What's new in Teams?

Tags Teams

Here are the Teams meeting updates that have appeared recently for the desktop and/or web versions of Teams. For full functionality and the best experience, you will want to download/use the desktop application.   

Updates for December 2020

Breakout rooms

Meeting organizers can divide meeting participants into small groups and bring everyone back into the main room at any time. This will help facilitate discussions and brainstorming sessions. For more information about breakout rooms, check out our help article or watch Microsoft’s video overview (1:15) of this feature.


New look when you join a meeting

There is a new menu for selecting audio and video settings. The pre-join screen allows you to select your devices, adjust the volume, and set background filter before you enter a Teams meeting.

Notification settings

The updated organization of the settings menu makes it easier to manage your notifications and keep track of the activity you care about. For more information about your options, check out: Manage notifications in Teams

Mute your attendees

 Meeting organizers can now force attendees to stay muted and reopen their audio controls when desired. This feature is helpful for presentations with a large audience. By default, all meeting participants are presenters (not attendees), but you can adjust meeting roles before and during the meeting. To learn more these settings, check out: Changing your meeting options


End of meeting notification

Teams will now remind you when there are 5 minutes remaining in a scheduled meeting. The notification will automatically appear on the screen for 10 seconds then disappear. This notification is informational and will not automatically end your meeting. 

Updates for September 2020

New conversation button

The original setup made it very easy for people to start a new conversation when they intended to reply to an existing conversation. The addition of the new conversation button will reduce the number of replies that lose context because they are not directly connected to the right thread.  


Updates for August 2020:

New Meeting Experience

Teams has a new meeting and calling experience for the desktop app rolling out to all users soon. But you can get a preview of it now.


  • Calls and meetings will pop out into their own window, separate from the main Teams window. 
  • Large gallery view lets you see up to 49 video streams at once.
  • Focus mode (available only when content is being shared) - removes all video streams from the meeting stage so you can focus on whatever is being shared.

Learn more about this new experience and how to turn it on in the article: New Meeting Experience


Updates for July 2020

Meeting size 

Now up to 300 attendees can join a meeting and send message in the meeting chat.


Channel meetings in an instant

It's easier to start a meeting in a channel. Select the Meet button at the top of a channel and choose to meet right away or to schedule a meeting. When you choose Meet now, you'll get the same options for setting your audio and video up before you join as you do for other meetings.

See who is in your channel

Know who is part of your channel quickly and easily. Click the i in the upper right corner of your channel. See who has access to the channel, what the channel is for, and who has recently contributed to the the conversation.

Updates for June 2020: 

Attendance tracking

Meeting organizers can take attendance during a meeting. To get your attendance report, select Show participants  > Download attendee list. Teams will download a CSV file that you can open in Excel. It will go to your Downloads folder automatically. The file will contain the name, join time, and leave time of meeting attendees. (Be aware that this feature is only available during your meeting. Microsoft is working on it being available after you have left.)


Updates for May 2020:

Raise your hand in a meeting

Have a question or comment but don't want to interrupt the person speaking? Use the new Raise Hand feature in Teams. While in a meeting, select the Hand icon in your control bar. This will place a gold hand icon on your video feed/image to let others know you want to speak. 

button to raise your hand

Video calls are now 3x3

Teams has enabled 3x3 video allowing up to nine people to be visible simultaneously in your meeting ("the Brady Bunch view"). The call will optimize showing participants with video, rather than blank screens. It is dynamic so if you have more than nine video streams going, it will adjust to prioritize active speakers.

If a participant does not have a camera or has it turned off, they will be represented by their Office 365 profile icon/photo at the bottom of the screen in a horizontal row (not part of the 3x3 display). This new feature will not impact the appearance of audio calls. Check out this short tutorial video for a demo of the feature.


Pop out chat

The new pop-out chat feature allows you to “pop out” a one-on-one or group chat into a separate window (only available in the Desktop version of Teams). You can move or resize these chat windows as needed. This is especially helpful if you need to message someone when you are in a meeting or call.   

There are many places where you can find the Pop out chat icon. For example, if you hover over a chat in your list, you will see the icon appear on the right.

For a full list of options for this feature, check out this article from Microsoft.

End the meeting for everyone

When click the red Hang up button, you are leaving the call, but other people can continue the meeting without you. Meeting organizers now have the option to end the meeting for all participants. This is great if your meeting includes outside contacts or students.

To end an in-progress meeting, go to your meeting controls and select More options > End meeting.  You'll be asked to confirm. When you do, the meeting will end for everyone right away.


Turn on Live captions during a meeting

Teams now provides an option for participants to turn on live captions. This allow meeting participants to follow along and read what is being said; this feature is especially helpful for participants who are hard of hearing or who are connecting from a loud location.  

To turn on live captions during a meeting, click More Options > Turn on live captions.


Change your background for a meeting

Teams has a few different options for those of us who need to hide the mess in our home offices or just want something fun to brighten up a meeting. On the desktop version, you can now blur your background or add background effects to your video calls (only available for scheduled meetings).

To change your background before you join a meeting, click the Background effects toggle on the Join screen.

To add a background effect during a meeting, click More options> Show Background effects.

Select a background from the menu on the right side of your screen. Click Preview to try it out or Apply which makes it "live." (Note: When you preview, others will temporarily not be able to see you.)

What if I don't see these changes yet?

Keep in mind some features are not available on every device or browser. If you do not see these changes yet in the Teams desktop application, click on your profile photo/icon, and select Check for updates and/or Sign out of Teams.


For information about Microsoft's updates to the mobile application: iOS updates    Android updates


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Article ID: 396
Tue 5/19/20 12:48 PM
Mon 12/14/20 2:33 PM