Image: iStock/AndreyPopov

You want to be able to prevent unwanted visitors from barging in on one of your Zoom meetings. One option is to lock the meeting. When you lock a meeting, the visitor receives a notification telling them that it’s locked. If necessary, you can easily unlock an existing meeting to allow latecomers to participate. Here’s how it works.

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Before you schedule or start your Zoom meeting, alert all potential participants that the meeting will be locked at a certain point, such as 10 minutes after it has started. This way, they know that people who are late won’t be able to join.

Start your Zoom meeting. Set up any security requirements you wish. For example, enable a waiting room to check a meeting participant before allowing them to join. After all the valid participants have joined, you can lock the meeting so that no one else can hop onboard. To do this, click on the Security button and select Lock Meeting (Figure A).

Figure A

Now, let’s say someone else tries to join, either an unwanted stranger or a person who was supposed to attend the meeting but has arrived late. After entering the meeting ID and passcode, that person will receive a message on the screen saying: “Unable to join this meeting. Host has locked the meeting.” (Figure B).

Figure B

The downside with locking a Zoom meeting is that you’re unable to see the names of anyone who tries to join the meeting to determine whether or not they’re a legitimate participant. This means that locking the meeting may be less practical than using a waiting room where you can view and approve each attendee. In this case, the only option for someone locked out of the meeting is to contact the host to see if it can be unlocked so that they can join. Otherwise, the person won’t be able to participate.

To unlock a meeting, click the Security button and uncheck the option for Lock Meeting (Figure C).

Figure C

You’ll then need to call or email the latecomer to inform them that the meeting is now accessible for them. Afterwards, you can again lock the meeting.