26 Zoom Backgrounds for the New Year (Free )

By Stephanie Stevens
[3-minute read]

As we continue to make our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, there's no doubt that working from home (or some combination of at-home and in-office) is here to stay. Changing your desktop background is a great way to add a little fun and beauty to your everyday life. Take a look at our newest collection of free desktop backgrounds to use during your next meeting, online class, or virtual get-together. 

And just in case you need it, here's a quick guide to changing your background in Zoom:

  1. Download the Zoom Desktop app on your Mac or Windows computer (if you don't already have it on your computer).
  2. Open it and log into your Zoom account.
  3. Click the gear icon in the top right-hand corner to navigate to Settings.
  4. In the left menu, click Virtual Background.
  5. Select one of Zoom's default background images or click the + icon to upload one of the following images.
  6. If you want to change the background while you're in a Zoom meeting, click the ^ arrow next to Stop Video and click Choose Virtual Background… to change or turn off your Zoom background.

The Campus View

UC San Diego is fortunate to work with onsite photographer Erik Jepsen, who takes the vast majority of the fantastic images we share of UC San Diego, including the exemplary architecture, art, events and natural scenery on campus. Show off your Triton pride during your next Zoom meeting! Click on an image and right-click to save to your device.


An Artist's Vision

UC San Diego Extension's Photography and Art programs have been around for decades, helping creative people channel their visions into art that they can be proud to share with the world. We're happy to recognize the artwork of photography certificate graduate Timothy Dolph (Broken Hill, Torrey Pines), artists Diane Carstens (Favorite Things, Still LIfe) and Jessica Mills (Robot Surprise), and a piece from photography instructor Caity Fares (Film Experiments). Choose an image and click on it, then right-click to save to your device.


Connecting Campus to Community

Founded in 1966, UC San Diego Extension harnesses the power of education to transform lives. Our unique educational formats support lifelong learning and meet the evolving needs of the San Diego community and beyond. To save, click on an image and right-click to save to your device.

Image Credit: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego (left), Graphite Design Group (right).

Celebrating Local Wildlife

The San Diego Zoo & Safari Park is recognized as one of the top zoos in the world. They've created a collection of desktop backgrounds to help us all enjoy the lions, tigers and bears (oh my) that they work so hard to conserve. To save, click on an image and right-click to save to your device.

High and Mighty

NASA has had a big year with the launch of Lucy, a probe that's checking out Jupiter's moons, and the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest optical space telescope ever built. Save one of these out-of-this-world images of the Atlas Rocket, the Earth from space, the Orion constellation, and Perseverance taking a selfie on Mars, To save, click on an image and right-click to save to your device.


Celebrating Our (World) Heritage

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known as UNESCO, recognizes and provides designated landmarks or areas with legal protection that provide cultural, historical, scientific, or other forms of significance. Take a look at these fantastic images from Getty Images that capture the jaw-dropping beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, Mount Everest, Machu Picchu and Love Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey. To save, click on an image and right-click to save to your device.


Making an (Un)splash

Stock photography and illustration website Unsplash offers free, high-quality images for use. All you have to do is credit the creator—an excellent deal for such outstanding work. We're sharing some delightful photos of San Diego from creators Alana Mediavilla (Tide Pools), Frank McKenna (Surfers), Stephen Leonardi (Gaslamp District) and Hari Panicker (Coaster). To save, click on an image and right-click to save to your device.

Do you have other great sources for cool Zoom backgrounds? Make sure to tell us about it in the comments.


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