Does Zoom Record Your Screen Or Just The Meeting? (Explained)

Let’s face facts: Zoom meetings are not as captivating as their hosts would like them too.

If you are anything like me, then you may be suffering from Zoom fatigue due to all the video conferences, meetings, and classes that you have attended.

You might feel tempted to do other things during a Zoom meeting, such as checking your email or playing games.

You panic when you see that the host has recorded the session.

Can Zoom record my screen?

Zoom Can Record Your Screen or Just The Meeting?

Zoom will not record your screen if you do not share it with other attendees during the session.

The host can record two types of meetings over Zoom.

Manual recording is the first option. Once the meeting begins, the host must click on the record button in the application.

The second is to enable automatic recording.

Zoom captures a meeting automatically when it is set up for recording. Zoom will not record locally if the session is being recorded.

The recording will not begin in this instance until the meeting host joins from Zoom desktop.

Local recording allows you to save audio, video and transcript files directly on the host’s computer.

Zoom can save files to cloud recording so that they are available for use from the Internet.

Because each method has its limitations and nuances, it is important to distinguish between cloud and local.

Cloud recording is not available to Basic (free!) Zoom accounts.

Who can record a Zoom session?

Zoom calls can only be recorded by the meeting host unless they have granted access.

You can name co-hosts when creating a meeting in the “Alternative hosts” field below “Options.”

This setting is default hidden. To see the alternative hosts setting, you must click the “Show” link.

To add a co host, enter the email address for a Zoom user in the field.

Not all licensed users are allowed to add hosts to meetings.

Basic accounts can only be used by one host

Cloud capture is only available to hosts and co-hosts.

If you set the session to automatically cloud record, the capture will begin as soon as the meeting starts.

Participants who want to initiate recording (when cloud record is set to manual), must first be elevated as co-hosts.

Participants in meetings can record sessions locally if they are granted permission by the host.

From the meeting, click “Participants” and then click next the user to whom you wish to grant recording permission.

Notification of the shiny new permission will be sent to the attendee, but it does not automatically start a recording.

It gives the user only the right to record.

It is also important to remember that Zoom works only for local recording. When an attendee records sessions, Zoom saves them to that user’s computer. This means that only that person has access to the files.

The host has the right to revoke the recording privileges of any participant at any time during the meeting.

How are Attendees Notified of Recordings?

Zoom informs attendees that the session has been recorded in three ways.

1. An Audible Message that Says “Recording in Progress strong>

This audible alert can be disabled by any Zoom account host, except users who dial in by phone (not those who use iOS or Android apps).

This is a valid reason.

Phone-only users wouldn’t be able to hear the alert and know that session recording is taking place.

2. Recording Consent Dialog Box

Users will be presented with a consent form, regardless of whether recording is manual or automatic. “Got it” or “Leave the meeting.”

If you join a session that is in progress, you will receive the same prompt when you connect.

However, Enterprise, API, Education, and Business account managers can modify or disable consent notifications for accounts that belong to their organizations.

You might not be able to see the consent dialog if your Zoom account is tied with your organization.

This notification will be visible to guest users who are logged in.

3. Red “Recording” Light Icon in Zoom Window

Last indication is the circular red icon located in the upper left corner of your screen, next to the word “Recording.”

Mobile users will see a similar icon but it is abbreviated REC and a red dot.

Administrators can disable other recording notifications but not this one.

What Gets Recorded in Zoom?

You now know how and can determine if Zoom recording has been enabled for a session. What is Zoom recording?

It is much simpler than you may think.

Zoom records only what is actually visible or audible in the meeting.

There are many options for hosts to decide what is recorded during a session.

It is possible to capture all or some of these data.

You will not be notified of which features are enabled. Only the general recording notifications described above will be sent to you.

Cloud recording offers more options than local recording.

Hosts have the option to save chat messages and can also save an auto-generated closed caption VTT.

Private messages can be saved to the host, but only with the local setting.

Private chats can’t be saved to the cloud.

Private chats between participants can’t be recorded or viewed by the host, regardless of their recording format.

Zoom offers more options with cloud recording

You have the option to choose any of these options.

They can either record the active speakers with a shared screen or a gallery view with shared screens, or the active speaker, gallery views, and the shared screen individually.

Cloud recording offers two options for audio: one audio file per participant and separate audio files per participant.

This option has a few caveats.

