How to fix the most common Zoom videoconferencing problems

Arif Bacchus

If you’re working from home (perhaps for the first time), you want to appear professional on your Zoom videoconferencing calls. That’s difficult if things aren’t working right.

From issues with your audio and video, to echoes during a call, to problems with sharing you’re screen, we’ve got you covered. Here are some common Zoom problems and how you can fix them.

Webcam or audio not working

Nothing is more frustrating than having your webcam or audio not work on a Zoom call. If your web camera is not showing up or is selected and is not working on Zoom, then you might want to try some of these basic tips first.

When you join a call, Zoom will prompt you with an option to Join with Video before entering the meeting. Always click this button, or else you will enter the call without your camera feed.

If your web camera isn’t showing up, the first thing to do is check to make sure all other programs that use the webcam are closed. Zoom won’t be able to use the camera it if you’ve already given access to it in a different application.

If your webcam or audio still isn’t working, you can test your audio and video in Zoom by clicking this link. Once open, you can join the call as usual on the Zoom app, and follow the instructions on the screen.

If you’ve joined on the web (or to just double-check your webcam in the main Zoom app,) you can also select your webcam by clicking Start Video (it might say Stop Video if you’re in a call.) If the screen is blank, you can then click the arrow next to the video camera icon and choose Same as system or a more specifically named webcam from the list.

If things still aren’t working right, you might also might want to try and uninstall Zoom and reinstall it from the Zoom download center. We’ve got a guide that can help you with that.

Sometimes, though, the problem might not be Zoom at all. If you’re on a Windows 10 or MacOS device, the webcam might be blocked. You can correct this by checking your app permissions to make sure the Zoom app or your web browser can use your webcam. On the web specifically, you also can check this setting by restarting your call and making sure you pressed Allow when prompted about the camera and microphone access.

On Windows, you can check to see if your webcam is blocked by searching for Webcam in the Start Menu and selecting Choose which apps can use camera from the menu. Scroll down and you’ll see the list of applications that are allowed to use your webcam. Make sure the box for your web browser or Zoom is ticked. In the same way, you also can search for Microphone and choose Microphone privacy settings to do the same.

On MacOS, you’ll need to click Security and Privacy in the System Settings, click the lock, and enter your password to make changes. You can then click Camera from the sidebar, and make sure your web browser and  Zoom are checked. You’ll also want to make sure the box for the microphone is checked, too.

Echoes during a call

Another common problem with Zoom is audio echo during a meeting. If you hear audio echo or feedback during your meeting, there are three possible reasons why.

First, someone could have both computer and telephone audio active at the same time. In this case, you’ll want to ask them to manually leave one in favor of the other. They’ll have to either hang up on the telephone call or leave audio during the conference by clicking the up arrow next to the microphone icon and choosing Leave Computer Audio. 

Another cause could be that people with computer or telephone speakers might be too close to each other. Lastly, multiple computers with active audio could be in the same conference room.

To resolve either of these other situations, you’ll have to ask the two people that are too close to each other to move apart. Or ask one of them to leave the audio conference or mute audio on their device.

Problems sharing a screen

Sharing your screen is an important part of a Zoom call and is as easy as clicking Share Screen at the bottom of the window.

If you’re planning to share your screen during a call, you might need to check a couple of settings first. Make sure that you have a solid internet connection, and that you’re connected to the call. Sharing your screen takes up a lot of bandwidth.

It’s also a good idea to try a Screen Share meeting first in Zoom. You can do this by selecting Start with no video at the Home tab when starting or joining a meeting. Your meeting will then start with only audioconferencing, freeing up some bandwidth. Your video will not be automatically turned on.

Alternatively, if you’re already on a call and need to share your screen, try turning off your video by clicking the Stop Video button and then choosing the green Share screen button.

Problems receiving email messages from Zoom

Another common problem is not being able to receive email messages from Zoom. This can include notifications and activation emails. These usually take 30 minutes to arrive and could take longer, but if it doesn’t arrive, you need to make sure that your email is configured properly.

Usually, this isn’t something on your end, so you’ll need to ask your IT department to whitelist Zoom’s email IP addresses. If you’re using Gmail or a personal emailing service, you can check your spam account, too. Emails will come from no-reply@zoom.us.