Storing chat message history in Zoom App

This post was most recently updated on July 28th, 2022

It is possible for account owners or administrators to specify the length of time that chat messages are stored in the Zoom cloud and on their local devices. After the specified time frame, all messages are deleted. There will be a yellow banner displayed in your Zoom chat window if your local messages are going to be stored for one month or less, informing the other members of your account how long the messages will be stored. In case you have enabled cloud storage, you will be able to view, download, or delete the chat messages that have been stored.

There is a chance that users will delete their messages from their local device, but admins will also be able to access these messages from the cloud depending on the length of time that is set up for cloud storage retention. We can store messages for a maximum of ten years and a minimum of one day. This is the maximum amount of time that messages can be stored. A message will be stored on the cloud for a period of two years and on a local device for a period of one year by default. It is possible for both account owners and admins to change the length of time for chat storage in the settings of their accounts, which will have an effect on all users under that account.

Depending on when the message is sent, the time frame depends on when the message is received. The message will be deleted after 3 days if you decide to delete it after 3 days. Please note that this will happen whether or not the recipient’s device accepts it. Messages that you delete after 3 days will still be deleted after 3 days.

The following topics are covered in this article:

  • How to change chat message storage settings
  • Cloud storage – admin chat history tool location rules
  • Cloud storage retention rules

Prerequisites for managing chat storage history

  • An account with Zoom that is paid
  • Permissions as an account owner or administrator
  • In the role management system, you can view and edit the privilege for accessing the Chat history
  • 4.1.23108.0402 or higher is required to be used with Zoom desktop client for Windows or Mac OS
  • The Zoom mobile app is available for Android or iOS mobile devices, version 4.1.23117.0402 or higher.

How to change chat message storage settings

The amount of time that chat messages are stored can be changed in the settings.

Account

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal as an administrator with the privilege of editing account settings through the Zoom web portal.
  2. You can access Account Settings by clicking on Account Management in the navigation menu.
  3. Zoom Chat can be accessed by clicking the Zoom Chat tab.
  4. The following settings can be enabled or disabled under the Storage section by clicking the toggles next to them. In the event that you receive a verification dialog, click Enable or Disable in order to confirm the change has been made.
    • Cloud storage: All persistent chat messages are automatically saved to the cloud so that they can be accessed at any time.
    • In Zoom Cloud storage, you can specify the length of time the messages will be stored, and then click Save to save the settings. All persistent chat messages and metadata will be removed from Zoom’s server after the specified cloud retention period has expired.
      • Notes:
        • When the message is sent, the timeframe for the message to be retained will depend on the timeframe for the message to be deleted. The account admin, for example, may decide to delete all messages after 3 days if he decides to do so. In this case, the messages will be deleted 3 days after they are sent by the admin.
        • When Zoom is used for 1-on-1 chats, messages are saved to the cloud based on both parties’ minimum retention policy for cloud storage.
        • The cloud storage retention rule used by Zoom to save messages for group chats and channels is based upon the retention rule set by each member of the channel, not on the retention rule set by the channel admin. A channel admin, for example, could set a retention rule of 1 day for the communications in the channel, but if the channel member has a retention rule of 30 days, then the member will still be able to access the messages to 30 days after they were sent.
        • It should be noted that by default, cloud storage is set to two years for free users (even if they cannot access it from the admin portal).
        • In spite of the fact that this setting is turned off, messages sent offline will still be stored in the cloud for up to 7 days after they have been sent, and will automatically be deleted once they have been delivered to the intended recipient.
        • If this setting is updated, then only new messages will be subject to the new policy when it is updated. Existing messages will not be affected by this change retroactively.
        • The retention rules for cloud storage are set in master and sub accounts independently, so you don’t have to configure them manually if you have master and sub accounts.
      • Allowing third-party cloud storage to be used as a backup method for files within channels (available only at the account level):
      •  There are two ways you can back up your files: using Zoom Cloud or by integrating with SharePoint or Box.
    • (Excluding personal channels), Zoom Chat messages will be retained locally for a period of time as follows:
    • Once the specified retention period has expired, all persistent chat messages and metadata on the local device will be automatically removed. As long as the device is on the local network, the attachments will still be saved locally. Click on the Save button to save the messages to the desktop or mobile device that is running Zoom for a specified time period.
      Notes:

      • It is important to note that this setting only applies to internal users that are assigned to the account admin. External users will not be affected by the change as they will be able to chat with internal users in channels or groups that are owned by the internal user, even if the external users are chatting with internal users.
      • The new policy will apply as soon as this setting is updated, regardless of whether messages have already been sent or not.
    • You can store the revisions of messages that have been edited or deleted (available only at the account level): Edited/deleted messages can then be stored in the cloud along with the original version of the message. The Zoom web portal gives you the ability to view, download, and delete stored messages in real time.
    • Note:This option can only be viewed if you have enabled Cloud Storage in your account.
    • Third party archiving: With the help of a third-party archive service, messages and files can be backed up and archived.
  5. The lock icon can be clicked next to a setting if you want to prevent all users in your account from changing it, and then click the Lock button to confirm that you want to prevent all users from changing it.

