It’s safe to join Zoom meetings again on Macs – but that depends on how comfortable you are with Zoom after it claimed to fix a bug that kept recording after a meeting was over. The company has said for the second time that it has fixed it. Can you trust it?
History of Trouble
Let’s be honest: Zoom doesn’t have the best history of being upfront with users regarding privacy issues.
Zoom became a household name in the midst of the pandemic. People working from home suddenly needed to join video conferences, and it quickly became the video conference meeting tool for many.
Yet, just when the name “Zoom” began pouring out of nearly all remote workers’ mouths, the company was fined $85 million for its claims that it was offering end-to-end encryption when it wasn’t.
Zoom was also in the doghouse after it installed a hidden server on Macs to help with automatic call handling. Apple had to jump in with an update to macOS to remove the app.
Zoom Bug Found on Macs
Apple added a feature to macOS that makes users aware of when the camera or mic are in use by an app or device. An orange or green dot will appear in the menu bar.
This led to macOS Monterey users complaining after using Zoom that the mic appeared to stay on after a meeting was over. Some people used the Timing app to check Zoom activity and found that it appeared their calls lasted for hours and knew they weren’t logged on for that long on the calls.
Zoom appeared to be listening to user complaints and not user “meetings” after hours. On December 21 last year, Zoom released an update to fix the bug that said it “resolved an issue regarding the microphone light indicator being triggered when not in a meeting.”
But it didn’t really take care of the problem. “Well, the most recent update seems to have made no obvious difference. I’ve just noticed the orange dot again, and when I quit Zoom, Timing app told me that I’d apparently been on a two-hour Zoom call.”.
Last week a Twitter user said, “You can see the orange dot on Mac since the last update that shows mic usage.”
A developer said, “I can’t believe @Zoom ‘ is still pulling off stuff like this,” adding, “The Zoom Mac app listens to the microphone even when not in any meetings. No way I’ll ever install their app.”
This past weekend, Zoom issued an update that it promised would fix the bug. “We experienced a bug relating to the Zoom client for macOS, which could show the orange indicator light continue to appear after having left a meeting, call, or webinar.”
The company added, “This bug was addressed in the Zoom client for macOS version 5.93, and we recommend you update to version 5.9.3 to apply the fix.”
If you don’t trust Zoom to have fixed the bug, you have two choices: don’t use it or use Zoom on the Web instead of the app. If you’re in a position to choose the meeting software, try this Zoom alternative, Skype’s Meet Now.
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