Computing

The Top Zoom Issues and Their Solutions

Is Zoom causing you trouble that you can’t seem to resolve? Video conferencing software is now more popular than ever, with countless companies embracing remote work. Zoom, along with other online meeting tools, makes this transition easier. However, like any software, Zoom can encounter issues that disrupt or even prevent smooth video calls.

The good news is that while some Zoom problems may be out of your control, many common issues can be fixed by following some simple steps. To help you troubleshoot and improve your Zoom experience, we’ve compiled a list of the most common problems users encounter and provided easy solutions to resolve them.

Webcam or Audio Malfunctions

Zoom Meeting Interface showing a big Pikachu.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Few things are as frustrating as encountering webcam or audio issues during a Zoom call. If your webcam isn’t showing up or isn’t working despite being selected, try these basic tips:

Solution 1: Check Zoom Settings

When prompted for a meeting ID just before joining a call, make sure to leave the following settings unchecked:

  • Do Not Connect to Audio
  • Turn Off My Video

This will enable your audio and video by default when joining a call.

Solution 2: Exit Other Related Apps

If your webcam still doesn’t work, ensure that all other programs using the webcam are closed. Another application accessing the camera may prevent Zoom from using it.

Solution 3: Test Audio and Video

If the webcam or audio issues persist, you can test them in Zoom by clicking this link. Follow the on-screen instructions to join a test call and determine if the issue persists.

Solution 4: Check PC Settings

In some cases, the problem may not be with Zoom itself. On Windows 10 or Windows 11 PCs or Macs, your webcam might be blocked. To resolve this, check your app permissions to ensure that Zoom or your web browser has permission to use the webcam.

On the web, you can also restart your call and ensure that you press “Allow” when prompted for camera and microphone access.

Windows 10:

  1. Enter “webcam” in the taskbar search box and select “Choose Which Apps Can Access Your Camera” from the menu.
  2. Scroll down and find the list of Microsoft Store and desktop applications allowed to use your webcam.
  3. For non-Microsoft Store apps like Zoom, make sure the “Allow Desktop Apps to Access Your Camera” toggle is switched to the “On” position. You can also search for “Microphone” and adjust the microphone privacy settings similarly.

Windows 11:

  1. In Windows 11, type “Webcam” in the Start Menu and click the “Camera Privacy Settings” link.
  2. Scroll down to the section allowing desktop apps to access your camera and ensure the toggle switch is turned “On.”

macOS:

  1. Open System Preferences and select “Security and Privacy.”
  2. Click the lock icon, enter your password, and make changes.
  3. Click “Camera” in the sidebar and ensure your desired web browser and Zoom are checked. Also, make sure the microphone box is checked.

Note: Some laptops have a physical webcam switch that needs to be enabled for the webcam to function properly. Double-check the position of your switch if you have one.

Solution 5: Reinstall Zoom

If all else fails, uninstall the Zoom software. The next time you attempt to join or start a virtual meeting, the web browser client should automatically download the software for you. Alternatively, you can manually install the software from the Zoom website.

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Echoes During a Call

A woman on a Zoom call.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Another common issue on Zoom calls is audio echoing. If you hear an echo or feedback during a meeting, here are three possible reasons:

Solution 1: Limit Input

Ensure that both computer and telephone audio are not active simultaneously. If someone is using both, ask them to either hang up their telephone call or exit the PC-based audio during the conference. They can do this by clicking the up arrow icon next to the microphone icon and selecting “Leave Computer Audio.”

Solution 2: Adjust Speaker Placement

If computer or telephone speakers are too close to each other, ask the individuals to move apart or close a door between them. Alternatively, one of them can leave the audio conference or mute the audio on their device. Using headphones also helps reduce echoing.

Solution 3: Disable Additional Audio

When multiple computers with active audio are in the same conference room, ask the individuals to move apart or close a door. Alternatively, one of them can leave the audio conference, mute the audio on their device, or use headphones.

Zoom Lag or Freezing During Meetings

A person conducting a Zoom call on a laptop while sitting at a desk.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Experiencing lagging or freezing during a Zoom meeting typically indicates an issue with your internet connection. Here’s what you can do to address choppy video quality:

Solution 1: Change Connection

If you’re on a mobile device, try moving to an area with a better internet connection. For PCs, use a wired Ethernet connection if available. Alternatively, position yourself close to the local router and connect to the 5GHz network, which is faster and less congested. If you need an upgrade, check out our guide to the best wireless routers.

Solution 2: Check Connection Speed

For successful video chats with multiple participants, aim for an upload speed of around 1Mbps and a download speed of around 600Kbps. You can quickly test your current speeds using an internet speed testing tool. If the speeds are unsatisfactory, repeat Solution 1. Additionally, you can check out our tips on how to increase internet speed.

Solution 3: Adjust Zoom Settings

Try unchecking the “HD” and “Touch Up My Appearance” options. To access these settings, click the cog icon (Settings) on the main screen of the Zoom desktop app or click the arrow icon within the video camera icon during a call and select “Video Settings” on the pop-up menu. Then, choose the Video category on the left (if not already selected).

By disabling these two options, you’ll reduce the bandwidth required for your video connection, which can help alleviate lag issues.

Unable to Share Screen

Zoom Meeting Share Screen
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

Screen sharing is a crucial feature in many Zoom calls. To share your screen, simply click the “Share Screen” button at the bottom of the Zoom window. If you encounter difficulties while attempting to share your screen, check the following settings:

Solution 1: Check Connection

Screen sharing consumes a significant amount of bandwidth. Ensure that you have a stable internet connection and that you’re properly connected to the call. For optimal performance, use a wired connection if available.

