Disable Zoom Chat

The chat feature on Zoom can sometimes be useful – potentially for sharing links with others – but it can also be distracting when presenting. Getting a flashing notification can interrupt the flow of a presentation, and allowing others to share messages when you are presenting can lead to side-conversations. Learn how to temporarily and permanently disable the chat feature. 

Settings for restricting Zoom chat

There are four possible settings for who participants within the call are able to chat with:

  • No one: The best option if you avoid any possibility of distractions
  • The host only: Potentially useful to allow students to share key information with you (although also potentially distracting)
  • Everyone publicly: If you are happy to have a side conversation when presenting, this is a good option
  • Everyone publicly and privately: The most open setting – there is plausible benefits from allowing them to chat during the presentation, but it may also be distracting for both the instigator and receiver of chat messages.
Keep in mind though, that even if you disable chat, it is possible that students will have a separate chat application or email open – if they are already used to chatting on Zoom, changing these settings may just divert the conversation to a different location. 

Restricting Zoom chat

Depending on your preferences for use of chat within the class, it is possible to restrict the usage of chat within the Zoom call. This can either be achieved temporarily (i.e., for a specific call) from within the Zoom app, or on a permanent basis from within the Zoom website settings. 

Temporarily disabling chat from within Zoom app

 To make changes to this setting:

  1. First, click the ‘Chat’ button on the meeting control bar
  2. Click the ‘…’ button for additional options
  3. Select between any of the options for who participants in the call are able to chat with. 
Restricting the chat function from within a Zoom call

Permanently restricting chat from the online settings

To permanently restrict the ability of students to send chat messages, first log into Zoom, click on Settings (1), with the options available under the Meeting tab (2). 

How to access the settings to disable Zoom's chat permanently

Under the section ‘In meeting (Basic)’ it is then possible to both 1) restrict the ability of students to send public chat (disabling the option for ‘Everyone Publically’ above) or to 2) restrict student ability to send chats privately to one another (disabling the option for ‘Everyone Publicly and Privately’ above).

Settings for disabling chat from within Zoom's online settings

If the options can’t be toggled, your institution has permanently locked the setting, preventing it from being adjusted within the online interface (although it can still be temporarily changed within the Zoom app).

Note: If you wish to restrict the ability of students to message the host, you will need to make this selection from within the Zoom app. 

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