How to Record a Zoom Meeting

Sean Lund-Brown

With the popularity of Zoom, many people are on the hunt for ways to make it more effective and useful. Recording is one feature that Zoom offers that many people want to use but aren’t quite sure how. Recorded meetings can be a valuable asset for several different reasons, from rehashing meeting notes to sharing the meeting with others who couldn’t participate. 

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to get started with recording on Zoom. From enabling the record feature to learning who can and can’t record on Zoom, we’ll cover it all here. For starters, here are some things that you need to keep in mind. 

The rules for free users and paid users are different. You’ll also have different rules and permissions based on your device(s) and if you decide to use a third-party screen recorder (more on that later). 

The use of Zoom is changing the way that people do business. Even if you don’t need to know this skill now, it may come in handy in the future, so it never hurts to learn. There are a lot of different variables to consider, but it isn’t that hard to learn if you are willing to invest the time. If you’re recording an important meeting, we recommend trying it out a few times ahead of time so that you don’t end up screwing it up at the critical moment when you need to be recording. 


What is Zoom?


This might seem like an obvious question, but some people still aren’t quite so familiar with the platform. Zoom is an online meetings platform that became insanely popular in the early days of the pandemic in 2020. It is now the most-used online meetings tool for schools, businesses, and even social groups. 

Zoom has even spawned its own meme series, plenty of jokes and horror stories, and even some amazing (and utterly embarrassing) news stories. Of course, if you’re not trying to make headlines and just want to make a recording of a meeting, here’s what you need to know.  


Permissions


The caveat here is that while anyone can record a Zoom meeting, not everyone will have access to recording in the Zoom app directly. Hosts are the only ones with inherent permission to record. If you want to record a meeting as a guest or participant, you’ll have to get permission from the host. 

This can be done from the host’s end by hovering over the name, clicking “More” and then selecting the “Allow record” feature from the drop-down menu. Zoom has a great resource on how to allow permissions for accounts, groups, and users, making it easy for you to ensure that recording is enabled when you need it most. 

You can read the full details of this support guide on the Zoom website, but we’ll cover the highlights of enabling recording here. 

Account:

Account Management > Account Settings > Recording > Local Recording

Group:

*Must sign in as an administrator with the ability to edit groups*

User Management > Group Management > Group [Name] > Recording > Local Recording

User:

Settings > Recording > Local Recording

For users, the option may be grayed out if the permission has been locked at a higher level. In this instance, you’ll need to contact one of the administrators to get access to recording at the user level. 

You can also enable the setting in each of these menus to allow the host to give participants permission for local recording when you’re enabling or disabling recording. And, for mandatory settings, just click the lock icon and then click “Lock” so it confirms your choice. 


The options: local vs. cloud recording


There are two basic options for recording meetings with Zoom: cloud recording or local recording. Local refers to recording directly to the device being used, such as your laptop, during a Zoom meeting. Cloud recording allows you to record content to the cloud when you have a paid account that includes cloud storage. 

Each type of recording has its pros and cons to consider. The steps to record are the same, but the features and limitations and the perks of each method should be considered. Check out the sections below and remember that these steps are only going to work after you have gained permission to record or have enabled recording yourself, if possible.


Local Recording

Anyone who has a basic account can record locally on their desktop device*. The app supports Windows, Linux, and macOS. Simply select the “record” option. If a menu pops up, select the option that says, “record on this computer”. As a reminder, when you record on Zoom, the meeting host and participants can see who is recording. 

Once you’ve started recording, you’re also able to pause or stop recording with the buttons that will display on the screen. Once the recording has been completed, you will be able to access the files locally, depending on where Zoom stores them. 

You can also go to Settings > Recording and find all of the options that you can modify, including the default location. However, Zoom warns users against saving to cloud-synced folders like Google Drive or One Drive. Rather, they suggest leaving it on local drives for proper conversion and saving. 

* Meetings cannot be locally recorded on Android or iOS phones for free users. Paid users can record via the cloud on mobile devices, however. 


Cloud Recording

Those who want to use cloud recording will generally need to have a Pro, Business, or Enterprise account with Zoom. Certain accounts that feature HIPAA security protocols may not be able to use this feature. Another important note is that Zoom recommends twice the time of the recording for processing (so, six hours for a three-hour meeting) but also says to allow up to 24 hours to deliver your cloud videos if there is a high demand for processing at the time. 