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Solution 2: Try a Share Screen Meeting

On the home screen, click the down arrow icon next to “New Meeting” and uncheck “Start With Video.” This will start your meeting with audio only, freeing up bandwidth. Your video will remain turned off. Alternatively, if you’re already in a call and need to share your screen, disable your video by clicking the “Stop Video” button, and then select the green “Share Screen” button.

Lack of Remote Control While Screen Sharing

Zoom Call
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

When sharing your screen, viewers may request remote control to facilitate troubleshooting or provide clearer instructions. This tool, labeled as “Request Remote Control” under View Options, can be accessed while screen sharing. If you’re unable to enable remote control or encountering issues while using it, consider the following:

Solution 1: Allow Remote Control

It’s possible that the host (the person sharing their screen) hasn’t granted permission for remote control. A notification will appear on their screen, and they must select “Allow” to enable remote control.

Solution 2: Don’t Interfere with the Host PC

The host may inadvertently interrupt the process. While the viewer (the person assuming remote control) is in control, the host should avoid interfering by clicking their mouse or making any changes.

Solution 3: Use a Compatible Device

Ensure that you’re using a compatible device. For example, iPads and Android devices cannot provide or request remote control, but someone else can remotely control these devices.

Not Receiving Zoom Email Messages

Scheduling an email in Outlook in Firefox on a MacBook.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

If you’re unable to receive email messages from Zoom, including notifications and activation emails, the issue may lie in your email configuration. These emails can take up to 30 minutes to arrive, so be patient. If you still haven’t received them, consider these steps:

  • Verify that your email is configured correctly. If you’re using a corporate email network, contact your IT department and ask them to whitelist Zoom’s email IP addresses.
  • Check your spam folder, especially if you’re using Gmail or a personal email service. Zoom’s emails will be sent from “[email protected].”

Zoom Crashes Unexpectedly

A webcam with a ring light on top of a PC.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

If Zoom crashes and closes itself without warning, try these solutions:

Solution 1: Check for Service Issues

First, check Zoom’s Service Status and sites like Downdetector to see if there are any known regional Zoom problems. Server issues or ongoing platform maintenance could cause the service to be temporarily unavailable. If this is the case, you’ll need to wait until the issue is resolved.

Solution 2: Use the Web Version

If the problem isn’t region-specific, consider using the web version of Zoom. As long as you have a reliable internet connection, the web version tends to be more stable when the installed app is experiencing issues.

Solution 3: Check Zoom Settings

Sometimes, Zoom’s audio and video settings can become confused. Check that your webcam is set as the video input and that your audio settings are correctly routed to your desired speakers.

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Protecting Against Zoom-Bombing

An unauthorized person entering a Zoom call.
Peace N Peas

Zoom-bombing, where unauthorized individuals disrupt private meetings with unwanted content, is an unfortunate reality. To prevent future incidents, follow these steps:

Solution 1: Require a Passcode

When creating a meeting and sending out invitations as the host, require all participants to enter a passcode before joining. This helps prevent strangers from accessing your meetings. Requiring a password is the default setting in Zoom.

For more advanced security concerns, Zoom offers end-to-end encryption for all meetings. To enable this feature, consult Zoom’s official guide.

By implementing these security measures, you can protect your content and guard against more sophisticated forms of Zoom-bombing, even with a free account.

Unable to Add Zoom Extension to Outlook App

A person conducting a Zoom call on a laptop while sitting at a desk.
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

If you’re having trouble adding Zoom’s extension to the Outlook app and have already tried updating the app itself, consider the following steps. However, it’s highly recommended to involve your IT department, as this issue often involves network settings:

Solution 1: Manage Your Trusted Sites

Navigate to the Security tab under the Internet section in Windows. Look for the Trusted Sites section and access the Sites option. If you encounter an error message, add the URL mentioned in the error. If there’s no specific message, add “https://zoom.us” and click “Add.” Make sure “Protected Mode” is enabled, and security is set to “Medium-high.”

Zoom Meeting Won’t Record

Zoom Meeting Options menu.
Zoom

If you’re unable to record your Zoom meeting, it’s likely a permissions issue. Here’s how to address it:

Solution 1: Manage Zoom Permissions

Only hosts can record Zoom meetings or grant recording permissions to others. If you’re supposed to be the meeting recorder, ask your host to give you permission through the Participants menu. The More button will provide an option to “Allow Record.”

Solution 2: Use Built-In Screen Recorders

As an alternative, both Windows and macOS have built-in screen recording features that can capture the portion of the screen where your Zoom meeting is taking place.

Ensuring Zoom’s Security for Business Use

The most common Zoom problems and how to fix them
Image used with permission by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

If you’re concerned about Zoom’s security and hesitate to use it for your business due to past vulnerabilities, consider the following:

Solution 1: Update Consistently

Zoom has been proactive in releasing fast bug patches, particularly security fixes. The company provides detailed information about its latest releases for review. By keeping Zoom updated, you can ensure a safer experience. Additionally, Zoom’s business plans offer managed domains, which can help limit Zoom use to authorized users.

If you’re open to alternatives, check out our guide on the best Zoom alternatives.

In conclusion, we hope these tips have helped you address your Zoom issues. As Zoom continues to shape the way we work, it’s crucial to ensure a smooth and reliable experience from the start.

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