Quarantine has probably hindered your work, just like it has for everyone else. Luckily, there is technology that aids us in working from home during these troubled times. Zoom is a popular platform that enables team to get together and collaborate. In this article, we talk about the advantages and the disadvantages of the platform and also include a short, easy to follow guide on how to install Zoom on your Mac and use it.
Table of Contents
What is Zoom?
As previously mentioned, Zoom allows you to communicate with others, first and foremost. During the various global lockdowns, millions have been using it to work from home and students have also been utilizing Zoom to attend their classes.
If you are a student - you, your teacher, and classmates can log into the same meeting. From there, the teacher teaches the lesson. This method is probably less effective than learning in a classroom, but certainly better than not learning at all!
Office workers can use Zoom similarly - you and your colleagues can log onto the same meeting. Additionally, people also use Zoom for non-work related tasks. Friends and family who haven't met each other in months use the platform to catch up with each other. We have even witnessed weddings being organized on Zoom, via the news!
Pros of Zoom
Zoom comes loaded with features that allow you to use the platform properly and effectively. If you're exploring video-conferencing options, the following list will help in understanding if Zoom is for you.
This is a feature that comes handy: during a meeting, you can change your background. If you don't want the meeting participants to get a view of where you are, you have a number of backgrounds to choose from. The Zoom AI perfectly crops you, just enough, so that the surroundings are not visible.
This is especially helpful if you're not a super tidy person, as the feature helps keep the fact hidden from your co-workers, classmates, and friends!
When on Zoom, you can share the screen of your Mac. This is especially useful when giving a presentation. Teachers can also use this feature when in class. However, it should be noted that all activity on your screen will be visible during this sharing session. To protect your privacy, you may want to close your notifications and other windows or apps.
Zoom also provides digital whiteboard functionality. Any member of the meeting can use this, as long as the host permits them. This allows people to share their ideas in writing during a conference.
The autonomy of the Hosts and Co-hosts is perhaps Zoom's best feature. They can mute participants if they are disruptive. Unwanted participants can also be kicked out.
Zoom has become the norm for many people and this means that almost every student and adult with a job has it installed already. Having to install a new app is otherwise a cause of major friction.
Moreover, Zoom's popularity forces the developers to roll out new updates regularly, ensuring that all bugs, if any, are fixed.
Zoom is a fantastic application, especially during these tough times. But it's not the first of its kind.
Many applications before Zoom provided the same function, but haven't gained the same level of popularity. This doesn't mean Zoom is without its flaws, which can affect your meeting big time.
It's almost crucial to understand the problems faced on Zoom before you dive in. We have listed the issues below and suggest you go through them before trying Zoom.
Pressing Security Issues
Zoom claims to provide End-To-End Encryption (E2EE) for security. However, evidence suggests otherwise.
Zoom allows for 100 participants in one meeting. This number can be increased to 1,000 in the paid version. But even a technology giant like Apple couldn't achieve E2EE with those numbers. Apple's Facetime supports 32 participants max with End-To-End Encryption. This evidence might convince you of Zoom's security issues.
E2EE is a security process in which data is encrypted at the sender's device and then decrypted at the receiver's end using a randomly generated key. With E2EE, even Zoom developers don't get access to the data. However, the developers have confessed to not providing E2EE.
Their Chief Product Officer said, "In light of recent interest in our encryption practices, we want to start by apologizing for the confusion we have caused by incorrectly suggesting that Zoom meetings were capable of using end-to-end encryption."
With meetings about data that is confidential, Zoom is probably not a great option.
Requires High Speed Internet
Another disadvantage of using Zoom is that it requires high-speed internet. The meeting will have a lot of problems if you have a low-speed internet. This issue is especially apparent when you have a lot of members. Unless you have high-speed internet for every participant, we don't recommend using Zoom.
Requires a Paid Version
The free version of Zoom offers limited features. There can only be 100 participants and the maximum time for a meeting is 40 minutes. This means if you want to hold a meeting for more than 40 minutes, then you would have to log back in. This severely hinders you workflow.
How to Install Zoom on Mac
Now that you've decided whether you want to use Zoom or not, it's time to download and install the application. The method of downloading the app is relatively straightforward and requires only requires a few steps. Here's how to do it.
- Click on the Apple logo on the top left-hand corner of the screen.
- Select "System Preference."
- Click on the "Security And Privacy."
- Locate the "Allow apps downloaded from" category.
- Make sure it's on "App Store and Identified Developers."
- Open Safari.
- Click here.
- Press on the "Download" option.
- The download will be visible on the bottom left-hand corner.
- Wait for the download to complete.
- Click on it.
- A window will open up where you have to press "Continue."
- Another window opens up, which requires you to click on "Install."
- Enter your password.
- Permit Zoom to access the files.
- Press on sign in if you have an account.
- Choose "Sign Up For Free" if you want to make an account.
How To Join a Zoom Meeting
Joining a Zoom meeting is a very simple process once you have the app installed. Here is how to do it.
- Click on the "Join Meeting option."
- A window will popup.
- Enter the meeting code and password.
- Once in the meeting, you can mute your mic by clicking on the mute option.
- You can also close your camera.
Based on the various drawbacks listed above, you may want to find an alternative to Zoom. Here are the two best competitors we suggest you should look into.
This application is highly popular amongst gamers. If you're familiar with Slack, then you'll be aware of the server system in Discord.
Essentially, there are multiple servers which are like groups that people can join. Discord beats out all other video chatting applications in terms of features. You can add "Bots" to channels that can provide you with certain features. An example of this is a bot that allows music to be played on the Voice Channel. So if you're into all that, Discord is a great option.
It may not be the best option if you are looking for a professional or corporate solution, however.
The Google Meet offering is also useful. Since Google is behind this project, there is a sense of reliability using the platform. However, similar to Zoom, Google Meet also has a total meeting time of only 60 minutes for the free version.
In terms of security, it is outmatched though. Building on Google's reputation of providing the best privacy to its users, Google Meet doesn't disappoint.
We've talked about the advantages and disadvantages of Zoom as a video-conferencing platform, from where we continued to a mini-guide on how to install and use the application on your Mac. We ended by suggesting two possible alternatives - Discord and Google Meet. I hope this article was useful.