What is Zoom: 27 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Answered

By Matt RedererUpdated on June 22, 2020

More people are taking their calls online, using video and audio streaming services to facilitate this. Zoom’s video conferencing app is a great fit for personal, small business, and enterprise level applications.

This article will cover any unanswered questions so that you know what it is and can use it effectively in your own life.

What is covered in this article

Before we answer unique questions, let’s go over what the video-conferencing app is and how it works. We’ll cover the main solutions they offer and outline the basic pricing plans available.

What is Zoom and how does it work?

Zoom (zoom.us) is a video-conferencing software application that can be used on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. It uses an internet connection to stream video and audio calling, and has a suite of plans with a variety of features that enhance your video meetings. Zoom is free to use as a participant.

Meeting in progress

Essentially, Zoom facilitates Internet-based calling, allowing users to stream live video and audio meetings. It has a variety of features to use for meetings, conferences, and webinars for personal and business purposes, including meeting recordings, screen-sharing, and other collaboration options.

A Zoom call is the physical meeting that takes place over the Zoom software via a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. Zoom calls and Zoom meetings often refer to the same thing. Zoom calls can more broadly refer to webinars and audio-only calls. They do not refer to direct messaging, such as chat.

What are Zoom’s main solutions and services?

Zoom has a suite of products, with subscription plans that vary based on the features included, meeting capacity, and meeting time limitations. Below are the main services that they offer:

  • Zoom Meetings & Chat
  • Zoom Rooms
  • Zoom Phone
  • Zoom Video Webinars

Zoom is ideally suited for both personal and business use cases. Its base (and free!) version is great for the average user, including all features they would need to facilitate personal calls and meetings. Their more advanced plans have a variety of features suited for business use cases, such as larger participant limits, breakout rooms, polling, and more.

What Zoom Meeting plans and subscriptions are available?

There are a number of different plans available, which have additional features. Below are the four Zoom Meeting plans available:

  • Basic: Ideally suited for personal meetings, you can host up to 100 participants with a limit of 40 minutes on group meetings of more than 3 participants.
  • Pro: Best for small teams, you can host up to 100 participants and host group meetings with a time limit of 24 hours. This plan also comes with reporting included and cloud recording space for recordings.
  • Business: Designed for small to medium sized businesses, you can host meetings with up to 300 participants. Receive dedicated phone support, a vanity URL, company branding, and an admin dashboard that makes it easy for your organization to use.
  • Enterprise: Built for large, enterprise level business needs, hosting up to 500 participants. This plan comes with unlimited cloud storage, a dedicated customer success manager, and executive business reviews.

To help you choose the right plan, compare their available plans and subscription options. Based on your needs, you can pick the plan that’s best for you. You can also always upgrade or downgrade to a different plan.

Your top 27 Zoom FAQs, answered

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about Zoom, so you can easily find answers and solutions to the most common questions and problems. Find exactly what you’re looking for and check out other resources available to learn more about a specific topic or feature.

1. Is it free to use Zoom?

It is free to sign up for a Zoom account and to join meetings as a participant. To host and schedule your own meetings, you will need to have an account. These can also be done for free, but with meeting time and feature limitations. Meetings of more than 3 people will be limited to 40 minutes without purchasing a plan.

2. Is Zoom safe and secure?

For the average user, Zoom is safe and secure to use. To ensure a safe experience while using the app, use the safety settings and features available, including password protecting your meeting, using the waiting room feature to screen attendees, locking the meeting after all participants have joined, and restricting who can share their screen and perform other functions.

Read more about how to use Zoom safely and known Zoom security concerns, specifically those related to COVID-19.

3. Where can I download Zoom?

Download Center screen with desktop client for Meetings download button

The latest version of Zoom is available for download from the Download Center. Here, you can find the latest version for all devices and systems, including the client for meetings, the plugin for Microsoft Outlook, the plugin for IBM Notes, the extension for browsers (Chrome, Firefox), the plugin for Intel Unite, the mobile apps (App Store and Google Play), and more.

4. What is a “Zoom client”?

“Zoom client” refers to the video-conferencing software used on your computer or mobile device. Zoom web client operates through your web browser; Zoom desktop client is a downloadable software application that operates on your computer. The web client version can be accessed without downloading software or plugins, but offers limited functionality compared to the desktop client.

