iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma became available to the general public, bringing many new features to FaceTime, including 3D reactions appearing when you play certain hand gestures. However, these effects have become confusing for users in some situations, such as online therapy sessions.
As The Verge notes, after updating their devices to the latest versions of operating systems, a number of users encountered awkward situations. In particular, the reason for this was the new FaceTime functions.
In iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma, users can use gestures like thumbs up, thumbs down, or heart to show 3D emoji on the screen during a video call. Other gestures can show balloons, confetti, and even fireworks behind the user. Of course, these effects are intended to be fun, but they may not be appropriate for some more serious situations.
Matt Haughey mentioned in a Mastodon social media post that his friend saw fireworks during a therapy session when he gave a thumbs up with both hands while talking about one of his injuries. SimplePractice, a telemedicine platform, has started warning its users about new 3D reactions in FaceTime – because they work with third-party apps too.
“It’s so bad that online therapy sessions now begin with warning dialogue,” says Haughey. Although users can disable these reactions, they are enabled by default, so some users are not even aware of them. Personally, I was on a FaceTime call recently and the app misidentified my hands on my face as a thumbs up, causing a huge 3D emoji to appear on the screen.”
How to disable 3D reactions in video calls
If you don’t want to be surprised by one of these reactions during a therapy session or business meeting, here’s how to turn them off in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17:
- During a FaceTime call, open Control Center.
- Click on the Effects tile.
- Select the Reactions menu item to disable them.
You can disable them in macOS in a similar way:
- Click the FaceTime button on the top menu bar.
- Click on the “Reactions” option. Its icon will change from green to black and white – this means that the function is disabled.
Reactions will be disabled until you enable them again using the same steps. It’s worth noting that the new feature is also available in FaceTime for Apple TV running tvOS 17.