You can record via the cloud with Zoom’s desktop app or mobile app, provided that Cloud Recording is enabled in your settings and the settings are changed to suit your needs. And finally, you should know that only hosts can start cloud recordings. That means if a participant wants to record, they’ll either need to become a co-host or record locally. 

There are two options with cloud recording: manual and automatic. 

Manual recording works by starting the meeting as the host and then clicking the “record” button. Then, select “record to the cloud” and the file will start recording to the cloud. Use the pause and stop features as you would with local recording, and when you’re done, it will be sent to Zoom for processing. 

An email will be shared with two links: one for the host that allows them to manage the recording and one for the participants that allow them to view the meeting. You can also download, share, and edit your recordings. One thing you cannot do is embed your recordings on a website. Zoom doesn’t offer this for the security of your recordings and their participants. 

What about automatic recording? That’s all about fixing your settings. Again, Zoom has a great resource article on this topic that will explain everything in-depth, but we’ll cover the basics for you here. There are three places or ways to adjust the settings for automatic cloud recording. 

Users will go to Settings > Recording and enable automatic recording, and then select whether to record on the cloud or locally. 

Groups need an administrator to go to User Management > Group Management and select the name of the group. Then, go to the “recording” tab and make sure that automatic recording is enabled. You’ll also have the option to save locally or to the cloud here. 

For an entire account, you’ll again need to be an administrator and go to Account Management > Account Settings > Recording. Then, you can enable automatic recording and choose to record on your local device or in the cloud. 

There’s one more option here: individual meetings. You can turn on (or off) the automatic recording feature for an individual meeting if you don’t want to do it for all of them. Simply go to your list of meetings or click on the Meetings menu. Then, choose “Schedule a Meeting” or find your menu in the Upcoming list. Click “edit” to get to the meeting options, which is where you’ll find the toggle button for automatic recording. You’ll also be able to choose between recording locally or in the cloud. 


Audio File Recording


You also have another interesting (and potentially useful) option here. Zoom has a feature for hosts that allow them to record the audio files for each participant separately. If you want to make sure that you don’t miss anything from your meetings, this is a great way to do it. Here’s how it works:

  • Go to Settings > Recording
  • Click “Record a separate audio file for each participant”
  • Record the meeting and save it to your computer
  • Find the folder and locate the Audio Record folder within
  • Open that folder to find all the individual audio files from your meeting

Files will be saved under the participant’s name, making them easy to access, too. This feature is also only offered for local recordings. 


What about third-party screen recorders?


If by chance you can’t get the features or recording solutions that you want from Zoom itself, you have one more option. Third-party screen recorders are available that make it easy for you to capture every second, no matter whether the Zoom app wants to allow it or not. If you would rather use a tool like this, make sure that you take the time to check them out and see what kind of features they offer, what their security is like, and whether they have all the solutions that you need. 

If you’re trying to record meetings and don’t have permission, there’s little that you (or any third-party program) can do to override that, thanks to Zoom security protocols. It’s best to just get permission and make sure that you’re not trying to record anything you shouldn’t. 


Where’d my meeting go?


Okay, so once you’ve recorded a Zoom meeting, how do you find it? Well, depending on whether you’re a free or paid user, you’ll have two choices:

Free users will find recordings saved locally on their device, wherever the Zoom app is directed to save files. You can make note of this, and even pick the save location, during setup or in your account settings. 

Paid users will receive an email that includes links to the audio and video from the meeting, which are both stored in the cloud for easy access and sharing. 

Of course, if you use a third-party recording service, you’ll have to follow their instructions, but usually, they’ll either have a location on your device or cloud storage available. If you are going to use a third-party service, make sure that you check for things like security features and how much storage you get. Zoom and local storage both offer relatively secure options (we say “relatively” because it depends on how well you secure your device). 


While you’re in meetings, who is fielding your calls and messages?


No matter how much more efficient Zoom meetings have made your business, they’re still going to take up valuable time. That means you’ll be missing calls, messages, emails, and other potentially valuable communications from your visitors. Even with an assistant, it might not be enough. Fortunately, the dedicated virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can deliver all the solutions that you need. 

We can provide you with a team that will handle after-hours calls, lead intake, SMS message and Facebook message answering, scheduling, and can even run the live chat on your website so that you truly never miss a beat. Plus, we’ll help you create the perfect strategy to manage it all, too. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do for your business communications. You can also reach out to us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 


Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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