Need to Know How to Mute a Zoom Meeting? Follow These Steps.
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Need to Know How to Mute a Zoom Meeting? Follow These Steps.

Jan 27, 2022

Sometimes, you need to mute yourself temporarily or permanently mute someone with poor virtual meeting etiquette. It might seem like a simple task, but it’s easy to accidentally mute yourself so no one can hear you or even to mute all of the participants!

Here’s everything you need to know about how to mute a Zoom meeting, as well as a few related keyboard shortcuts you can use on Windows, Mac, and other devices.

Why should you mute a Zoom meeting?

How to mute a Zoom meeting: Muppets on Zoom

First off, why would you want to mute a Zoom meeting in the first place? Shouldn’t you be hanging on every word that your colleagues have to say and taking notes? We can think of a few reasons why you might want to mute yourself or other participants:

  • Too much background noise: If everyone has their microphone on, it can be hard to hear what individual speakers are saying or even tell who’s speaking. Ideally, all meeting participants will mute themselves when they aren’t talking, but this isn’t always an option. Learn how to sound good on Zoom even when your microphone is on, to avoid annoying your fellow participants.
  • Disruptive participants: Maybe you’re hosting a Zoom call or webinar that’s open to the public, but you don’t want to allow participants to talk over the host or disrupt the format. As the meeting facilitator, you can use the mute option to override participants’ audio settings and mute or unmute each speaker individually.
  • Multitasking: Not every Zoom meeting demands your full attention. When a meeting isn’t relevant to you, you might decide to do other things, like type a response to an email or eat a meal. (We promise we won’t tell your boss!) Knowing how to mute Zoom while still hearing other participants makes it easy to switch between multiple tasks and work from home more productively.

How to mute yourself, someone else, or the full meeting

The steps for muting a Zoom meeting are a little different depending on whether you’re using Zoom’s desktop software or the mobile app. Fortunately, Zoom makes it easy by offering a mute button and keyboard shortcuts for a Mac, Windows, and Linux computer.

Here’s how to mute a Zoom meeting without committing a virtual meeting faux pas (you don’t want to play your Spotify playlist for the entire office!).

How to mute yourself

Your first option is to change the settings on your Zoom account so that you’re already muted when you enter a meeting. Simply go into your Audio settings, select “Mute my microphone when joining a meeting”, and you’ll be muted in meetings by default.

You can also turn on this setting for individual meetings by choosing “Do not connect to audio” when you join a new meeting. Then, you can press the unmute button when you’re ready to talk. (“Turn off my video” is also an option if you want to do the same thing for your video feed.)

But how do you mute and unmute yourself once you’re in a meeting? That’s easy: Just click on the microphone icon at the bottom of the screen. This icon appears on every Zoom app, including the desktop, iPhone, iPad, and Android apps:

Screenshot of Zoom mute button

Zoom also offers a “push-to-talk” feature on some devices that you can access in the audio settings. Just select the “Press and hold SPACE key to temporarily unmute yourself” and press the space bar when you want to speak.

Once you know how to mute yourself, you’ll be able to play music, take phone calls, and run the espresso machine without disturbing your colleagues!

How to mute another participant

Host muting participants during a game

The next thing you need to know about how to mute a Zoom meeting is how to mute participants. However, keep in mind you can only do this if you’re the host or co-host of the meeting.

The easiest way is to hover over the participant’s video feed or right-click on it to see a pop-up menu. Then, click “Mute audio” to turn their audio off.

You’ll do the reverse steps when you’re ready to unmute them. They’ll get a notification saying that the host would like to unmute them.

The other option is to click on “Manage participants” to see a list of everyone who’s on the Zoom call. You’ll see the word “Mute” or a microphone icon near each participant’s name, and you can click on it to mute or unmute them.

Screenshot of Zoom participants buttons

There’s also the option to “Mute All” or “Unmute All” at the bottom of the screen, which is useful if you’re hosting a webinar or Q&A session and don’t want participants to speak out of turn.

You can also select “Mute all participants when they join a meeting” option in Zoom’s meeting settings:

How to mute a Zoom meeting: Zoom meeting settings

Everyone will be muted by default, so participants will need to click on the “Raise Hand” button to let you know they want to speak.

How to mute a Zoom meeting entirely

Man letting participants know they're muted

There’s one more way to mute a Zoom meeting that’s especially useful for participants who don’t have admin controls. Have you ever been in a virtual meeting that got a little out of hand and you just needed a breather?

Maybe you want to stay on the call while you wind down with some relaxing music or tune into your favorite podcast. (Hey, we’re not here to judge!) How do you mute a Zoom meeting without turning off the other audio output too? That depends on whether you use a Mac or a PC.

Windows makes it easy: Just right-click on the speaker icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen and open the Volume Mixer. Then, you can use the slider to raise and lower the volume of individual apps, including Zoom.

windows volume mixer

It’s a little trickier on a Mac. One option is to select “Leave Computer Audio,” which means that Zoom will no longer play over your computer speakers.

The facilitator will see that you’ve chosen this option, though, so it’s not a good way to mute Zoom without calling attention to yourself! A better option is to connect the Zoom feed to your headphones and the computer audio to your speakers (or vice versa), so you can turn down one without affecting the other.

Let Anchor AI listen in and take notes

How to mute a Zoom meeting: Pig taking notes

It’s easy to mute yourself in a Zoom meeting by clicking on the microphone icon, but muting other participants and muting the entire meeting takes a little more know-how. The best way to do it will depend on which app and operating system you’re using.

If you’re worried about missing something in your Zoom meeting while you’re figuring out the tech, why not use an automated tool like Anchor AI to take notes during your meeting for you?

Anchor AI uses artificial intelligence to provide a searchable, time-stamped transcript of your Zoom call. Learn more about how it works, or sign up for Anchor AI today!

If you want to learn more about Zoom, check out our articles on how to create a Zoom meeting and how to record a Zoom meeting.

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