Can Zoom See If You Screenshot?


With COVID accelerating our use of online spaces, we all find ourselves trying to navigate this virtual world. The use of apps, such as Zoom, as classrooms has skyrocketed, but with our new digital classrooms comes a whole bunch of new rules and, of course, ways to break them. Most educational institutions request that screenshots of lessons not be taken in order to maintain the integrity of the information, but really who has time to pay attention to every class and take down all those notes? It’s so much easier to click a button and have those crucial slides safely stored on your device for later use. However, nobody wants to get caught for taking a sneaky screenshot or two, so it’s good to know if your teacher is being made aware of the screenshots you are taking.

Zoom is not able to see if you take a screenshot. It is only able to detect when the recording feature is being used. There is no feature on Zoom that monitors screenshots, but even if there was, you could use other software that Zoom would not detect or just take a photo with your phone.

Does The Zoom Host Know When You Take A Screenshot?

Although Zoom offers the option to take a screenshot through the app, it has no way of detecting whether or not you have done so. Zoom would require a built-in setting to be able to detect screenshots, which it does not have. Therefore even if you are using the Zoom app to take screenshots, the meeting host will not be notified and other participants will be none the wiser.

Even if Zoom were to incorporate screenshot detection into their app, several other external software programs are available for taking screenshots that Zoom would not be able to detect.

  • Greenshot is free to download, which makes it an excellent option for cash-strapped students. It offers all the basic features of a screenshot program, allowing you to grab specific areas, full screens and even web pages.
  • Snagit offers a free trial, but you will need to purchase the program if you want all the features. It has a more extensive offering enabling you to alter and add to screenshots once you have captured them and a broader platform to save and share them. It has a number of other nifty features for altering and adding to your screenshots.
  • Windows Snipping Tool is a program already installed as part of the Windows 10 package. It’s a reasonably basic screenshot tool that allows you to take portioned or full screenshots. It has some simple features that enable you to make rudimentary changes to your screenshots and share, save or print them. If you already have Windows on your computer, then this is probably the most accessible program.

Downloading another app or program to take screenshots may feel like too much effort. In this case, the simplest solution is to use another device such as your phone or tablet. You can either take an actual still photo of your laptop screen or, if you use your phone or tablet to access Zoom, then you can simply use the screenshot feature of the device. If you are taking an actual photo of the screen with your other device, make sure your computer camera is not turned on or the whole class, including the teacher, will be able to see what you are doing.

How Do You Take A Screenshot on Zoom?

The easiest way to make use of Zoom’s screenshot feature is the use the shortcut alt + shift + T. You must make sure the screenshot shortcut is enabled in your Zoom settings for this to be possible. When you use the shortcut, a square will come up. Use this to navigate over the area of your screen you’d like to grab. Once you have your selected area, click the capture button below.

You are also able to take screenshots in the chat feature of Zoom with the screenshot icon, but using the shortcut is a far more straightforward option.

Where Are Zoom Screenshots Saved?

You should be able to find your Zoom screenshots saved in your documents and zoom folder on your PC. If not, you can check in the zoom app under recordings to see which folder your recordings are being saved to and your screenshots should be saved in the same place.

Can Zoom See If You Record A Meeting?

Unlike screenshots that go undetected, Zoom is able to monitor whether the recording function of the app is being utilized. However, this is only applicable if using Zoom’s recording feature. Other external programs would allow you to record without Zoom being aware.

From Inside Zoom

Zoom will automatically notify all participants if a meeting is being recorded. A recording consent disclaimer will pop up for everyone if you press the record button.

You will only be able to record the session if you are the host of the Zoom meeting or the host has given permission for recordings to take place. If your lecturer doesn’t want you recording their lesson, then you won’t be able to use Zoom’s built-in recording feature. You’ll then need to look at other apps that will assist you to do so without Zoom being aware.

Third-Party Software

There are several different options available if you’d like to record your Zoom lessons incognito. These are our suggestions for you to explore. 

Legal Risks To Be Aware Of If You Share Screenshots Without Consent

When it comes to secretly taking screenshots or recordings of your Zoom lessons, no real harm is done if you keep this information for yourself as study material. However, if you share or distribute the information online or otherwise, you could find yourself in a world of legal trouble.

The content provided to you through your learning institution is under their copywrite. With the law of derivative work, any recordings of the lectures become their property too. Just as you’d be breaking the law if you gave away your neighbor’s television without their consent, so too are you breaking the law if you share any information you obtained in your online class.

When it comes to copywriting, this only pertains to written documents, not ideas discussed. However, if you share any screenshots of slides your lecturer presented, especially if you are selling these on for profit, you need to be aware that you are breaking the law and the consequences of doing so. Even though your lecturer cannot lay claim to any ideas discussed within the online lesson, as the host of the meeting, they do own any recordings or screenshots. Distributing these without consent would therefore constitute theft.

It is also likely that you have signed some kind of confidentiality document with your online educator. These contracts will explicitly prevent you from sharing any information obtained through the classes. Breaking this contract opens you to being sued.

You should also be aware that although taking screen grabs of all your online classmates seems like a fun and harmless idea, if you post these on social media or anywhere else online, you could find yourself in breach of privacy laws.

The laws around online meeting spaces are still evolving with the use of this technology becoming ever more prevalent. But for your own preservation, the best course of action is rather to avoid the risk and keep all screenshots and recordings of your online classroom to yourself.

Conclusion

It is possible to take screenshots on a Zoom call without anyone knowing or even record the whole presentation. Zoom does not have the functionality to detect screenshots, whether you are using the app’s feature or alternative programs. You are also able to use other devices to take screenshots of Zoom meetings without anyone knowing. If you use Zoom’s recording feature, then other participants and the host will be made aware that you are doing so and this is only available if the host allows it. You can, however, use third-party software to record sessions without anyone being notified. You must be aware of the legalities of sharing any recordings or screenshots of lessons online and the risks you face if you choose to do so. So screenshot away, but share with caution.

REFERENCES:

Zoom Help Center 2021, accessed 02 June 2021, > https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/202920879-Sending-a-screen-capture-file-reaction-or-audio-message<

Zoom 2021, accessed 02 June 2021, > https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360000486746-Recording-notifications#:~:text=Zoom%20will%20always%20notify%20meeting,possible%20to%20disable%20this%20notification.&text=For%20participants%20who%20joined%20audio,time%20that%20recording%20is%20started.<

Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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