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This new Zoom feature makes meetings more fun — and it's free

Zoom animal avatar
(Image credit: Future)

Zoom’s latest update is pretty wild, literally. Users can now attend classes or meetings as an animal using a new avatar feature that makes your facial expressions look infinitely more adorable. 

Available as a free beta feature in Zoom version 5.10, these avatars give a Memoji-like spin to video chats. There are currently 11 different animal avatars, like a panda, raccoon and bunny to name a few. In a blog post announcing the Avatars feature (opens in new tab), Zoom said new avatar options would be coming “in the future.”

Though the animals may seem a bit childish, they could be useful for virtual learning or, better yet, storytelling. Using an avatar can also help with Zoom fatigue, perhaps encouraging users to turn their camera on and reveal facial expressions as they speak even if they might not look as presentable as they’d like for a call. Because sometimes you just don’t have the time (or energy) to put on makeup or shave your scruff. And while Zoom Escaper is genius in theory, it’s not usually cool to ditch a meeting altogether.

Avatars are the most recent tool for users to shake up an average video chat. If you know how to use Zoom, you might know how to change your Zoom background. Maybe you’ve even downloaded one of the best free Zoom backgrounds. You can actually combine a virtual background with an animal avatar to place your character somewhere more fitting, like a bamboo forest or dog park. 

Follow Tom’s Guide on TikTok (opens in new tab) to see Zoom avatars in action, and follow the steps below to learn how to use them yourself. 

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How to use Zoom animal avatars

1. Update to Zoom 5.10 if you haven’t already. You may be prompted to update the client or app when you open it, or you can manually get the update at Zoom's Download Center.

update Zoom

(Image credit: Future)

2. Launch or join a Zoom meeting. See how to set up a Zoom meeting and how to join a Zoom meeting if needed.

3. Click the up arrow next to Start/Stop Video. You’ll need to have your camera turned on to use animal avatars.

Zoom avatar how to

(Image credit: Future)

3. Click ‘Choose Video Filter’ from the pop-up menu.

Zoom avatar how to

(Image credit: Future)

4. Click the ‘Avatars’ tab in the Background & Effects settings window. 

Zoom avatar how to

(Image credit: Future)

5. Choose your animal avatar. It may take a few seconds to load. It will help if you have good lighting. 

zoom avatar animal how to

(Image credit: Future)

And now you know how to use Zoom avatars to turn yourself into an adorable animal for your next meeting. For more fun Zoom features, see our guide on how to do karaoke on Zoom and how to get Snapchat filters on Zoom.

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.