How to turn off the camera during a call with Zoom

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Aina Prat Blasi
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Joining a Zoom call with the camera and microphone on is pretty much a given, whether you're using a computer or smartphone. If you're not ready for the meeting or need a break, turning off the camera is a good idea. You may also want to join a call with this option turned off. After all, you can always start broadcasting when you're ready.

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How to always keep the camera off

There is also the possibility that Zoom will ignore your camera every time you join a meeting. Here's what you need to do.

  1. Launch the Zoom app.
  2. Go to the Settings menu.
  3. Go to the Video tab.
  4. Select the option with "always turn off" / "turn off my video".

This will not prevent you from joining a call. But it will prevent the camera from capturing during the call unless you manually enable it later.

You can do the same thing for the speakers and the microphone.

You can disable the camera on any platform. However, note that for the Windows client, the option is found in the Settings menu. On Mac, the option to disable the camera is found in the Preferences menu.

If you are using a smartphone, use the following path to disable your camera.

  1. Launch the Zoom app.
  2. Tap the Settings button.
  3. Select Meetings / Meeting.
  4. Turn on the Always turn off my video option.

When you want to wake up the camera, you can tap the camera icon on the meeting screen. The same thing goes for mute / unmute the microphone.

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How to manage video for attendees

If you're hosting a Zoom call, you can manage attendees or set specific rules for them. This includes deciding who can speak, who can stream video, who can speak, and so on.

Here's how to stop someone else from using your camera if you're the host.

  1. Click the Manage Participants button.
  2. Select a participant from the list.
  3. Click the More button next to an attendee.
  4. Stop the video.
  5. Click the Ask to start video option to wake up the camera.

You can also put someone on hold or in a waiting room if available.

How to disable the camera in Windows 10

Maybe your settings aren't saved when you use Zoom. If you want to make sure your camera is never available during a call, you can disable it from Device Manager.

  1. Open the Windows dialog (Win key + R).
  2. Type devmgmt.msc.
  3. Press Enter.
  4. Expand the Cameras section.
  5. Right-click on your device.
  6. Click Disable Device.

This will prevent all apps from using the camera, including Zoom.

If you're using a desktop PC, you can also disconnect the camera during a call or before you turn off video. Alternatively, you can turn off Bluetooth if the camera connects via Bluetooth.

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How to disable the camera on Mac

The same is true for Mac. If you are unable to disable the camera from the Zoom app, disable it from the operating system settings.

  1. Open the Apple menu.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Go to Security and Privacy.
  4. Go to Privacy.
  5. Select the Camera option.
  6. Uncheck Zoom to deny access to your camera.

How to disable the camera on Android

Note that the steps below may differ slightly depending on your phone model.

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Locate the Zoom app.
  3. Go to Permissions.
  4. Deny access to your camera.

How to disable the camera on iPhone

Again, different versions of the operating system may have different wording on some menus and permissions.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go to the Privacy menu.
  3. Select Camera.
  4. Find the Zoom app and set the camera access to Off.

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Is Zoom Even Better Than Free Alternatives?

Sometimes you have to pay to get that extra touch of quality. While the Zoom app is simplistic, it does a lot of things right. The list includes direct access options, higher compression and video quality over bad connections, and so on.

With meetings so customizable, it's still easily one of the best apps of its kind. Let us know what your thoughts are on the Zoom app. What improvements would you like to see and what other customization options would you like to see to make your meetings smoother?

Further Reading:

  • How to activate subtitles in Zoom for free
  • How to share your screen in a Zoom meeting
  • How to mute audio on a zoomed call
  • How to raise your hand on Zoom
  • Zoom screen sharing not working, 8 solutions

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