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Gesture Recognition in Zoom

Zoom now gives meeting participants the ability to provide visible emoji feedback during a meeting, using gesture recognition of a physical raised-hand or thumbs-up gesture.

This article applies to: Zoom

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About Gesture Recognition

Zoom gives meeting participants the ability to provide visible emoji feedback during a meeting, using gesture recognition of a physical raised-hand or thumbs-up gesture.

When enabled in the Zoom client settings or in the Reactions button during a meeting, gesture recognition translates physical a raised hand or thumbs-up into the corresponding meeting reaction emoji, as if you had clicked Raise Hand or the thumbs-up emoji in the toolbar Reactions options.

Currently, Zoom’s gesture recognition only includes raised-hand and thumbs-up gestures.

In addition to the Zoom gesture recognition features detailed below, if you use an Apple device running macOS Sonoma 14 or iOS 17 or higher, you may also have new macOS- or iOS-managed features that offer gesture recognition in all video-based apps.

This separate gesture recognition feature is part of the Apple system cannot be disabled within Zoom, Facetime, or other video apps. Some users have found that regular body language can be picked up by Apple video effects and trigger inappropriate animated emojis during serious Zoom or other video app meetings.

To learn how to disable Apple video effects, visit Disable Unwanted Apple Video Effects.

Enable or Disable Zoom Gesture Recognition During the Current Meeting

In Windows or Mac Clients

To turn on gesture recognition during the current meeting:

  1. Join or start a meeting as usual.
  2. In the Zoom meeting toolbar, click the up-arrow icon next to the Reactions button.

    If the Reactions button is not shown in your Zoom controls, click the More button (three dots) and find the Reactions options there.
  3. Click Recognize hand gestures to toggle hand gestures on or off. When enabled, a check mark appears next to the option.

    When you enable gestures, they will be enabled for all your meetings going forward.
    Screen capture of Zoom meeting showing Reactions button and option to Recognize hand gestures.

Enable or Disable Zoom Gesture Recognition in the Zoom Client

To turn on gesture recognition for any meeting you attend using the Windows or Mac Zoom client:

  1. Open your Zoom client and sign in and authenticate if required.
  2. Click Settings (gear icon).
  3. Click General.
  4. Under Reactions, click Activate the following emoji based on hand gesture recognition. To disable, unclick the checkbox.
    Screen capture of Zoom client General settings showing option to "Activate the following emojis based on hand gesture recognition"

In iOS Mobile Devices

To enable the Zoom iOS mobile app to recognize gestures during the current meeting:

  1. Tap More (you may need to scroll the Zoom toolbar to see the More button).
  2. Tap Meeting Settings.
  3. Under Gestures, tap the slider beside Raise Hand or Thumbs Up to enable recognition of the gesture. To disable, tap the slider so that it is grayed out.

Currently, the Zoom client for Android does not offer gesture recognition.

Use Zoom Gesture Recognition During a Meeting

After you have enabled gesture recognition in the Zoom client settings or activated it during a meeting:

  1. Make sure your Zoom video is turned on. (Click the Video button if necessary to turn it on.)
  2. Physically raise your hand or make a thumbs-up gesture. Be sure your gesture is visible in your video frame.
  3. Hold the gesture for about four seconds. A small corresponding reaction emoji will appear above the Reactions button circled by a timer to show how long you need to hold the gesture for Zoom to recognize it.
    Screen capture of Zoom client showing timer for gesture recognition
  4. After the timer completes, the reaction emoji will display in the meeting.
    • To cancel a raised hand gesture, click the Lower Hand button.
    • A thumbs-up gesture will disappear after a few seconds automatically.

Tips for Zoom Gesture Recognition

  • For a thumbs-up gesture, have your thumb in the upright position while gesturing.
  • For a raised hand gesture, raise your hand on the same side of your body – that is, right hand raised on the right, and left on the left. It works best to have your palm toward the camera.
  • If you make a gesture but did not intend to make a reaction emoji appear, simply stop the gesture before the four-second timer completes.


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