Apple’s recent introduction of video reactions for iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma has inadvertently brought some unexpected interruptions to telehealth sessions. SimplePractice, a prominent telehealth platform, is cautioning its users about these potentially intrusive emojis and animations.
Matt Haughey, via a Mastodon post, shared an incident where a friend, during a therapy session, unintentionally initiated virtual fireworks by simply giving a thumbs-up to his therapist. In response, SimplePractice has been proactive in alerting patients of this unforeseen feature on Apple devices, emphasizing that they don’t have the authority to modify the default settings. They’ve also provided resources, addressing this concern in their FAQ and offering guidance on deactivating the reactions on both iOS and macOS.
Released in September, the video reactions allow users to integrate unique emojis and animations into their video calls using hand gestures. For instance, mimicking a heart shape with hands will introduce hearts, while signaling two thumbs up will produce virtual fireworks. With a total of eight hand-activated reactions, the feature aims to enliven video interactions.
While these reactions can offer a fun twist in casual conversations, they might not be appropriate for more serious settings like therapy sessions or legal consultations. Considering they are activated by everyday gestures, such as thumbs up, thumbs down, or two peace signs, the probability of unintentionally triggering them is quite high. With these reactions turned on by default, many may find themselves unexpectedly disrupting a call, unaware of the feature’s existence.
As tech giants introduce innovative features to enhance user experiences, the integration sometimes comes with unforeseen complications. This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding and adapting to new functionalities, ensuring they cater to diverse user needs.