Zoom restricts audio recording to 200 people at a time.

Your audio feed will not be saved if you are the 201st person to speak during a Zoom call.

Second, all audio from dial-in users will be combined into one file.

Because it allows hosts to isolate audio feeds, the separate audio files setting can be very important.

It’s possible that you thought Joe Loudmouth shouted your salient (or sarcastic point), but if separate audio feeds were turned on, it’s easy for a host or moderator to go back and look at what you said.

Another recording option is the ability to save chat messages.

Cloud recordings are not like local recordings. They only save the public conversation from the meeting.

Also, if the Zoom session was not attended by all participants, the message doesn’t get recorded.

Other recorded data includes names of participants, audio transcripts and poll results.

Zoom Recording from Your Webcam.

Zoom records from your webcam

Yes, provided that you have the video on.

Zoom records everything that you say during a recording session.

This includes your screen, audio feed, and even public chats and private conversation with the host (with local recording).

The host can’t capture your screen unless you share it with them.

There are some things to be aware of.

Zoom meetings can be quite transparent if you have video.

A teacher can tell whether a student is paying attention. If your eyes move back and forth across the screen, or it’s evident that you’re using your mouse, others can see if you are paying attention to the meeting.

Disable video – assuming your boss or teacher allows it. This will keep your activity private.

Click on the Stop Video icon in the lower left corner of your desktop or mobile client.

Also, ensure that your microphone is turned off. Otherwise, clicking, typing, and other activities will be easily detected by everyone.

What about Zoom’s Attendee Tracker?

Zoom introduced an early 2018 feature called Attendee Attention Tracker.

Although the attention tracking feature was originally intended for teachers to monitor students’ attention during lectures, it can also be used in other situations.

(The release announcement has been removed from the company’s website. However, the original blog article is still available thanks to the Wayback Machine.

Zoom meeting hosts can now identify users who have clicked away from their meeting window for longer than 30 seconds, even if the session is in screen-sharing mode.

Although the Attendee Attention Tracker didn’t record any screens, it monitored usage and reported back to the host via a clock icon beside the name and profile photo of the attendee.

Zoom will also provide hosts with an attention report detailing how much time each user spent paying attention, i.e. had the meeting window open and was in focus.

Because the feature is no longer available, we use past tense.

Zoom discontinued attention tracking in April 2020.

As the company stated on its website, “We have taken the attendee-attention tracker feature as a part of our security commitment to the privacy of our customers.”

Zoom decided to remove the setting because of the possibility of abuse, even though the feature was likely to be useful in an educational context.

Zoom Teachers Can See Your Screen?

Teachers and bosses cannot see your screen unless they share it with you using the green share button in the desktop client.

You can also share your screen with the mobile app for Android and iOS phones, but you will need to initiate the sharing session.

Without your action, the host can’t view your screen.

Only the host can share their screen with a basic Zoom account.

Another consideration is the reflection of your video feed.

The host can see everything you see when the video is turned on. If your screen is reflected by something, or your glasses are glaring at the screen, it might be possible for other Zoomers to see portions of it.

Although it’s unlikely, this reality is important to remember when the video is on.

Zoom Can Record Your Screen Without You Being Aware?

It’s possible, but it is very unlikely.

If you share your screen and are unaware that the session is being recorded, then your screen will be recorded.

Be sure to check the recording indicator before you share your screen during a Zoom session.

Zoom cannot record your screen if it is not shared with you.

If you do not allow others to see your screen, they cannot record or view it.

Zoom Records All Participants

Zoom records all participants in recorded sessions. Zoom will offer an audible recording in progress message, or a consent dialog box.

These two features may not be available to users within your organization. However, the red circle indicator will still be visible with the words “Recording”, or REC near you to inform you that a session capture has taken place.

Zoom can only record the information you share.

Your webcam must be enabled in order to capture your video feed.

The host won’t be able to record your words if you don’t unmute it.


Zoom’s popularity exploded in 2020 because of COVID-19. The company was criticized for trying to balance privacy concerns with attention tracking features.

The company is proud to have overcome privacy concerns in an effort to create a safe environment for its users.

Although recording Zoom sessions can be useful for people who are unable or unwilling to attend, the company restricts access to hosts to attendees.

Students and employees can therefore rest assured that they will be notified when the session is being recorded. However, their screens won’t be captured unless they share them with other attendees.


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