5. Do I need an account to use Zoom?

Account sign in page

An account is not required to join a meeting as a participant; but you will not be able to host your own meetings or join meetings. For a meeting to occur, one of the people on the meeting will need to have an account and will have to host the meeting. A Zoom account will allow you to manage meetings within the app and schedule meetings of your own.

6. What is Zoom compatible with?

Zoom requires a stable internet connection that will support video streaming (broadband wired or wireless 3G, 4G, or LTE minimum), speakers and a microphone, and a webcam or HD camcorder with a video capture card. With this criteria met, it is compatible to run on the following:

Operating systems

  • macOS X with macOS 10.9 or later
  • Windows 10 / 8 and 8.1 / 7 / Vista with SP1 or later / XP with SP3 or later (*S Mode is not supported)
  • Ubuntu 12.04 or higher
  • Mint 17.1
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 or higher / Oracle Linux 6.4 or higher
  • CentOS 6.4 or higher
  • Fedora 21 or higher
  • OpenSUSE 13.2 or higher
  • ArchLinux (64-bit only)

Tablet and mobile devices

  • Surface PRO 2 or higher running Windows 8.1 or higher (*S Mode is not supported)
  • iOS devices
  • Android devices
  • Blackberry devices

Browsers

  • Windows: IE 11+ / Edge 12+ / Firefox 27+ / Chrome 30+
  • Mac: Safari 7+ / Firefox 27+ / Chrome 30+
  • Linux: Firefox 27+ / Chrome 30+

7. What payment methods does Zoom accept?

You can pay for your account using credit card or PayPal payments online. To pay by check, wire transfer, or ACH, contact Zoom directly via phone (at 1-888-799-9666).

8. Can you cancel your subscription at any time?

Zoom plans operate on a subscription-based model. Plans renew on a monthly or annual basis (depending on the payment method you choose). You can cancel the auto-renewal of your plan at any time; your plan will then be immediately terminated when canceled.

9. Do I need a webcam or device camera to join a Zoom meeting?

Meeting in progress with no video being displayed

A webcam or phone camera are not necessary to join a Zoom Meeting or Zoom Webinar, but you will not be able to display video during the call. You can still use all audio functions, share your screen, and view other participants’ video.

10. Does calling in to a Zoom meeting by phone cost money?

The ability to have participants call-in to a meeting via a dial-in number is dependent on whether the account has this feature included. Check the invitation for a dial-in number to use to call in to the meeting. If a dial-in number is not included in the invitation, this option is likely not available. If you call in using a toll number, you will be charged based on your service provider rates.

In short, if you are calling in using available, toll-free numbers as a participant, it will not cost you money. However, it will cost money at the account level to have the dial-in feature available.

11. Can I use a Bluetooth headset?

Yes. Any headset that is paired with the device you are using to make the call can be used for audio and microphone functionality. This includes wired and wireless headsets and microphones. Simply pair the headset with your device, and enable that audio input when joining (or during) the meeting.

12. Can I record my Zoom meetings?

Hosts have the ability to record meetings to their local device. This ability can be restricted or allowed for the entire account, specific groups, or individual users. Hosts with a license and the proper plan can record to the cloud, with Zoom storing all your meetings for you via cloud storage.

13. Where are my Zoom recordings saved?

By default, recordings are stored locally on your device. You can find them where your files are typically downloaded. With certain plans, cloud recording storage is included. With this enabled, meeting recordings will be stored via Zoom’s cloud storage, saving you space and centralizing access to your stored recordings. You can also purchase extra cloud storage space as an add-on.

14. What is a Zoom meeting ID?

A Zoom meeting ID is a unique number associated with an instant or scheduled meeting. They are used to label meeting rooms so that participants can find and access the room. Some meeting IDs prior to April 12th, 2020 are 9-digits, but most current meeting IDs are 10 or 11 digits.

15. What is a Zoom Personal Meeting ID?

Personal meeting ID for user displayed

Zoom personal meeting IDs are associated with a unique user’s personal meeting room. Your personal meeting ID and personal link are the ways that you and participants can access your personal meeting room. A personal meeting ID is a form of meeting ID, and each Zoom user has a single unique Personal Meeting ID.

