Apple today publicly confirmed that iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 allow developers of video calling apps to turn off the Reactions feature by default in their apps.

As we reported earlier this month, developers can control the default behavior of Reactions in their apps with a new API for iOS 17.4, iPadOS 17.4, and likely macOS 14.4. The updates are expected to be released to the public in March.

Apple’s developer notes for the iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 Release Candidates:

Developers can control the default behavior of Reactions with the key […] This is controlled per application and user choice will override application declared defaults.

For example, video conferencing app Zoom could use Apple’s new API to turn off the Reactions feature in its app by default. iPhone and iPad users who manually turn Reactions back on in Control Center would still be able to use the feature in the app.

Reactions remain turned on by default on iOS 17.4 overall, so they still work in FaceTime and in apps that do not use the API without any further steps required.


Starting with iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma, you can make hand gestures during video calls in the FaceTime app and other video conferencing apps to fill the screen with 3D effects. For example, you can hold two thumbs up to show fireworks on the screen, or make two peace signs with your hands to show confetti.

Unfortunately, many users are unaware that this new feature is turned on by default, which has led to some awkward and embarrassing moments during important video calls, such as online therapy sessions and business meetings.

Instead of turning off Reactions by default altogether, Apple is allowing developers…