Zoom made easy

Zoom basics, or questions you never dared to ask

Most of the time zoom works like a charm. If this is the case for you: stop reading here.

Or if the word zoom sends chills down your spine start with the Video: Join a Zoom Meeting (a calm, very informative ‘the ABCs of zoom’ video viewed by over 1.4 million people)

Since COVID-19 ‘Zooming‘ is becoming a word like ‘googling’ that English majors will debate for years to come, but we hope the selected videos give you a head start. We recommend you try it out and test drive the zoom settings before you join any meeting.

Note from April 2021

Zoom is here to stay. Over the last year, since we first created this webpage we learned a lot. The text gets longer and more videos are added or tailor made. We hope you reading this text and watching some videos will prove to be time well spent.

  • If you are a beginner and need to install zoom in your device please scroll down to the videos that help you do just that.
  • You already have zoom, but… In our experience quite a few complications to hear, speak, or use your camera might be related to an outdated version of Zoom in your computer or mobile device.

There are a million things that can go wrong, often because the version of zoom you may be using is not the most up-to-date. If you are among the unlucky ones, here are some videos and tips that help. This collection keeps growing as we encounter more bumps in the road.

Quick update April 4, 2021:
The latest version of zoom is 5.6.1 Mac/PC as of 3/23/2021. Currently zoom provides updates twice a month or more. Please make sure you update to 5.6.1 ASAP to spare yourself a lot of frustration. (See videos below.)

Update zoom?

Update Why? – Is there trouble on the horizon?

Updating you zoom app can magically fix a lot of ‘stuff’ (so can restarting your computer/mobile device). We recommend you try it first.

Note: Please check which version of zoom you are using before your join a meeting. Once you joined a meeting there is no easy way to check which version you are using. Unfortunately you can not update zoom at all while you are already in a meeting. You need to leave the meeting, update and then join again.


You don’t want to sign up for another of these free accounts?

The biggest confusion in trying to update your zoom app has been the question: do you have a free (or paid) zoom account? If you just downloaded the zoom app to participate in a meeting you do not automatically have a free account, because signing up for it requires additional active steps.

Most people never sign up for a free zoom account. You do not need a fee account to just participate in zoom meetings. If always others invite you to join a zoom meetings you are fine.

If you do not have a free zoom account your zoom.us app looks like this:

If you signed up for and have a free zoom account your zoom.us app looks something like this:

The biggest advantage of the free account is that you can check which version of zoom you are using and updating it in a few seconds, as shown in the first two videos below. It also provides a few more options, such as hosting meetings up to 40 minutes and selecting and avatar that shows instead of your name when you turn your camera off.

A free zoom account is all you need if you participate in zoom meetings organized by others. (Click on the ‘sign up, it free’ orange button on the zoom website.) It is totally up to you, but a free account makes your ‘zoom life‘ easier.

Which version of zoom are we talking about?

If you are trying to join a zoom meeting and get a notice to update your software on your screen, please do NOT ignore it. Consider yourself one of the lucky ones and follow the steps required – and you are golden. (Yes, you will have to allow your computer to make changes in the process.)

These 2 videos below shows the quickest way to check which version you are using if you already have a free/paid zoom account. First: Open the zoom.us app in your computer. If you ever participated successfully in a zoom meeting you have the zoom app in your computer or hand held device already!

zoom app image
The zoom app looks like this on a computer or hand held device

Important: Option 1 and 2 in the video below ‘How to update Your Zoom Client’ only looks like this if you already have a free/paid zoom account.

If you do NOT have a free/paid zoom account you can only use Option 3 in this video with a PC to update your zoom app (because you don’t have a profile image to click on in your app). For mobile devices watch the other videos below we made for you.

