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Apple has recently introduced reactions to FaceTime in iOS 17, but not everyone is a fan of it. Thankfully, there is a way to disable this feature.

The reactions can be triggered through simple gestures enabled by default. Third-party apps can also adopt the reactions, resulting in a variety of effects bursting in the video calls. According to Apple, the aim is to make FaceTime and other calls “more expressive.”

You can observe these reactions appearing on calls when you do the following gestures:

  • Heart gesture: heart emoji
  • Thumbs up: thumbs up emoji
  • Double thumbs up: fireworks
  • Thumbs down: thumbs down emoji
  • Double thumbs down: cloud
  • Peace sign: balloons
  • Double peace sign: confetti
  • Double “Rock on” sign: laser

The function is undeniably fun and easy to use. However, it is apparently not everyone’s cup of tea, not to mention that it doesn’t always fit all scenarios. Last week, a user on Mastodon shared an awkward experience of a friend during an online therapy session when a firework effect erupted due to a simple gesture. With this, telehealth company SimplePractice started issuing a “warning dialog” before each therapy starts, underscoring the company has no control over the feature.

Fortunately, you can disable this feature to prevent the same situation during certain calls. You can do that by doing the following steps on your iPhone:

  1. Launch the FaceTime app.
  2. Swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen to open the Control Center. You’ll see a dedicated tile for the FaceTime reactions.
  3. Tap the tile to open the options available, and tap “Reactions.”

For those using FaceTime on their Apple Silicon Mac, do the following:

  1. Launch the FaceTime app or start a call.
  2. Click the FaceTime icon in the menu bar.
  3. Click the camera settings (e.g., Studio Display Camera) to reveal the option available.
  4. Select “Reactions” to disable the feature.


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