How to Enable Breakout Rooms on Zoom

In 2020, Zoom has managed to become something of a household name. It is currently one of the best remote video conferencing apps on the market. It comes with a wide variety of functions that help to make the video meeting experience as close as possible to an in-person get-together, thanks to features such as the ability to raise hands during the meeting and place guests in waiting rooms.

How to Enable Breakout Rooms on Zoom

The breakout room feature, however, is one of the lesser-known benefits of Zoom. This feature allows meeting attendees to be separated into smaller groups, where they can have private conversations amongst themselves. If you are not using this feature, you might be missing out on a lot.

How Breakout Rooms Work

The breakout rooms can be created at any time and members can return to the larger meeting at any point, just like in real life. The maximum number of breakout rooms in a single meeting is 50, which should be more than sufficient.

Breakout rooms can be created via the Zoom website or desktop app on Windows, Mac, and Chromebook computers.

How to Enable Breakout Rooms on Zoom from a Windows 10, Mac, or Chromebook PC

In order to enable the breakout room function, you first need to visit the Zoom website (this can not be done via the app). You must be the host to create breakout rooms.

  1. Once you are on Zoom’s website, sign in using your Zoom credentials.
  2. In the panel to the left, under Personal, select Settings.
  3. Under the Meeting tab, In Meeting (Advanced).
  4. Click the switch next to the Breakout room entry to turn it on.
  5. To enable pre-scheduling for breakout rooms, click the checkbox below.
  6. Open the Zoom app on your Mac or PC. You can also use the web app across all desktop/laptop devices.
  7. Go to New Meeting or select Schedule.
  8. The moment the meeting begins, you should see the Breakout Rooms button. Click this button.
  9. Choose whether you want the app to sort the participants automatically into the designated number of rooms, or if you would like to do your own sorting manually.
  10. To finalize breakout room creation, click Create Breakout Rooms.

How to Enable Breakout Rooms on Zoom from iOS/Android Devices

Unfortunately, you can only create breakout rooms via the desktop browser. It is possible to sign into Zoom on your phone/tablet using your browser in desktop mode, but some people may find this complicated and frustrating.

This does not mean that you can not participate in and be assigned to a breakout room if you are using your phone/tablet. If the host assigns you to the breakout room, you will be able to chat with the other participants within it.

Managing Breakout Rooms

Once the breakout rooms are created, you will see a dialogue box appear showing all the rooms. To see who is in the room, click it. To rename, delete, or move a room, or to reassign people to a different room, hover over the room in question.

By clicking the Options button, you will get access to various settings. In this menu, you can choose when to close a breakout room, as well as assign privileges to breakout room participants. You can set up a countdown timer so that the participants know how long the breakout session is going to last.

To officially begin all the designated breakout sessions, click Open All Rooms. If you select Recreate Rooms, Zoom will shuffle the meeting attendees in the pre-selected order.

Breakout Room Activities

Now that you know how to use the breakout rooms feature, let us get into the nitty-gritty of it. Why use breakout rooms in the first place? How do they help your agenda? It might first help to understand that breakout rooms can be used for certain activities. Here are a couple of examples.


In a big meeting room, having everyone making their own introduction and answering the icebreaker question can be lengthy, tedious, and anxiety-producing. But putting a smaller group of 2-3 people in a breakout room and having them share their name, organization, and the icebreaker question can be much less intimidating and time-consuming.

“Speed Dating”

Arranging the meeting participants into groups of two can be a fun activity for networking. Using the breakout rooms feature, you can set the number of people per room (two in this case) and set the timer. Similar to speed dating, when the bell goes off, you rearrange the participants in the rooms. Do this a couple of times so that everyone gets the chance to meet and talk with each other.


If there’s a particular agenda for the meeting and if you’re trying to solve a problem, separating people into smaller groups and prompting them to solve the problem can bring free-flowing ideas to the table. This will likely boost your team’s productivity. You can shuffle the groups a couple of times if you like.

Additional FAQs

1. Are Zoom breakout rooms free?

Yes, the breakout rooms feature is free for all accounts. You don’t have to be a paying Zoom subscriber to create and manage breakout rooms. However, bear in mind that the meeting host is the only person who can create and manage breakout rooms. Additionally, the host can only create and manage breakout rooms if they’re using a computer.

2. Can the breakout room video be recorded?

As is the case with the entire meeting, you need to get permission from the host if you want to record a breakout room session. To allow recording, the host needs to join a breakout room. Once everything is granted and enabled, all you need to do in order to record a breakout room session is click the Record button in the meeting controls section. Additionally, you need to enable recording on your Zoom account first.

3. How do I assign specific participants to a breakout room?

In the meeting scheduling screen or once the meeting starts, click Create Rooms. Feel free to add and rename the room names. Select a breakout room and navigate to the Add participants box. Type in a participant’s email address or name to add them. Do this for all specific participants you want to add to a breakout room.

Breakout Rooms in Zoom

Breakout rooms are a useful feature for your Zoom meetings. Many people may be neglecting this function. Don’t miss out on this special feature that can help make your remote meetings more productive, fun, and much less awkward.

Have you managed to do everything you wanted with breakout rooms? Do you have any additional questions or tips? Don’t be a stranger. Hit the comments below and join in on the discussion.

2 thoughts on “How to Enable Breakout Rooms on Zoom”

Patricia Lafferty says:
We are finding that on Chromebooks, with “Allow Private Chat” turned off in the host’s Zoom settings but with the in-meeting chat set to allow chat with everyone, those on Chromebooks in breakout rooms cannot send a specific chat. While the specific person appears in the dropdown as available, the message goes nowhere when sent. Those in the breakout room on a non-Chromebook can successfully send the individual message.
Ragda Omer says:
This was very helpful.

Comments are closed.

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