Do you have regular meetings on Zoom? Being able to record the content of your calls allows you to revisit decisions, insights, action items, and more.
It also lets you share recorded meetings with team members who couldn’t attend, or even repurpose them into training materials for new employees or clients.
Sounds good, right?
But when you press the record button and hear that “Recording now in progress” voice, do you ever wonder, “Where do these Zoom recordings go?”
If your answer is yes, read on to find out what you need to know about finding your Zoom recordings, managing them, and *another* way you can record your video calls.
What Zoom plan do you need to be on to record meetings?
You can record your meetings on Zoom regardless of what plan you’re on. But on Zoom’s free plan, you only get access to local recordings – a.k.a. recordings saved on your computer, usually as MP4 files. More on that below.
On Zoom’s Pro and Business plans, you get 1GB of cloud recording storage space per license. 1GB of storage space equals roughly 2-5 hours of recorded video. The final size of your recorded meeting depends on factors like screen sharing, resolution, and duration.
This means that if you’re on a Pro or Business Plan, you can’t store that many hours of recorded video in the cloud — you’re likely going to have to save large files locally to your computer desktop or pay more to get more storage. Storage is unlimited on the Enterprise plan, Zoom’s highest tier.
Do I have to be the host to record a Zoom meeting?
By default, only the meeting host or co-host can initiate a local or cloud recording, which means other meeting attendees don’t get instant access to recordings after the meeting is over.
The lack of access to meeting recordings makes it difficult for attendees to revisit action items or decisions — in fact, it makes Zoom recordings less useful because there’s no easy way for everyone who attended the meeting (or who was invited) to access it unless the host remembers to share the video.
Do you get transcripts when you record a Zoom meeting?
You don’t automatically get a transcript when you record a Zoom meeting. You have to be on a Business or Enterprise plan to access recording transcripts.
If you’re on a Zoom Basic or Pro plan, your meeting will come with a closed captioning file that you have to download to view. There’s no speaker identification with this file, so it’s not as useful as a full meeting transcript.
The big question: Where do recordings save in Zoom?
As we covered above, if you’re on a Zoom Pro plan or higher, you have two options of where to save your recordings when you host a meeting. You can either:
Store your videos locally on your computer
Store them on Zoom’s cloud servers (with storage limits based on your plan, as outlined above), where you can access them from your Zoom account
Here’s a breakdown of each option:
Option 1: Save recordings locally (free + paid plans)
Free and paid Zoom users can record their meetings locally, aka directly to their computer desktop. But again, if you’re a free user, this is your only option. Local recordings don’t support audio transcription, shared screen recording layout, or recording on your mobile app. They also don’t capture nonverbal feedback or meeting reactions. And we’re talking large file sizes — an hour meeting can be around 200MB.
Here's how it works: Once you end your first recording, Zoom asks for permission to create a new recording folder on your computer. If you accept, a new file path is created, and a Zoom folder is embedded inside it.
Here’s what the file path looks like for each operating system.
If you want your videos to be saved in a specific location, change the default file path by:
Signing in to your Zoom desktop client.
Clicking Settings, found when you click your profile photo in the top right.
On the page that pops up, click Recording. And then click on the current file path. You’ll get an option to choose a new location.
You can also find your local recordings using Zoom’s web portal:
Sign in to Zoom’s web portal.
In the navigation menu, click Recordings.
Click the Local Recordings tab and this will show you a list of your local recordings, if you have any.
Note: To access your locally recorded meetings using Zoom’s web portal, those meetings must be recorded using a supported version of the Zoom client app. The supported versions are:
Windows: Version 4.0.25513.0228 or higher
Mac: Version 4.0.25513.0228 or higher
Option 2: Save recordings to the Zoom cloud (paid plans only)
Licensed Zoom users can choose to upload their recordings to the cloud so they don’t use up precious storage space on their computer.
If you subscribe to any of Zoom’s paid plans, there are three ways to find your cloud recordings:
Method 1: Wait for Zoom to send you an email with the link to your uploaded cloud recording – you’ll receive this email as soon as your recording is fully uploaded, usually about 25-35 minutes later if you recorded an hourlong meeting (but it can be longer). Click the link in the email to view your meeting.
Method 2: Sign in to Zoom web portal. Click Recordings in the navigation menu. Then select the Cloud Recordings tab to show your cloud recordings. If you’re an admin, click Account Management, then Recording Management. This too will bring up a list of your recorded videos.
