21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

Zoom has made it the most sought after videoconferencing service. But its meteoric rise in popularity has revealed serious privacy flaws. Problems with account hacking, password theft, relentless trolling (Zoombombing), malware-like behavior, etc., resulted in Zoom being banned from use by various institutions private and public.

21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

To the credit of Zoom, the developers ended up fixing most of the vulnerabilities that I just mentioned. The zoom even ended up being banned again. But it’s still not perfect, and there are a lot of things to take into account to protect your privacy when using Zoom.

Below, I’ve put together a quintessential list of privacy tips, settings, and options that should make your Zoom experience more private. If you want to minimize the risk of compromising your privacy or if you want to organize better meetings without getting Zoombombed in the process, then let’s get started.

Note: Most of the Zoom settings and options listed below are only accessible through the My Account portal on Zoom.us.

1. Download the Zoom app from the official website only

On desktop computers, be sure to get Zoom directly from its official download center on the Zoom.us website. With Zoom becoming incredibly popular, bad actors have created modified versions of the teleconferencing tool that can end up infecting your computer with malware, cryptocurrency miners, or malicious code.

Never download Zoom from a third-party website. And never follow a link from an email to a download source – it’s likely to be phishing personal information.

2. Use a separate email account

Until recently, Zoom users with corresponding email domains could search and find themselves by name. This implementation made it easier to find colleagues in the workplace and did not affect large webmail providers such as Gmail and Outlook.

But this had an impact on the accounts of relatively unknown email providers. So strangers could find other people’s email addresses, profile photos, and status pretty easily.

Although this is not possible now, it is best to use a separate email address only for Zoom itself to avoid similar problems later.

3. Get these updated Zoom apps

Zoom releases frequent updates to address privacy and security concerns. So be sure to keep your Zoom apps up to date. On the desktop, log in to Zoom and it will ask you to update to the latest version, if available.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

On mobile, simply search for the app on the App Store or Play Store and tap Update to install the latest updates.

4. Use your web browser instead

If you have any doubts about installing Zoom on your PC or Mac, or if you cannot update the Zoom application for any reason, use the Zoom web client instead. It is more secure due to the sandboxed nature of web browsers and does not require any updates.

Go to the My Zoom.us account portal, start or join a meeting, then click on the “Start from your browser” link instead of opening the Zoom application.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

The Web Zoom client only offers basic functionality compared to the Zoom application, but if privacy is a major concern, it is always a good idea to choose the former rather than the latter.

Note: On mobile, this is not an option because the Zoom Web client does not work well on browsers.

5. Protect your personal meeting ID

Zoom assigns you a Personal Meeting ID (PMI). It’s like a private phone number and points to your own personal meeting room. Therefore, it is best not to disclose this number in public forums or social media.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

6. Use a random meeting ID

Rather than compromising your personal meeting ID, you can use an automatically generated ID instead when scheduling. If you want to organize a meeting with people outside your usual circle, it is always better to choose this option instead of using your PMI.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

7. Change meeting passwords

Just a moment ago, Zoom did not protect meetings with default passwords. It didn’t really go well because anyone could attend meetings and go on a Zoombombing trip to ruin your day.

Although Zoom will automatically password-protect your meetings now, you can still change it in case meeting details are leaked to the wrong people. Choose a scheduled meeting in the Zoom app, then click or tap Edit this meeting to change the password.

8. Remove passwords for invitations

Zoom includes passwords in your invitations by default. In addition, they are encoded in the URL of the meeting itself to allow participants to join more quickly without even having to enter the password.

Unless you are absolutely certain that none of your contacts will end up sharing the link with other people, you can prevent this from happening by visiting the Zoom.us settings and turning off “ Embed password in the invitation link for a one-click join ”. Obviously this means that you will have to send your password separately.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

9. Activate waiting rooms

The Zoom waiting room allows you to check participants before admitting them to your meetings. This option is on by default, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check when scheduling a meeting. You can also enable or disable this option during meetings via the Security menu (on desktops) or the Meeting Settings pane (on mobiles).

