Disabling macOS reaction effects for Zoom Rooms for Mac

In macOS Sonoma (14.x), Apple introduced the concept of video reactions - on-screen effects inserted into the camera video stream by the operating system. These are distinct from Zoom meeting reactions, such as raise hand, that are part of the Zoom application and meeting experience.

At present (November 30th, 2023), Apple does not provide a mechanism for an administrator to enable/disable reactions on a system-wide basis, or for an application such as Zoom Rooms for Mac to programmatically enable/disable the use of macOS reactions.

As a temporary workaround, you may follow these steps to disable macOS video reactions manually. The process must be performed by an individual with physical access to the equipment or 3rd party remote desktop-type software:

  1. Connect a keyboard and mouse to the Mac.
  2. Start a Zoom meeting from the Zoom Room Controller (e.g. by pressing "New Meeting" button).  It is not necessary for any other participants to join the meeting.
  3. Ensure video is active (i.e. you observe self-view on the display connected to the Mac-based Zoom Room).
  4. Test a reaction pose to confirm macOS reactions are active, e.g. thumbs up.
  5. Press Command-H on the keyboard, which will hide the Zoom Rooms for Mac application.
  6. From the menu bar at the top, click the green camera icon.  Then, in the menu, click the green icon next to Reactions to disable them.
  7. From the Dock at the bottom, click the Zoom Rooms icon to return to Zoom Rooms for Mac (the meeting will still be active).
  8. Test a reaction pose again to confirm they are disabled, e.g. thumbs up.
  9. End the meeting.
        The procedure is complete.

Zoom is working with Apple to provide a mechanism to control the macOS video reactions from the Zoom Rooms Controller and Zoom admin portal. This article will be updated as more information is made available by Apple.