Note: there is a 40-minute time limit on Zoom meetings with more than 2 participants. The limit does not apply to using Zoom for recording lectures/presentations or 1-on-1 meetings.


Local recording is available to free and paid subscribers. Local recording allows users to record meeting video and audio locally to a computer. The recorded files can be uploaded to a file storage service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or a streaming service like YouTube or Vimeo.

Note: Local recording is not supported on iOS and Android. See cloud recording for paid accounts if you are using a mobile device.

Starting a Local Recording

The host must record the meeting or grant the ability to record to a participant.

  1. Start a Zoom meeting as the host.
  2. Click the option to Record.
  3. If there is a menu, select Record on this Computer.
    Hosts will see the following recording indicator in the top-left corner while recording is active.Participants will see the following indicator in the top-left corner while the recording is active.
  4. Click Participants to see which users are currently recording.
    Note: Dial-in participants will hear a message informing them that the meeting is now being recorded unless disabled by the host.
  5. After the meeting has ended, Zoom will convert the recording so you can access the files.
  6. Once the conversion process is complete, the folder containing the recording files will open.
    Note: By default, the audio/video file (MP4) will be named Zoom_0.mp4. The audio only file (M4A) is named audio_only.m4a.


  • If the meeting unexpectedly shuts down or if the conversion process is interrupted, the recording files could become corrupted and non-recoverable. Restarting or shutting down your computer, putting the hard disk to sleep, or closing your laptop will interrupt the conversion process.
  • If the conversion process is not successful after the meeting has ended, you can try to convert the files again by navigating to the recording location and double clicking the recording files.
  • You can record the meeting in different layouts including active speaker, gallery view, and shared screen. Learn more about recording layouts.

Stopping or Pausing a Local Recording

During a Zoom recording, a user can Stop or Pause the recording. If a user stops the recording and starts it again, a new video file will be created for the next recording segment. If a user pauses the recording and starts it again, Zoom will record to the same video file for the recording segment.

  1. After a recording has been started, click Pause or Stop Recording at the bottom.
    The recording can also be stopped or paused by clicking the indicator in the top left corner.
  2. When a recording is paused, the following indicator will be displayed in the meeting.
  3. To resume the recording, click Resume Recording at the bottom
    The recording can also be resumed by clicking the indicator in the top left corner.

Assigning Recording Privileges to a Participant

  1. In a Zoom Meeting click on Manage Participants.
  2. In the Participants menu navigate to the user who will be granted recording privileges.
    Click More next to their name.
  3. Select the option to Allow Record.
    The participant will receive the following notification:
  4. When a participant is recording, the participant menu will display a recording icon next to the user's name.
  5. To disable the participant's ability to record, click More next to the name, then click Forbid Record.
    The participant will receive the following notification:


Accessing Local Recording Files

By default, all recordings will be placed in a Zoom folder found in the following file path on these devices:

  • PC: C:\Users\User Name\Documents\Zoom
  • Mac: /Users/User Name/Documents/Zoom

To access recording files:

  1. Open the Zoom desktop client and click Meetings.
  2. Click the Recorded tab and select the meeting with a local recording.
    • If you have a local recording that hasn't been converted to a video file yet, click Convert to convert the recording to a video file and display the options below.
    • If you only see the Open option, it means the recording is a cloud recording.
  3. You can access these options to manage your local recordings:
    • Open: Open the folder that contains the recording files.
    • Play Video: Play the recorded meeting using your computer's default media player.
    • Play Audio: Play the recorded meeting audio with your computer's default media player.
    • Delete: Remove the meeting from the recording list on the Zoom client. This does not delete it from the computer.
    • Refresh icon : Refresh the recording list if you don't see your recording.
  4. (Optional) Follow the steps to share a local recording if you want others to see your recording.

Note: If there are issues opening or playing the file, check the default recording location and ensure the files are in the correct place.

Recording File Formats

Zoom recordings use the following file formats:

  • MP4: Audio/Video file that is named zoom_0.mp4 by default. Each subsequent recording is in sequential order: zoom_0, zoom_1, zoom_2, etc.
  • M4A: Audio-only file that is named audio_only.m4a by default. Each subsequent recording is in sequential order: audio_only_0,audio_only_1, etc.
  • M3U: Playlist file to play all individual MP4 files (Windows only). Named playback.m3u by default.
  • TXT: Text file that is named chat.txt by default. This file contains the in-meeting chat messages.

Note: Screen sharing recording uses about 20MB of storage per hour while video recording uses about 200MB of storage an hour. This is an approximation, since the resolution and types of video or screen sharing content could change the amount of storage used.

Changing Local Recording Settings

To change local recording settings in the Zoom client:

  1. Open the Zoom client and click Settings.
  2. Click the Recording tab.
    This will open your recording options that you can change using the client.

    Note: Setting the default location to a cloud syncing folder (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or One Drive), an external drive, or network storage device may cause issues with saving and converting the local recording. Zoom strongly recommends keeping the default location on a local drive for recordings.

Recording Multiple Audio Files

When recording locally, the host can record all participants' audio streams as separate audio files, one file for each participant. To enable this option:

  1. Open the Zoom client and click Settings.
  2. Click the Recording tab.
  3. Enable Record a seperate audio file for each participant.
  4. Record and save the meeting to your computer.
  5. Once the meeting is over and the recording has processed, open the recording folder. 
  6. Within the folder, open Audio Record.
  7. Once in the Audio Record folder, each participant's audio track will be listed as its own file in with the file name ending in the participant's name.