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

Whenever someone tries to join your meeting, tap Admit in the pop-up notification to allow them to join the meeting. You can also see the participants in the waiting room via the participant list.

10. Only users with accounts can join via the web client

Almost anyone who knows your Zoom meeting ID and password can access a web browser and ruin your meeting. Things can get really messy since Zoom doesn’t even need an account to log in in the first place.

To at least prevent random strangers without Zoom accounts from showing up at your meetings, enable “Only authenticated users can join meetings from the web client” in the Zoom.us settings.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

11. Allow only logged in users to join

If you use a paid plan (Pro, Business, Education, or Enterprise) in Zoom, you can further restrict your Zoom meetings to people who are actually logged into their Zoom accounts or to people with email addresses in certain areas.

Go to account management in the Zoom.us account settings, then activate the switch next to “Only authenticated users can join”. Then just click on Add configuration and specify the form of authentication required.

12. Lock your meeting

Once you have a Zoom meeting in progress, you can prevent people from joining by locking the meeting. This minimizes the chances of a stranger disturbing him.

Display the Security icon on the desktop application or the Meeting Settings pane on the mobile application, and then click or tap Lock Meeting.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

13. Limit screen sharing to host

The zoom allows you to share your screen on any of your devices, which is great for making presentations. But that doesn’t mean that your participants should also have the same ability.

To prevent others from sharing the screen and potentially disrupting the meeting, go to the Zoom.us settings and select Host only under Screen sharing.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

14. Prepare before screen sharing

Screen sharing also brings its fair share of privacy issues. Just be sure to plan ahead of the meeting so you don’t share personal details. Disabling notifications (using Focus Assist / Do Not Disturb) is a great place to start.

15. Mute of participants at the entrance

At some meetings, you may want to get your message out before letting the participants speak. Activate “Mute participants at the entrance” when scheduling a meeting (or via Zoom.us settings) to mute everyone at the entrance until you are ready to hear what they mean.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

16. Disable audio / video upon joining

You can also turn off your own audio and video files when you join a Zoom meeting. This gives you enough time to prepare before showing up.

You can access the relevant settings from the Audio and Video tabs in the Settings pane on desktop and mobile applications.

17. Prevent participants from recording the chat

Zoom’s discussion boxes allow all kinds of conversations between participants. But if the meeting is confidential, you can prevent others from recording the chat session. Select “Prevent participants from recording the chat” via the Zoom.us settings.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

18. Prevent withdrawn participants from joining again

By default, when you exclude a few unwanted participants from your meetings, they cannot join. What if they could? Go to the Zoom.us settings and make sure that the option “ Allow deleted participants to join ” is disabled.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

19. Disable file transfers

Zoom allows file and document transfers in chats. But what if meetings end up in a file sharing frenzy? It is best to disable this feature unless there is a solid reason to use it. Head to the Zoom.us settings and turn off the switch next to File Transfer.

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21 Best Zoom Tips, Settings and Privacy Options

20. Select the Zoom servers

Zoom uses servers in multiple locations around the world to transfer meeting-related data. But not all countries respect your privacy. If you use a paid Zoom plan, you can actually determine the countries through which Zoom routes your data.

Go to your Zoom.us account settings, activate the switch next to “ Select data center regions for meetings / webinars hosted by your account ”, then select the countries you want to allow Zoom to use for your meetings.

21. Use the virtual background

Don’t want other attendees to know where you are right now when you host or participate in a Zoom meeting? Use a virtual background and no one will see your surroundings. Go to Settings in the Zoom app on your desktop or mobile, then select Virtual Background to get started.

Stay private, stay safe

By implementing the tips above, you can have a very confidential Zoom experience while simultaneously preventing unwanted participants from diverting hosted meetings. But don’t stop there – I also recommend that you carefully browse the Zoom.us and Zoom Settings screens to find additional features that can help you keep your privacy. The zoom is also under pressure to make their application even more secure, so keep an eye out for new settings and options.

Then:

Too panicked to use Zoom? Here are 7 awesome alternatives to consider.

Last updated on May 21, 2020

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