As many of us stayed home to flatten the curve of the coronavirus, video conferencing app Zoom all but exploded in popularity. The number of Zoom downloads skyrocketed by 1,270% and the value of the company’s stock also followed suit.
As one of the leading video conference apps on the market, Zoom is relatively stable and easy to use. We’ve seen so many Zoom fitness classes sprouting up in Singapore and ActiveSG also uses the platform to encourage Singaporeans to exercise virtually. You can also jio your friends to do a fitness challenge together virtually to keep yourself motivated.
Best of all, it’s FREE and you can host up to 100 participants in a Zoom call under the free plan. There is a 40 minutes time limit on meetings with three or more participants though but a lot can be accomplished within that time, amiright? For one-to-one meetings, there is no time limit at all so you can talk to your heart’s content.
You also don’t actually have to download Zoom to join a Zoom video meet so it’s all very hassle free. Just click on the link you received to join it – it’s that simple! But if you’d like to host a Zoom meet, you will have to download the software application. We cover the step by step guide below.
How to join a Zoom meeting
- Visit join.zoom.us and enter meeting ID provided by the host; click ‘Join’ OR
- Simply click on the link you have received from the host; click ‘Join’.
How to host a Zoom meeting
Windows/ Mac/ Android/ iOS
- Download the Zoom app if you have not done so.
- Open your Zoom app and click sign in. Sign in using the email and password you created, or you can also sign in with Gmail or Facebook.
- At the orange New Meeting button, click the downward arrow and select Start with video. Then click the main orange New Meeting button.
- Your video meeting will start. Click on the information icon on the top left hand corner to copy the invite link and send it to your participants.
How to schedule a Zoom meeting
- Download the Zoom app if you have not done so.
- Open Zoom app or on the web: Sign in using the email and password you created, or you can also sign in with Gmail or Facebook.
- Click the blue Schedule button, below the orange one.
- Immediately the Schedule Meeting form pops up and you can type in your meeting topic, date and duration.
- You can even set a password for the meeting.
- Remember to copy the invite link and send it to your intended participants.
Pro tip: you can even create recurring meetings for weekly, monthly or any other regular calls with the same URL – simply check ‘Recurring meeting’ (see above picture). So, go ahead and lock all those calls in and you will never have to create a fresh URL to your intended attendees.
You can even sync it with your calendar apps like iCal or Google Calendar.
How to change your Zoom background
Why show your messy living space to others when you can appear on screen in an amazing, chic Midcentury Modern apartment like this one from West Elm?
Download this background called The Fab 5 Loft from West Elm here.
If you want more options for your Zoom background, we recommend checking out Canva – they have a huge variety of graphic design backgrounds that will suit any style. Or for more fun options and for some semblance of your much missed travel experience, Airbnb has some pretty amazing Zoom background downloads.
Or if Disneyland or Star Wars is your kinda thing, don’t be afraid to show that on Zoom – it may even be a great conversation starter! We particularly like the pastel hues of this dreamy Disneyland park.
Apart from switching your Zoom backgrounds just for fun, applying a virtual background also has practical benefits, especially when you have multiple people working from home. Afraid to disturb bae during his Zoom meeting with his boss because you keep walking up and down to get snacks from the kitchen? Your solution’s right here – applying a virtual background will block you out from his screen so you can snack in stealth mode. Just don’t go too close to his screen.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to change your Zoom background:
- Log in to your Zoom app.
- Click on that arrow on your Stop Video button and click on ‘Choose Virtual Background’.
- Here you can see a few of the backgrounds that Zoom already has, have fun selecting any of the backgrounds to try it out!
- To upload your own Zoom background, click on the + icon at the right side of the words ‘Choose Virtual Background’.
- While in a Zoom meeting, tap the ‘More’ button (with three dots)
- Tap ‘Virtual Background’ and select an image to upload.
- Tap ‘Close’ to return to the meeting
Note: Sadly this function is not available on Android mobile devices!
How to record your Zoom call
Zoom also lets you record your web conferencing calls as videos, which can be useful for those who missed the meeting. It’s also a great option for reviewing what was said, for example, in an interview feature. This function is pretty cool for an app that’s completely free.
It’s super straightforward to use: just click on the ‘Record’ button at the bottom of your screen when you’re in the meeting. Click ‘Stop record’ anytime, when you’ve captured the essentials.
How to share screen on a Zoom call
The Share Screen is a green button at the bottom of your screen, just beside the ‘Record’ button. The default setting is that the participants will see your shared screen in full screen mode and won’t be able to see the participants.
The default mode is also that only one person is able to share screen at a given time so that it’s not confusing for everyone.
How much does Zoom cost?
The free plan is pretty awesome, with up to 100 participants. The only caveat is the 40 minutes time limit for meetings with three or more participants. If that’s not sufficient for you, you can upgrade to a few paid versions as follows:
|Free||$14.99/ month||$19.99/ month (Require >9 hosts)||$19.99/month
(Require 100 hosts)
|No of participants||Up to 100||Up to 100||Up to 300||Up to 500|
|Meeting duration||40 minutes||24 hours||24 hours||24 hours|
Zoom pro tip: touch up your appearance
There’s nothing like working from home and your boss suddenly calls for a 9am Zoom meeting when you’re still in your PJs and haven’t even properly woke up yet.
Pro tip: Make sure your Touch up my appearance function is on! It gives a bit of blurring filter so that not every detail is crystal clear on screen.
Here’s how to do it:
- Click on ‘Settings’
- Select ‘Video’ and find ‘My Video’
- Check on the box ‘Touch Up My Appearance’
- Tap on ‘Settings’ which is found at the bottom right of the page
- Select ‘Meetings’
- Tap on ‘Touch Up My Appearance’ and toggle it on
Note: This feature is also not yet available to Android users unfortunately.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and Zoom obviously knows that. It’s not just a work app, but it wants to help you connect with friends virtually and even play games with them. In a Zoom meeting with your friends, just share screen on your phone and watch the magic come alive.
Here are my top three Zoom game favorites:
1. Heads Up!
Download Heads Up! app onto the phones and get ready to start actin’! You can even rope in your whole family for a fun bonding session.
Simply download the app on your smartphone and enter the room number found at the top left hand corner. Your phone will act as a controller while you challenge your friends to a dance battle.
3. Random Trivia
Use this Random Trivia generator to see who has got better general knowledge! Just set a timer and click on the trivia to reveal the answer.
Of course, Zoom is not the only video conferencing app around – there are other options like Whatsapp Video Call, Google Meet, Cisco Webex, Skype, GoToMeeting.
After all, so long as we don’t have a vaccine for Covid-19 yet, these web conferencing tools remain very essential tools that are part of our lives.
Cynthia has a soft spot for traditions and culture. For her, a good ol’ cup of kopi and kaya toast hits the spot better than any fancy café fare—with the sole exception of pancakes.