This video for computers is provided by zoom and requires to already have a free/paid zoom account (after you opened the zoom app).
This video is tailor made for iPad users that already have a free or paid zoom account
(but may apply to other devices)

How to easily update zoom if you do NOT have a free/paid Zoom Account

If you do NOT have a free (or paid) Zoom account, please watch these short, one-minute videos for an easy, quick way to update to the latest version of the Zoom app.  If you have already participated in a zoom meeting on your iPhone or iPad, the Zoom app is already installed; however, regular updates are crucial to make it work headache free.

You are not required to sign up for a free/paid Zoom account to participate in zoom meetings, but ‘no account’ is the bare bone version. Do yourself a favor and get a free zoom account if you zoom often.

There are gazillions zoom videos on the web. This list is in no way comprehensive, but we tried to select a few for you that explain it well and clearly.

How to videosproduce by zoom in house are here. Please keep in mind that zoom assumes in 99% of their videos that you do have a free or paid zoom account, so if you don’t have one (yet) your screen will not look like the ones in their zoom videos.

Basic Video: Join a Zoom Meeting

To join a zoom meeting, please watch both videos first. Most of the problems we had Th not being able to hear or other issues that are related to the set up in their device they are using.

Joining a Zoom Call for the First Time; Fun and Easy Online Connection (8 minutes slow pace easy to follow video):

Installing zoom in a computer

The video “How To Download Zoom And Install For Windows Tutorial” is the shortest no nonsense video we found so far on how to install zoom (the zoom app) in your PC.

Here are these steps in images:

Download the latest version from the zoom.us/download webpage. Click on the blue Download for the latest version of the software and install it. (Hopefully this will happen automatically.)

Joining with a mobile device

If you want to join a zoom meeting on a mobile device, you must download the app: ‘Zoom cloud meetings’ from the App Store (iPad/iPhone) or your google play store. This is not optional, but a zoom prerequisite to use zoom on mobile devicesPlease watch the video and install the app first, so you can join any zoom meeting in the future.

How to install Zoom and join meeting on mobile (iOS) device iPad or iPhone

Step by step Install video:

Install plus join a meeting on iPhone or iPad

How to install Zoom on Android:

A detailed video that explains very well how to fix problems with your camera. Most of his PC explanations apply to Macs as well.

Joining & Configuring Audio & Video in a computer – 2 minutes. (This looks different in an mobile device, there it is on top of the screen):

Great Video for zoom hosts or meeting organizers

This is the best (zoom made) 10-minute video in my book that spells it out very well.  It assumes you are familiar with zoom already. If not consult the videos above first. Every host and Co-host should watch this as a zoom 101 pre-requisite.

Meeting Controls (zoom):

Virtual Backgrounds in zoom

Virtual backgrounds are all the rage. If you do not have a free/paid zoom account you can not use virtual backgrounds.

Virtual backgrounds only work well if you have at least an i7 processor or faster computer, or they may make you look rather silly. This video below is made by zoom. Check the technical requirements on the zoom page. While it might be fun to play with it, make sure this is the image of you, you want to present to others (especially if you use and older computer and Scotty beams you in and out a lot)


NOTE: Basic Zoom accounts are free. A free account is more than enough for most people, especially if you only participate in zoom meetings. If you decide not to get a free zoom account keep in mind: There are option how to view the participants during a meeting that are not available for you if you don’t have a zoom account (even if others in the meeting may try to help you view that, since they have a free account).


There are hundreds of zoom videos out there. If you find one that explains it better or fills a gap we did not address please let us know, so we can add it to the collection.

But there is even more:

This is an easy first fix: Do yourself a favor and turn off your computer or iPad/tablet and turn it back on every once on a while. Ideally turn it off and let it sit for a few minutes, before turning it back on. It cleans out the memory and possibly fixes a lot of issues with your mic and camera if your iPad has been continuously on for months, please turn it off.

BUT: Please keep in mind, you chose a Passcode (4 or 6 numbers) when you turned on your iPad for the first time. You must know your Passcode to successfully access your iPad after you turn it back on. The passcode is what you may type in when you iPad has gone to sleep. (No passcode, no access, not even for the FBI).



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