Using focus mode in a Zoom Room

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

There is a special mode in Focus that has been designed with the purpose of maintaining student attention in a digital learning environment, allowing them to work on their tasks without being distracted by others or other students while under supervision. By using this feature, host and co-hosts will have access to all videos of all participants without having to see any of the other participants’ videos. It also applies to screen sharing, as the co-host and host can switch between the shared screen of each participant while the participant can only view their own content when they are on the screen. It is very simple for the host to share a participant’s screen with others at any time if he or she feels the participant’s content should be shared with others.

While participants in focus mode can still see their own video, although they will only be able to see the names of other participants, their nonverbal feedback or reactions, and hear them if they are unmuted, except for the host, co-hosts, and participants showcased by the host.

In this article, we will cover the following topics:

  • How to enable focus mode
    • Account
    • Specific Zoom Rooms
  • How to use focus mode in a Zoom Room
    • How to engage focus mode as the host or co-host of a meeting
    • How to end focus mode

Prerequisites for focus mode in Zoom Rooms

Notes:

  • In older client versions, participants still experience the effects of Focus mode (their videos are blanked to others, video and shared content are only visible to the host and cannot be viewed by others), but they will not see any notifications related to Focus mode. Focus mode can only be initiated by a host who is running the required version of the software.
  • As well as launching focus mode from Zoom Rooms, the desktop client as well as the mobile app can also be used to initiate focus mode.

How to enable focus mode

Account

For all users and Zoom Rooms in our account to have Focus mode enabled, we need to follow the steps below:

  1. If you are an administrator with the privilege of editing account settings, you can access the Zoom web portal by logging in as an admin.
  2. Select Account Management from the navigation panel and then click Account Settings from the Account Management panel.
  3. Select the Meeting tab on the left side of the screen.
  4. To enable or disable the Focus Mode for a meeting, you will need to click the toggle under In Meeting (Advanced).
  5. You may be prompted to verify the change by clicking Enable or Disable on a verification dialog box that displays.
    Note: In the case of a grayed out option, the account level option has been locked, and it needs to be changed at that level if it is to be changed.
  6. It is optional for you to set this setting as mandatory for every user in your account; you can do this by clicking the lock icon and then clicking Lock to confirm that you wish to make this setting mandatory.

Specific Zoom Rooms

A Zoom Room can be enabled or disabled by using the following steps:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal by entering your email address and password.
  2. You will be able to access Zoom Rooms by clicking the Room Management tab in the navigation panel.
  3. Find the Zoom Room you would like to edit and click on its name to open it.
  4. When you click on the Zoom Room name, you will be able to access the Room Settings for that Zoom Room.
  5. Go to the Meetings tab and click on it.
  6. It is possible to enable or disable the Focus Mode under In Meeting (Basic) by clicking the toggle switch next to it.
  7. A confirmation dialog will be displayed if a change has been made and you will need to click Enable or Disable to confirm it.
    Note: There is a possibility that the option has been locked at the account level, and it is therefore necessary to change it at that level if it is grayed out.

How to use focus mode in a Zoom Room

How to engage focus mode as the host or co-host of a meeting

  1. As the host or co-host of the meeting, you can start the meeting.
  2. Zoom Room Controller can be accessed by tapping More on the screen.
  3. You can start the focus mode by tapping the Start Focus Mode button.
  4. You will need to tap Start to confirm your action.
  5. As soon as Focus mode is activated, a banner appears at the top of the video window to notify you and the participants of the change. Furthermore, while focus mode is active, and you are in the video window, you will always be able to see the focus mode icon at the top-left corner, beside the encryption icon, of the video window.

When focus mode has been triggered, only the host’s video, the co-hosts’ video, and any participants spotlighted by the host will be visible to participants. Each participant will also be able to see their own video once focus mode has been initiated. If they are muted, they will only be able to see the names of the other participants, their nonverbal feedback, and hearing their nonverbal reactions.

A host and co-hosts will only be able to see the participants’ shared screens, but the host can also allow all other participants to be able to view as well:

  1. Click on the Share Screen button.
  2. Choose Advanced Sharing Options from the Sharing Options menu.
  3. The Shared screens can be viewed by section can be accessed by tapping All participants from the Shared screens menu.
  4. The host can select Host only if they do not wish to view shared content with their co-hosts.
    Note: When you are in Focus mode, you will only be able to access these options.

How to end focus mode

  1. You can do this by tapping the More button  on the Zoom Room Controller.
  2. To stop the focus mode, you need to tap the Stop Focus Mode button.