There’s good reason Zoom has become a go-to video-chat app for friends, family, and co-workers alike: The app is incredibly easy to use but offers some pretty powerful perks.
Zoom’s Basic plan lets you host meetings of up to 100 people for up to 40 minutes, screen-share, and record meetings. There’s no time limit for one-to-one get-togethers, and connecting is as easy as messaging someone.
Here’s everything you need to know to get talking.
Start a meeting
After you create your Zoom account, you’ll be the proud owner of your very own Personal Meeting ID, which you’ll use to host your online get-togethers.
To host a meeting, tap the orange New Meeting icon, then tap Start a Meeting to open your virtual door.
Now invite others to join by tapping Participants at the bottom of your screen, then Invite. You can send invites via email or Messages. Or let the app scan your contacts and add people who already have a Zoom account. To enable this, go to Settings > Contacts > Phone Contacts Matching.
Join a meeting
The simplest way to join another person’s meeting is by using the link in their invitation. If you don’t see one, look for a Meeting ID Code—a series of numbers separated by dashes. Once you have it, go to the Zoom app, tap Join, and paste the code into the Meeting ID box.
Chat it up
Now you’re meeting in Zoom! If you’re talking with two or more people, you can swipe left to view everyone at once on your screen. Need to quickly go off video and mute your mic? Swipe right. This turns on Safe Driving Mode (which works even if you’re sitting at home).
If your connection is lagging—or if you’re having an especially bad hair day—tap Stop Video to switch off your camera and go audio-only.
Get ready for your close-up
One of Zoom’s spiffiest features is Touch Up My Appearance, which uses digital trickery to make you look more camera-ready. It won’t give you superhero muscles, but it will smooth things out a bit. To activate it, go to Settings > Meetings and scroll to Touch Up My Appearance.
Travel the globe (or look like you are)
Want to feel like you’re hanging out somewhere a little more exciting than your home office? Turn on a Virtual Background while you’re in a meeting by tapping More. The app provides a sample image, but you can also add your own.