16. What is a Zoom link?

Meeting link URL

A Zoom link is a URL for a particular Zoom meeting. This represents the ‘physical’ online location participants will meet, and the web address where the meeting is being held. Click any of these links to open the Zoom call through your browser by accessing the meeting webpage. You can also copy and paste the link into your browser domain search, and share the link with other attendees.

17. How many participants can be in a Zoom meeting at once?

Meeting with many participants

Image Credit: Zoom Support

Most plans have a participant limit of 100 per meeting. This can be increased to 500 with a Large Meeting add-on. In order to run more than one meeting at the same time, you need to have multiple host licenses. Group meetings have a limit of 40 minutes for Basic plans, while higher tier pricing plans remove this 40 minute time-limit.

18. Can I use Zoom in my browser without downloading it?

App open in browser

Yes. You can access and use Zoom by signing in on your browser from their website. You can use it as you would normally through the browser version. There are also browser extensions available for Google Chrome and Firefox that make scheduling meetings within your browser easy and convenient.

19. Can I use Zoom on a mobile device?

Mobile app home screen

Yes. There is a mobile app available for download on the App Store and Google Play. It operates the same as the desktop client, with some interface changes to make navigating the app on your device more user friendly.

20. Can I use Zoom on my TV?

If you have a smart TV, a Google Chromecast, HDMI cable, or another way of connecting the device you are using Zoom on with your TV, then you can likely cast your meeting to your TV. This will essentially allow you to use your TV as a monitor. Pair your computer, tablet, or mobile phone to your TV. Open the app on the device you are using and cast your device to your TV screen.

21. Can I schedule Zoom meetings?

Schedule meeting window

Meetings can be scheduled through the app on desktop or mobile. You can also schedule meetings using third-party calendar apps, such as Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and more. You can also share meeting links and meeting IDs to other participants without using an integration tool.

For centralized, convenient scheduling, we suggest using the app or a calendar integration. We also have an article on how to schedule a meeting so you can decide for yourself which is best.

22. Can I use Zoom on multiple devices?

A single user can be signed in to their Zoom account on one computer, one tablet, and one phone at any time. When a user signs in while logged into another device of the same type, they will be logged out of the previous device. Zoom does not allow accounts to be shared as per their terms of service.

23. What is a Zoom waiting room?

Zoom participant waiting room screen

Important

Zoom waiting rooms are different from Zoom Rooms.

A Zoom waiting room is a room created for meeting participants to join prior to being admitted to a Zoom meeting by the host. Essentially, this is an additional security feature of a Zoom meeting that funnels attendees into a waiting room. The host can see participants seeking to join the call in the waiting room, and admit them individually or all at once.

24. What is a Zoom Room?

Important

Zoom Rooms are different from Zoom waiting rooms.

Zoom Rooms is a product offered as part of the available Zoom services, facilitating an integrated audio and video conferencing solution for businesses. Zoom rooms are the physical locations where Zoom Rooms are set up, which is essentially anywhere a user has a device with Zoom Rooms capabilities. It lets you transform offices, meetings rooms, and more into a virtual conference room.

25. What is a Zoom chat?

Meeting with chat open

Zoom Chat refers to the instant messaging service that is offered as part of their solutions. Zoom chats are the actual instant messages, which can be private or group messages. Zoom chat is always available during Zoom calls, as an additional feature. It can also be used on it’s own, without starting a meeting, call, or conference.

26. What is Zoom screen sharing?

Screen sharing window selection screen

Screen sharing is a feature available within Zoom Meetings on desktop, tablet, and mobile. The host and – with the host’s permission – participants, can share their device’s screen by clicking the Share Screen button. For another user to share their screen, someone sharing must stop sharing their screen. The host can also lock screen sharing for participants, so that only they can share their screen in a meeting. This is recommended if no participants will be required to share their screen.

27. What is a Zoom interview?

A Zoom interview is simply an interview conducted using a Zoom meeting. While the general principles and practices will remain the same, there are certain limitations based on the nature of the meeting. There are ways for both the interviewer and interviewee to get the most out of the video-conferencing interview. We’ll have tips on how to prepare for and nail your Zoom interview later.


Hopefully these help you answer your questions. For more information, see our other resources on how to use Zoom and the complete list of Zoom features. This will help you choose the right plan for your needs and ensure you know how to make the most of the app.