Update plans: Zoom has made significant changes in the app and we expect a few more of that scale. A major update of this book is slated for summer 2022.
Many of us rarely touched a video chat or videoconferencing tool until the pandemic hit. Now, we videoconference daily (or more often) for all sorts of reasons—we’ve gone from zero to Zoom!
Despite Zoom’s broad adoption, users sometimes struggle to keep up with its features and interface. Zoom changes constantly, and often spreads useful features across several places. This new edition of the book covers all the latest changes and the differences among platforms. You’ll learn which Zoom app to use, how to configure your account and app even before your first meeting, how to work in Zoom views and chat in a meeting, and how to create and manage your own meetings. The book also covers how to share your screen, make presentations with PowerPoint or Keynote, annotate shared images, record audio and video, use full-screen mode and multiple displays, and work with machine-learning transcription and captioning.
You also learn about virtual cameras—software like Camo, mmHmm, OBS, and Zoom’s built-in Slides as Virtual Background feature—that can take one or more media sources—still images, video, animation, app windows, and sometimes more—and mix into a camera feed you can simply select and broadcast as a host or participant in Zoom.
This book provides comprehensive advice and directions on planning a meeting, starting it up, and managing it, including running polls and setting up and using breakout rooms. It also provides extensive insight into keeping meetings safe, and warning or removing problematic participants.
But what about privacy and security? Since early 2020, Zoom has fixed bugs, promised improvements and delivered them, and come clean about where it fell short. The book covers the current state of Zoom security and privacy, including an end-to-end encryption (E2EE) preview available to all hosts. You can find out how E2EE works, Zoom’s implementation of it, how to enable it, and how to make sure your E2EE session remains free of snoopers.
- How to install and configure Zoom
- Choosing whether or when to use the Zoom web app
- Configuring your physical setup and hardware for best audio and video quality
- Mastering meeting participation, including the various methods of “speaking up”
- Zoom’s many mobile and desktop views for seeing other people and shared screens
- The best ways to present using PowerPoint and Keynote
- Finding the best combination of screens and devices to manage each of your presentations
- Becoming a host and starting meetings with one other person or 1,000
- Conducting polls and managing breakout rooms
- Using automatic transcription and captioning features
- How to preserve your privacy when sharing apps, presentations, or other parts of your screen
- Recording a meeting for later playback, presentation, or a podcast
- Deciding whether to upgrade to a paid Zoom tier for meetings you host
- Zoom’s security options, including end-to-end encryption
- How co-host and alternate host roles work in managing a meeting
What’s New in Version 2.1
Since the last update to this book, Zoom has made many hundreds of tiny changes to its interface and features, and this version of the book has been updated throughout to include the little stuff. You can also read specifically about these more noticeable additions and changes:
- Focus mode: Zoom’s focus mode, added in late 2021, lets a host and co-hosts limit participants to seeing just the host’s and co-hosts’ video streams, while the host and co-hosts can see all the members’ streams. It’s designed for education use, but could be helpful in other circumstances. See “Use Focus Mode To Stay on Task.”
- Updated and consolidated HD video explanation: Zoom limits free accounts to 480p video and most paid tiers to 720p. This was formerly explained in a few places in the book and lacked all the associated bandwidth information and exceptions. I’ve consolidated all this into one place and expanded it. See “Determine Whether You Can Use HD Video.”
- Virtual cameras streamlined: With virtual cameras no longer a fresh idea for Zoom like they were in mid-2020, I’ve removed an appendix about them and worked the salient details directly into the main text in “Virtual Cameras.”
- Upgraded audio input in iOS 15: With new microphone settings in iOS 15, users with modern iPhones may select among three choices that mix voice and ambient sound in different ways. Based on Zoom settings, those modes may be supported or restricted. See “Use iOS 15 Audio Control Options” for details.
- Halt all video: Zoom added a sort of video-stream kill switch for meeting participants that lets them turn off all incoming video with a click. See “Halt All Video To Help Conserve Bandwidth.”
- New dual-monitor toggle keyboard shortcut: It may seem minor, but it’s very handy that Zoom added a shortcut for those of us with two monitors to switch dual-monitor mode on and off. Dual-monitor mode offers benefits and tradeoffs as a participant and host. I’ve added the shortcut throughout the book.
- Swap displays in presentation software: Microsoft updated PowerPoint’s presenter tools, adding a more easily accessible button to swap the presentation and the tools between two monitors. See “Swap Displays.”
- In-meeting security summary: A host can bring up a thorough summary of security settings in an active meeting. See “Zoom Protects Meetings in Several Ways.”
- Zoom’s improved security track record: Because Zoom has cleaned up their act so much from 2019 and the first half of 2020, I removed the chapter “Trust and Verify Zoom,” and distributed useful parts of it into more appropriate locations throughout the book. Notably, the section explaining end-to-end encryption for meetings can now be found as “Appendix A: End-to-End Encryption.”
- Zoom adds end-of-life to old versions: To avoid old, less-secure, and incompatible versions of Zoom in regular usage, the company began requiring on Nov. 1, 2021, that you use a version of Zoom no longer than nine months old. See “Zoom Requires Up-to-Date Installations.”
Posted by Glenn Fleishman on June 23, 2020
Zoom is constantly tweaking its privacy and security settings, and they announced some minor changes today that I will fold into the next update of the book, slated for July.
Zoom will no longer use the term “password” to refer to the secret you use to join a meeting. Because your Zoom account has a password, this may have confused less-sophisticated users, who could have been sharing their account password instead of one required for a meeting.
Instead, Zoom is updating their apps and web interfaces to use the term “passcode,” which they say more accurately reflects the nature of the secret. This doesn’t change behavior in any way, but it does make it clearer what you’re talking about. The company didn’t state a timetable for those interface changes, but watch for them in the coming weeks.
The more significant change only affects people with paid accounts. Starting July 17, 2020, Zoom will require any meeting without a passcode has a Waiting Room enabled. You can also have both a passcode and Waiting Room, which I highly recommend and cover in the book from the user and host perspective.
For people with paid accounts, from the single-host Pro up through enterprise flavors, it’s a change for any host who had omitted a passcode and disabled the Waiting Room.
Zoom had turned on Waiting Rooms by default for all accounts in May, but hosts can override that on a per-account or per-meeting basis, and administrators for business accounts can set Waiting Room policies that require them or disable them by default for all users.
As of May 9, 2020, hosts with free-tier (Basic) accounts must have a passcode set, so the Waiting Room remains an added option for those accounts.
Posted by Joe Kissell on May 19, 2020
Glenn Fleishman joined Chuck Joiner on MacVoices in a two-part interview to discuss his new book Take Control of Zoom. Needless to say, the interview itself was also conducted using Zoom!
In Part 1, Glenn offers some Zoom tips and discusses Zoom’s privacy and security challenges.
In Part 2, Glenn discusses Zoom vs. the competition, recording options, and more.
May 17, 2022—Zoom has made significant changes in the app and we expect a few more of that scale. A major update of this book is slated for summer 2022.