When Apple revealed iOS 15 at WWDC 2021 in June, there was a huge focus on upgrades to the FaceTime experience. As well as being able to schedule FaceTime calls that Windows and Android users can also join, the company outlined new camera and mic tools to further improve the teleconferencing experience.

But while the announcement was focused on FaceTime, iOS 15 allows any app that uses your camera and mic to take advantage of the new features, meaning you can use them in Instagram Stories, Snapchat videos and even TikToks, and developers don’t need to add specific support for most of the functionality either – it should work with most, if not all, apps in iOS 15.

Here’s all you need to know about using the new video and microphone effects in any app in the iOS 15 public beta ahead of release later this year.

iOS 15 Camera and Mic controls explained

The two key features here are Portrait Mode, found within a Video Effects menu, providing the bokeh-like digital blur in the background of videos, and Mic Mode, enabling the ability to change your microphone mode.

The former is self-explanatory; much like with Zoom and other video conferencing apps, you’ll be able to digitally blur your background – the effect is similar to the Portrait Mode in the camera app, ideal for hiding that messy living room you haven’t quite got around to cleaning just yet.

Portrait Mode is the only video effect available in the public beta, but Apple could add others in the run-up to the full release of iOS 15 later this year, and it’ll work with any app using the camera.

The Mic Mode, on the other hand, options offer Standard, Voice Isolation and Wide Spectrum audio recording capabilities, and this is where support may vary between apps.

Voice Isolation tries to remove environmental noise and focus on your voice while Wide Spectrum does the complete opposite, recording more of the ambience for a more natural sound. Standard, on the other hand, is the middle-ground between the two – and likely the mode you’ll be using most of the time.

How to use camera and mic controls in iOS 15

While iOS 15 is yet to be released, those interested can get access right now via the iOS 15 public beta. If you’ve got the latest beta installed, here’s how to use the new video and mic effects in third-party apps:

  1. Open the app you’d like to use – this can be Instagram, Snapchat or any other app that uses your camera or microphone.
  2. Swipe down from the top-right of the display to access the iOS 15 Control Center. If you’re using an older iPhone with a Home button, it’s accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
  3. You should see two new controls appear at the top of the drop-down menu – Video Effects and Mic Mode. Tap Video Effects and tap Portrait Mode to enable the digital blur. Tap Mic Mode and either Standard, Voice Isolation or Full Spectrum to change your mic mode.
  4. Swipe up to close the Control Center and return to your app of choice to record video using the effects you’ve just enabled.
  5. To disable the effects, simply head back to the Control Center and tap on each effect.

How are you finding the new video and mic controls in the iOS 15 beta? Let us know on Twitter.

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