How to Use focus mode in Zoom App during digital learning

This post was most recently updated on July 22nd, 2022

Using focus mode

Students can focus on their tasks in Focus mode without being distracted by other students and their tasks, which is ideal for students working in an online learning environment, where they need to remain attentive or focused on their tasks while under supervision. By means of this feature, the Co-Hosts and the Host are able to view all the videos of the participants without everyone else being able to see one another’s videos. In addition, screensharing has several benefits, since the host, co-host, and participants are able to see and interact with each other’s shared screen, and also view their own content, while the host and co-host can view each other’s screens. The host is in a position to easily share the participants’ screen with others if they feel the content of a particular participant should be shared with others.

Aside from the host, co-hosts, and participants highlighted by the host, there are still participants in focus mode who are able to see their own video but can only see the names of other participants, hear their non-verbal feedback or reactions, and see their videos and audio when unmuted.

In addition to scheduling meetings with focus mode, hosts can also rely on the next-generation scheduling system to begin the meeting automatically with focus mode turned on.

Prerequisites for focus mode in a Zoom meeting

In a Zoom meeting, use the focus mode to keep your attention

  • As the meeting host, start the meeting
  • with the Zoom desktop application
    • that is compatible with Windows versions 5.7.3 and higher
    • as well as Mac OS X versions 5.7.3 and above
  • that are compatible with the Zoom mobile application
    • for Android versions 5.7.6 and above
    • and for iOS versions 5.7.6 and above

Notes:

  • In older clients versions, focus mode is still in effect (their videos aren’t visible to everyone, and the host can only see their videos and the shared content), but participants won’t receive notifications regarding it. If you want to initiate Focus mode, you need to have the required version of the desktop client on the host.
  • Zoom Rooms can also be used to initiate focus mode in addition to the desktop client and mobile apps.

Schedule meetings with focus mode on

  • This is the desktop client for Zoom
    • software for Windows versions 5.9.0 and up
    • as well as Mac OS versions 5.9.0 and up
    • as well as Linux versions 5.9.0 and up
  • as well as the Zoom mobile application
    • for Android versions 5.9.0 and higher
    • as well as the Zoom mobile application for iOS versions 5.9.0 and higher

How to enable focus mode

Account

For all users in your account to be able to use Focus mode, follow these steps:

  1. For this to work, you need to be logged into the Zoom web portal as an administrator to be able to access and edit account settings.
  2. Click Account Management at the top of the navigation menu, then click Account Settings to access account settings.
  3. The Meeting tab will appear.
  4. To enable or disable the Focus Mode, click the toggle button under In Meeting (Advanced).
  5. To verify that the change has been made, click on Enable or Disable if a verification dialog appears.
  6. The option to enable focus mode when scheduling can be selected by selecting the check box next to that option, then clicking Save. Users have the option to schedule focus mode meetings so that they automatically start whenever the meeting is about to begin, which will help to provide fewer distractions for all meeting participants.
  7. Click the lock icon , and the Lock icon will appear, but you will need to click Lock before you can make this setting mandatory for all users in your account.

Group

Note:

In order to use your Zoom account, you must have created a new one after August 21, 2021; or activate the New Admin Experience on your account in order to access the Group Management page.

A group of users can be enabled or disabled from using the Focus mode by using the following command:

  1. As an admin, one with the privileges to edit groups, one needs to log in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. You can do this by clicking on the User Management tab and then Group Management tab.
  3. Once the Group Management tab appears, you will need to click on the appropriate group.
  4. Next, you will want to click on Meetings.
  5. To enable or disable focus mode, click the Focus Mode toggle under In Meeting (Advanced).
  6. To verify that the change has been made, click Enable or Disable if a verification dialog appears.
    There is a slight chance the option you have selected depends on your account level and if that level is grayed out, the option needs to be changed there.
  7. Then under the section Allow host to enable focus mode while scheduling (optional), you should select the check box. By using this option, users are able to schedule meetings to start automatically in focus mode at the beginning of a scheduled meeting, in order to minimize distractions for all meeting participants.
  8. (Optional) if you want to make this setting mandatory for all users in the group, you need to click on the lock icon, click on Lock, and then click Confirm setting to confirm it.

User

Focus mode can be enabled or disabled for your own use by following the steps below:

  1. Login to the Zoom portal by using your email and password.
  2. Click on the Settings link from the navigation bar.
  3. Navigate to the Meetings section.
  4. You can turn on or off the Focus Mode by clicking the toggle next to the In Meeting (Advanced) section.
  5. To verify that the change has been made, a confirmation dialog will appear. Click Enable to confirm the change.
    Note:
  6.  When the option appears greyed out, it has been set to lock at the account or group level, and the setting must be changed at that level.
  7. (Optional) If you would like to enable focus mode when rescheduling, please check the box next to Allow host to use focus mode in scheduling. By using this option, you can schedule meetings to automatically start in focus mode when they start, thereby providing all participants with fewer distractions when they attend a meeting.

How to use focus mode in a meeting

Windows | macOS

Participate in a meeting in a focused manner as either the host or cohost

  1. It is a good idea to start a meeting as the host or co-host.
  2. Click the More button on the meeting toolbar.
  3. Click the Start Focus Mode button.
  4. In order to confirm, click Start – or you can select the Don’t ask me again check box if you wish to skip this step in the future.
  5. A banner is displayed at the top of the video window informing you and the participants when the Focus mode is active. Moreover, when focused mode has been activated, the focus mode icon is always displayed at the top-left corner of the video window, next to the encryption icon.

The focus mode will be enabled once the host and any co-hosts are known, and participants will only see video of the host and any spotlighted participants and their own video after the focus mode has been initiated. The participants are only able to view the names and comments of other participants, as well as to hear them when unmuted.

In this tutorial, the host and co-hosts will be the only people who can see the shared screens of the participants on the webinar, but the host can grant access to all other participants as well:

  1. Please click on the arrow to the right of Share Screen to proceed.
  2. You can see all shared screens by selecting All participants from the section Shared screens can be viewed by.
  3. The host or cohost can select Host only if they want to return to the shared content being viewed only by them.
    Please note that these options are only available when the host or cohost is focused.

Turn off the focus mode

  1. Click on the More button in the meeting toolbar.
  2. Click on the Stop Focus Mode button.

Android | iOS

Focus mode examples

The following examples demonstrate the use of Focus mode during a meeting. The first thing you see is what the hosts and cohosts are seeing during Focus mode. The second is what a participant sees during Focus mode.

Host view:

When a member of the audience is highlighted, their view will be as follows: