admitted can only change their background once in the video call. Users joining a Google Workspace for Education video call cannot select their own background images.

Additionally, if you do not meet the following requirement (in addition to ensuring that hardware acceleration is enabled, your browser supports WebGL 2.0 and a 64-bit operating system – which are already mentioned in this article) , you may not be able to use backgrounds:

A browser version that supports changing the background:

Update 7 (April 23, 2021)

If you have 32-bit browser support, please note that the background blur feature will not work on your device due to hardware limitations. This was recently shared by a product expert in the community:

32-bit browsers are not supported for background blur. It is a technical requirement. The browser just isn’t able to do that.

As for the latter, Google Meet now has the ability to add video backgrounds over static backgrounds on mobile and web (as seen in the Tweet below).

Here’s how they explain it:

In the coming weeks, we’ll be adding the ability to replace your background with a video. Video background replacement can help keep what’s behind you private while making your video calls more fun. You will initially have three options to choose from: a classroom, a party, and a forest, with more coming soon.

Update 8 (April 24, 2021)

Now it looks like “Major Performance Caveat” needs to be set to “No” rather than “Yes” to work as expected:

Your browser must support WebGL 2.0
1. Open webglreport.com
2. Check that “Major Performance Caveat” is marked as “No”.

Update 9 (May 07)

If you are unable to access the background option when using Meet on Google Chrome, switching to Microsoft Edge is another workaround suggested by a community product expert. See if that fixes the problem.

If you’re using Chrome on a Windows computer, try using Edge instead. Or vice versa.

Update 10 (02 June)

The following information shared by users may be helpful to those facing the issue:

Users who join the video call while not signed in to a Google Account and users who must knock to be admitted can only change their background once in the video call.

Users joining a Google Workspace for Education video call cannot select their own background images.

Admins can disable background switching on Google Meet, so beware of that.

Update 11 (July 15)

12:51 p.m. (IST): Some users are again (1, 2, 3, 4) reporting the issue where they can’t change background in Google Meet.

Unfortunately, Google has not yet acknowledged this bug. However, we’ll keep an eye out for the latest developments and let you know if we come across anything noteworthy.

Update 12 (August 2)

1:37 p.m. (IST): Some users are now complaining that they cannot use the animated background in Google Meet. This feature is available on Windows and Mac.

Although the rollout started months ago, it seems some Mac users haven’t received it yet.

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