You can use zoom on the road while driving, but there are some limitations and safety settings you need to be aware of…
With the rise of remote work and virtual meetings, it’s not uncommon for people to participate in Zoom calls while traveling. However, using Zoom on the road presents some unique challenges and safety concerns that must be addressed.
This article answers the most common questions about using zoom while traveling and provides some tips and solutions to minimize unreliable connections.
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Does Zoom Work on the Road?
Yes, Zoom does work on the road. We mean that literally (as in from a car) and also figuratively (as in wherever and however you travel). For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the literal answer of how Zoom works while traveling on the road.
But, real quick, we’ll answer the most common question about using Zoom on an airplane…
Can You Use Zoom on an Airplane?
Yes, sometimes. You can use Zoom on an airplane if the airline offers strong, reliable wifi and if the airline allows Zoom calls. Some airlines do not allow video chat or meetings while in-flight, and many airlines’ wifi, well, sucks.
Now, back to the main focus of the article…
How to Use Zoom If You Have Spotty Cell Service
Most road warriors rely on cell service and cellular hotspots to keep them online. Those get the job done most of the time, but only if you’re in an area with a strong enough cell signal.
The further you travel from metropolitan areas, the more spotty your cell service becomes. And then there are the times when your signal cuts out for seemingly no reason.
In weak signal areas, you can often still make a phone call or text. But once you try to get online or use an app like Zoom, you’ll not have enough bandwidth.
Is Hotspot Good Enough for Zoom?
Hotspot can be good enough for Zoom if you have a strong enough cell signal. Remember, a hotspot is only as strong as your cell signal. So, Zoom will not work well (or at all) in remote locations or places with spotty cell service.
There are three main solutions for using Zoom on the road when cell service is uncertain. These solutions can minimize or overcome spotty cell service (and thus enable you to use Zoom more reliably):
- Use a portable cell phone booster
- Use a portable hotspot device separate from your phone
- Bring portable Internet with you (However, we’ve yet to find one we’re willing to recommend. You can see our disappointments with Starlink and Nomad Internet)
(Having bad or no internet is one of the 3 Big Cons of Working While Traveling. You can click on that link to learn more about the other 2 and the solutions to overcome them.)
Can You Zoom While Driving? (Should You?!)
Yes, you can use Zoom while driving, but you should never use video when you do. If you must use Zoom while driving, you should treat it just like you do a hands-free voice call. Turn off the video and use audio-only hands-free.
Or, better yet, activate Safe Driving Mode in the Zoom app…
(NOTE: The safest option is to pull over and conduct your meeting from a safe parking space)
Zoom Safe Driving Mode
Zoom has a Safe Driving Mode that automatically stops your video and mutes your microphone during the meeting. You simply “swipe right” to enter Safe Driving Mode and “swipe left” to exit it.
To talk, you tap the “Tap to Speak” icon that is prominently displayed while in Safe Driving Mode. Since you have to tap to speak, it’s safest to have your phone on a dash mount within easy reach.
Can You Use Zoom with CarPlay?
Most newer vehicles are CarPlay compatible, which enables a car’s radio or head unit to be a display and controller for an iOS device. Essentially, it links your phone to your car, so you can control your phone and use its features through your car’s infotainment system (a.k.a. Dash display).
When you have Zoom with CarPlay enabled, you can use your car’s touchscreen, buttons, or voice control to join and participate in Zoom meetings. This can be especially useful if you’re on the road and need to attend a meeting.
How to Use Zoom with CarPlay
If you have a car with CarPlay support and an iPhone with the Zoom app installed, you can use Zoom through your car’s infotainment system. Here’s what you need to do to use Zoom with CarPlay:
(Safety Note: If you do not have a passenger, steps 1-6 should be done while parked.)
- Connect your iPhone to your car’s infotainment system using CarPlay.
- Once connected, you should see the Zoom app icon on the CarPlay interface.
- Launch the Zoom app.
- Enter the meeting ID and password.
- Join the meeting.
- Use the car’s touchscreen to navigate through the meeting interface.
- Use the car’s microphone and speakers to communicate with other meeting participants.
It’s worth noting that using Zoom with CarPlay is only recommended if you’re not driving, as it can be distracting and dangerous to try to participate in a meeting while driving.
Spotty Service is 1 of 3 Big Cons of Working While Traveling
In another article, we address the 3 Big Cons of Working While Traveling and provide solutions for overcoming them. Here’s a quick summary…
Con #1: Bad (or No) Internet
We addressed the solutions in this article, but there are two other cons that likely effect you if you work on the go.
Con #2: No Designated Workspace
Solutions: invest in a mobile office bag, travel organizers, or car desk.
Con #3: Distractions
Solutions: use noise-canceling headphones, use a scheduling and focus app, or invest in a focus-supporting product.
To learn more about these cons and solutions for working while traveling, read the full article.
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