How to Keep Uninvited Guests Out of Your Zoom Meeting
We’re honored that millions of people around the world use Zoom Meetings to collaborate and stay connected. However, without precautions, meetings that are designed to bring people together could be attended by a person who is not invited.
Disruptions typically occur when meeting information is made open to the public. A user could post a private meeting link on social media, share their virtual classroom information, and more. But when these links are out on social media or other public forums, that makes your meeting completely public and anyone with the link can join it.
Here are a few easy ways you can help prevent disruptions:
Tips to prevent disruptions
- Use the right Zoom solution for your need: If you’re specifically hoping to use Zoom to host a virtual event with people you may not know, make sure to steer your attention from Zoom Meetings to Zoom Webinars or Zoom Events — products designed specifically for digital events.
- Avoid using your Personal Meeting ID (PMI): Your PMI is basically one continuous meeting and you don’t want outsiders crashing your personal virtual space after your designated meeting is over.
- Manage screen sharing: You do not want random people in your public session taking control of the screen and sharing unwanted content with the group. You can restrict this — before the meeting and during the meeting in the host control bar — so that you’re the only one who can screen share. If you disable screen sharing, the Whiteboard setting will be automatically disabled as well.
To prevent participants from screen sharing during a call, using the host controls at the bottom, click the arrow next to “Share Screen” and then go to “Advanced Sharing Options.” Under “Who can share?” choose “Only Host” and close the window.
You can also toggle sharing privileges under the Security icon in your window or change the default sharing option in your Zoom settings.
Manage your participants
- Allow only signed-in users to join: If someone tries to join your meeting and isn’t logged into Zoom with the email they were invited through, they will receive a message that says “This meeting is for authorized attendees only.” This is useful if you want to control your guest list and invite only those you want at your meeting — other students at your school or colleagues, for example.
- Lock the meeting: It’s always smart to lock your front door, even when you’re inside the house. When you lock a Zoom Meeting that’s already started, no new participants can join, even if they have the meeting ID and passcode. Just click the Security icon at the bottom of your Zoom window. In the pop-up, click the button that says Lock Meeting.
- Require a meeting passcode Generate a random Meeting ID when scheduling your meeting and require a passcode to join. You can share these details privately with respective attendees.
- Remove unwanted or disruptive participants: You can remove someone from your meeting by using the Security Icon or Participants menu. On the Participants menu, you can mouse over a participant’s name and several options will appear, including Remove. Click that to kick someone out of the meeting. When you do remove someone, they can’t rejoin the meeting. But you can toggle your settings to allow removed participants to rejoin in case you boot the wrong person.
- Disable video: Hosts can turn someone’s video off. This will allow hosts to block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate gestures on video.
- Mute participants: Hosts can mute/unmute individual participants or all of them at once. Hosts can block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate noise from other participants. You can also enable “Mute Upon Entry” in your settings to keep the clamor at bay in large meetings.
- Suspend participant activities: Hosts and co-hosts can pause the meeting to remove and report an offending party and prevent further disruption. Click the Security icon and select “Suspend Participant Activities” to temporarily halt all video, audio, in-meeting chat, annotation, screen sharing, and recording, and end Breakout Rooms. You can resume the meeting by re-enabling the individual features.
- Turn off file transfer: In-meeting file transfer allows people to share files through the in-meeting chat. Toggle this off to keep the chat from getting bombarded with unsolicited pics, GIFs, memes, and other content.
- Turn off annotation: You and your attendees can doodle and mark up content together using annotations during a screen share. You can disable the annotation feature in your Zoom settings to prevent people from writing all over the screens.
- Disable private chat: Zoom has in-meeting chat, which participants can use to message the entire group or each other privately. You can restrict participants’ ability to chat amongst one another while your meeting is going on and cut back on distractions. Click “Chat” in the meeting controls, then at the bottom of the in-meeting Zoom Group Chat window click the three dots. From there you can toggle on options for who can chat with who in your meeting.
- Report a user: Hosts can report users to Zoom’s Trust & Safety team, who will review any potential misuse of the platform and take appropriate action. Find this option within our Security icon or under the green shield icon in the top left corner of your meeting, where you can attach screenshots and other documentation as needed.
Enable the Waiting Room
The Waiting Room is an important feature for securing a Zoom Meeting. Just like it sounds, the Waiting Room is a virtual staging area that stops your guests from joining until you’re ready for them. It’s almost like the velvet rope outside a nightclub, with you as the bouncer carefully monitoring who gets let in.
Meeting hosts can customize Waiting Room settings for additional control, and you can even personalize the message people see when they hit the Waiting Room so they know they’re in the right spot. This message is really a great spot to post any rules/guidelines for your event, like who it’s intended for.
The Waiting Room is an effective way to screen who’s trying to enter your Zoom session and keep unwanted guests out. When you disable “Join before host” in your settings, a Waiting Room will automatically greet your guests until you’ve started the meeting.
Keep Zooming responsibly
We hope these security features will help you continue to host safe and successful Zoom Meetings. Security is a key value for us at Zoom and will continue to help guide new product updates. We’re committed to being a platform users can trust — with their online interactions, information, and business.
To learn more about Zoom privacy and security, explore our Trust Center.
Editor’s note: This post was updated from the March 20, 2020 version to include the most up to date information on preventing meeting disruptions.