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The 7 most common Zoom issues and how to fix them
Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing tools, and it’s relatively easy to use. The problem is that it has its share of issues and vulnerabilities that often leave users frustrated. Luckily, you can fix most of these Zoom issues within minutes.
We’ve rounded up the most common Zoom issues currently causing problems for users and provided detailed instructions on how to solve them. None of the fixes require technical knowledge. You don’t have to be a computer wiz to do this.
Read more: The best Zoom alternatives
Most common Zoom issues:
Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of Zoom issues and fixes as new ones emerge and old ones are solved.
Zoom issue #1: Camera or audio doesn’t work
Did you join a meeting and can’t hear anyone? If so, you probably closed the window that popped up before you logged into a meeting. It’s one of the most common Zoom issues. Instead of closing it, make sure to press the blue Join with Computer audio button instead. But just in case you forget again, you can select the Join audio option in the bottom-left corner of the screen during a meeting, and then click the already-mentioned Join with Computer Audio button.
You can unmute yourself by pressing the spacebar.
If you clicked the blue button, but no one could hear you speak, you could have a muted mic. In this case, the mic icon in the bottom-left corner will be crossed out. Just click the icon to unmute yourself or press space — both options work.
The same thing applies to the camera. It may be turned off by default, so click the camera icon in the taskbar to turn it on. If an error message pops up saying that the video can’t be started when you click the button, the problem is your PC’s settings. To fix this Zoom issue on Windows 10, go to the Windows Settings, then go into Privacy and make sure the toggle under the Allow apps to access your camera section is on.
Related: The best webcams available
If you have multiple cameras (like your laptop’s and a separate webcam), mics, or speaker systems (like speakers and headphones), ensure you selected the right one in the settings. Go to Settings in Zoom and then Video or Audio to select the right device.
If you use multiple apps that take advantage of the camera or mic, other software might be occupying one of the two. Make sure to close any unneeded apps. If all fails, Zoom recommends uninstalling and installing the application. You can also close and reopen the page if you’re using a browser.
Zoom issue #2: Zoombombing
Did an unexpected visitor join one of your meetings and started sharing indecent images and videos? You’re not alone. One of the biggest Zoom issues is a security flaw that allows this to happen. It has become frequent. It even has a name — Zoombombing.
You can use a few methods to make sure something like this doesn’t happen to you. The first one is to update your Zoom app to the latest version. Zoom has implemented a few security measures that more or less prevent Zoombombing altogether. In addition to a Zoom meeting’s ID, you also need a password to get into a meeting. Additionally, all attendees have to request to join a meeting. They can enter once the host lets them in. You can also enable a waiting room to create another barrier of entry. To do this, go to Participants > 3-dot More button > Enable Waiting Room.
These improvements made by Zoom are great, but there are still a few extra security measures you have to keep in mind to prevent getting Zoombombed. The first one is to abstain from sharing your Zoom meeting’s ID publicly on Twitter or other public venues. This is just common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow this rule, including the United Kingdom’s prime minister. The same security measure applies to the meeting’s password as well.
Read More: How to set up and use Zoom
These methods should make sure unexpected visitors won’t show up in your meeting. But there are other tricks you can use for an additional layer of security. One of them is to lock the session after all the attendees have joined it. This means that no one will be able to enter your meeting anymore, even if they have the meeting’s ID and password. To do this, click the Participants tab and then select the 3-dot More option located at the bottom. A few options will appear — the one to click in this case is called Lock Meeting.
Also, keep in mind that the host can always remove unexpected visitors from a meeting with ease in case they still manage to get in somehow. Click the Participants option in the taskbar, hover your mouse over a participant’s name, and click More followed by Remove.
In this case, we also suggest that you disable the option that allows removed users to log back into the meeting. You can do that by heading to Account Management > Account Settings, navigating to the Meeting tab, and then switching off the Allow removed participants toggle.
Zoom issue #3: Missing features
If popular features, including the ability to only share a part of your screen with participants, don’t appear in your account, there’s no need to worry. You may have joined a meeting with a browser instead of the dedicated app.
Although Zoom works in browsers, the app offers more functionality. The time it takes to connect to a meeting is also a lot longer, and in some cases, the connection doesn’t get established.
To fix one of the most common Zoom issues and get access to Zoom’s features, download the Zoom app on your device and always use it to host a meeting or join one. Here’s the download link.
Zoom issue #4: Background noise
Background noise is the worst and can come from all the participants who don’t mute their mics. Someone might have kids running around the house and screaming or a neighbor who is mowing the lawn. The noise makes it hard to hear the person speaking during a meeting and is generally unpleasant.
This problem wouldn’t exist if everyone turned off their mics when joining a meeting. Only the person who speaks at a given time should have the mic turned on. Sadly, that rarely happens.
To solve this issue, the host can mute all participants on entry. This means that everyone will have their mic turned off by default when they join a meeting. This will prevent any possible background noise. You can do this by clicking the Participants button in the taskbar, selecting the 3-dot More option, and then clicking on Mute Participants upon Entry.
You’ll also see a Mute All button after clicking on Participants. It can be used throughout the meeting if people unmute themselves and background noise creeps in.
It also helps to avoid any circling sound or outside noises. Users should avoid using external speakers, speakerphones, or any other noisemakers.
Zoom issue #5: Lagging or performance issues
Is Zoom suddenly slowing down on you? Unexpected lagging or freezing is annoying, and the bad news is there’s not always an easy fix. One main issue could be your internet connection. You can run a speed test using something like SpeedTest.net. If your internet connection is acting up, then your only solution is to move to another network. Another way to lower Zoom’s internet needs is lowering video resolution in the Settings. Just click on the arrow pointing up button next to the camera button. Enter Video Settings and go into the Video tab. Uncheck HD.
If all fails, you might want to try restarting your computer and/or reinstalling Zoom. You can also restart your router or disconnect some devices from your network and see if that helps.
Zoom issue #6: Activation email not arriving
If you haven’t received the email, you need to activate your Zoom account; fear not. It will come; it may just take a while. While most activation emails are sent within seconds, some may take up to 30 minutes. There’s nothing to do on your end but to sit tight.
In case your Zoom account is managed by your company, and you don’t get the activation email after 30 minutes, the administrator should whitelist the firstname.lastname@example.org email along with the following IP addresses:
Also, make sure to check if the activation email from Zoom is in the spam folder.
Zoom issue #7: 40-minute limit and more
Zoom’s free plan is very generous, but it has several limitations you have to keep in mind to prevent running into problems. The biggest one is that group meetings can only last for a maximum of 40 minutes. After that, the system will log out all participants and terminate the meeting. Some users get confused after a meeting reaches an abrupt end.
Another limitation is that you can’t record to the cloud, which means that sharing a recording with your team is a bit more time-consuming. Free users can record a meeting to their device, after which they can upload the recording to Google Drive or any other similar service and then share it with others. This may or may not be a big deal to you, but it’s definitely something to consider.
Also, remember Zoom’s free plan supports a maximum of 100 participants per meeting and does not include a reporting dashboard that lets you see how many meetings are taking place, the total number of minutes spent in meetings, and other data. You also don’t access an admin panel that allows you to enable/disable certain features. These are the major limitations to keep in mind, although there are a few others.
If you think you’ll run into issues because of these limitations, we suggest that you sign up for one of Zoom’s paid plans. Pricing is affordable, starting at just $15 per month.