The chat messages that are saved in the cloud can be viewed, downloaded, or deleted if you enable cloud storage.

Group

Important: The migration of the New Admin Experience and its enabling on all accounts is scheduled to begin on June 1, 2022, by our engineering team. We will not experience downtime during the migration process, but you should be aware that the day you will be able to make use of the New Admin Experience may vary. The owner of your account will receive an email once the process has been completed. It has been decided that IM Groups have been merged with User Groups, and therefore now appear as Groups in the new Admin Experience. This article should only be followed if you have not yet enabled the New Admin Experience on your account yet, and you are unable to login. Follow the instructions in the updated article on user groups if it has been enabled.

  1. Ensure you are logged in as an administrator with permission to edit groups on the Zoom web portal.
  2. Click on User Management in the navigation menu, then select Groups in the drop-down menu.
  3. On the list of groups, click the name of the group that applies to your situation.
  4. The Zoom Chat tab will appear when you click on it.
  5. It is possible to enable or disable the following storage settings by clicking the toggles next to them under Storage. It is important to verify the change by clicking either Enable or Disable if the verification dialog appears as shown below. A grayed out option means that it has been locked at the account level, and must therefore be changed at the account level if it was grayed out.
    • Third party archiving: A third-party archiving service is a good way to archive your messages and files.
    • Cloud storage: As soon as a persistent chat message is sent, it will be automatically saved to the cloud.
    • Set Zoom Cloud storage retention period: Then, specify the period of time for which the messages will be stored, and click Save. All persistent chat messages and metadata will be removed from the cloud after the specified cloud retention period has ended.
    • Local storage retention for Zoom Chat messages (excluding personal channels): Once the specified retention period has expired, all persistent chat messages and their metadata will be automatically deleted on the local device. There will still be a local save for attachments on the device. Click the Save button once you’ve selected the period of time for which the messages will be stored on the desktop or mobile device running Zoom.

Cloud storage – admin chat history tool location rules

The following scenario is intended to describe how messages are stored in Zoom’s Chat History tool in the Zoom web portal if Basic users and external paid users are involved.

Note: In order for the messages to be stored within the Chat History tool, the account must have the Cloud Storage setting enabled.

Chat type Users involved Can the chat history tool be accessed by the account admin of the account that started the chat?
1-on-1 chat Two free users This is not applicable

The web portal does not allow them to access the chat history of either of them.

Channel or group chat Internal free user

External paid user

Paid user’s account admin
Channel or group chat Internal free user

External free user

External paid user

Paid user’s account admin
Channel or group chat Internal paid user

Two external free users

Paid user’s account admin
Channel or group chat Internal paid user

External paid user

Both paid users’ account admins
Channel or group chat User with a paid account on the internal network

User who has a free account on an external website

A paid user from outside the company

Both paid user’s account admins
1-on-1, channel, or group chat An employee who is paid on an internal basis

Adding an external free user to a paid user’s account so that they become an internal user of the paid user

Account administrator for the paid user

(Messages from the free user can only be viewed as long as the free user was added to the paid user’s account after the message was sent)

 

Cloud storage retention rules

As shown in the table below, chat messages are stored in the cloud for different scenarios based on how long they are stored.

Scenario Users involved and settings enabled How long are these messages being saved on the cloud?
1-on-1 chat Two free users 2 years
1-on-1 chat 1 free user

1 paid user with Cloud Storage enabled and 5 year retention period

2 years
1-on-1 chat 1 free user

1 paid user with Cloud Storage disabled

Not stored in the cloud

Note: Even when Cloud Storage is turned off, messages sent offline will be stored in the cloud for up to 7 days and auto-deleted.

1-on-1 chat 1 paid user with Cloud Storage enabled and retention period of 4 years

1 paid user with Cloud Storage enabled and retention period of 6  years

4 years
1-on-1 With a retention period of three years, the paid user will have access to the Cloud Storage service

After being added to a free account, a user later became a paid account with Cloud Storage enabled and a 5 year retention period

Before free user becomes a paid account user, the messages are saved for 2 years

After free user becomes a paid account user, all new messages are saved for 3 years

Channel or group chat Free user (channel admin)

Paid user with Cloud Storage enabled and retention period of 3 years

2 years
Channel or group chat Free user

Paid user (channel admin) with Cloud Storage enabled and retention period of 3 years

3 years
Channel or group chat Free user

Paid user with Cloud Storage enabled and retention period of 3 years

Paid user (channel admin) with Cloud Storage disabled

Not stored in the cloud

Note: Even when Cloud Storage is turned off, messages sent offline will be stored in the cloud for up to 7 days and auto-deleted.

Channel or group chat Paid user (original channel admin) with Cloud Storage enabled with retention period of 3 years

Free user (new channel admin)

Before free user becomes channel admin, the messages are saved for 3 years

After free user becomes channel admin, all new messages are saved for 2 years