Stop the fireworks!

Here's how to turn off Mac webcam video reactions.

“Apple’s new video reactions are making therapy incredibly awkward,” is the title of a funny Reddit thread about how animated hearts and fireworks on video calls aren’t helping during serious telehealth appointments.

“I’m a psychiatrist and it happened to me this week when someone was telling me about their divorce,” said one commenter. “It was horrible.”

New in macOS Sonoma, these “reactions” are animated effects on video calls that trigger when, for example, you hold up two thumbs (which prompts virtual fireworks). The feature works in FaceTime and various other videoconferencing software — and is on by default.

So, if you are mortified when you hold up two fingers to indicate the number two — and balloons start bubbling up everywhere — you might want to turn it off.

However, the way to switch off these webcam reactions isn’t obvious. The setting isn’t in FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or Google Meet — it’s in the Mac’s menu bar. Here’s how to do it.

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A message from the Cult of Mac Deals team

Tweetz o’ the day

One more thing ...

That was one of the things that came out most clearly from this whole experience [with cancer]. I realized that I love my life. I really do. I've got the greatest family in the world, and I've got my work. And that's pretty much all I do. I don't socialize much or go to conferences. I love my family, and I love running Apple, and I love Pixar. And I get to do that. I'm very lucky.

— Steve Jobs, 2004.

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