Method 3: In the Zoom client app, go to the Meetings tab where you’ll see an Upcoming/Recorded toggle. Click Recorded and you’ll find a list of all your recorded meetings — if you click View, you’ll be taken to a new browser window to watch (you can’t watch recordings from the Zoom client).
Note: As reviewed above, on Zoom’s Pro and Business plans, you get 1GB of cloud recording storage space per license. 1GB of storage space means roughly 2-5 hours of recorded video.
How to download Zoom recordings
If your meeting was recorded locally, there’s no need to download it. The meeting files are already saved on your computer. But you can only access them from the computer that made the recording, and they are hard to share this way (more on that below).
Your cloud recordings, however, can be downloaded.
To do that, navigate to your desired cloud recording’s page on the web portal. You’ll find a download button on the page.
Your downloaded Zoom meeting comes with four separate files:
An mp4 video file
A .m4a audio file
A .txt file of the chat
A .vtt file of the closed captioning. This doesn’t identify each speaker. It only shows time stamps.
How to share Zoom recordings
One perk of recording your meetings is to ensure that those who couldn’t attend didn’t miss out on important information. But you have to share the recorded meeting first – remember that this is only possible if you’re the meeting’s host.
To share your local Zoom recordings, you need a third-party cloud storage platform like Google Drive or a video sharing platform like Vimeo. Upload your desired recording to any of these platforms to generate a sharing link, then send that link along to the person you want to view the video (they’ll need access to the Google Drive folder or Vimeo account).
To share your cloud recordings, find the meeting file you want to share on the Zoom client app and click Share. A page will pop up with options to share your recording publicly, add an expiry date to your link, allow downloads, and more.
Once you’re satisfied with your choices, copy your settings and send it to the people you want to share the video with.
How to search for your recordings on Zoom
If you’ve recorded meetings in the past and you need to quickly find one of them, you can do so using Zoom’s web portal.
Sign in to your Zoom account on the web and click Recordings. If you’re an admin, click Account Management, then Recording Management.
You’ll find two search bars on the page that comes up. The first one lets you search your recordings by Meeting ID or topic (e.g. meeting name).
The second search bar lets you type a keyword to find in the audio transcript. But you have to be on Zoom’s Business plan or higher to use the search text in audio transcript feature. And this will only pull up the keyword in the transcript (not in the video).
Zoom recording feature: pros and cons
✅ Record even on a free plan (but only save recordings locally)
✅ Record in one click (if you’re the meeting host and have recording enabled)
✅ Cloud storage available
✅ Recording titles are searchable
✅ Sharing permissions
❌ Have to be the host to record meetings (and access recorded meetings)
❌ Can only use cloud recording on a paid plan (with limits)
❌ Have to wait for the recording to be ready
❌ Can’t easily search your meeting content
❌ The transcript, recording, and chat are separate files (even when viewed in the cloud recording section)
❌ The recording is hard to navigate
Confused? There’s a better way to record, search, and share meetings
The fact that you’re on this page seeking clarification on how to manage your Zoom recordings points to one thing: this process isn’t intuitive or easy.
But what if there was a better way to record your meetings and squeeze out extra value from them WITHOUT having to buy a Zoom add-on?
Vowel isn't just another video conferencing tool. It's a remote work tool that gives you everything you need to plan, host, act on, and revisit meetings. There's nothing to download and no need to cobble together different tools.
How is Vowel an upgrade from Zoom?
Unlike Zoom, you don’t have to worry about using up your local storage space when you host your meetings on Vowel. Every meeting recording is instantly saved to a central spot in your account, and easy to share with a link. And this is the case for all meeting attendees — not just ones where you're the host. (Note: There are some limitations on sharing with guests.)
The best part about managing your recordings on Vowel is that you can rewatch your meetings on demand. No more wait times for your recordings to come to your email inbox. And you can easily skip ahead in the recordings or watch them at 2x speed.
You’ll also get a comprehensive recap of your meeting alongside the recording as soon as it ends, including participants, talk time percentages, bookmarks, share links, action items, and notes.
AND Vowel comes with live transcription so you don’t have to panic if you forget to take notes. Everything is searchable in the transcripts and it's easy to jump right to that spot in the video.
“The entire paradigm of tools like Zoom is flawed - no one wants to download software, wait while a recording is processed (or choose where it's saved), or figure out for the millionth time where the right setting is.” - Brooks, a Vowel customer
For personal use, Zoom is fine for hosting and recording the occasional meeting.
But if you run your business or work on a remote team, you’ll need a better solution that doesn't waste your time or mental resources.
If you want to increase the impact of your meetings after they end — and enjoy pain-free meeting recording — try Vowel for free.