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Storing and viewing chat message history Follow

Overview

The account owner or admins can choose how long chat messages are stored in the Zoom cloud and on local devices. This will delete all messages after the designated time frame. If messages are being stored for 1 month or less, a yellow banner will appear in your Zoom chat window, notifying the members of your account of how long messages will be stored.

Messages stored on the cloud will be available on any device that a user signs in to, until the selected length of time has passed since the message was received. The maximum length of time that messages can be stored is 10 years and the minimum amount of time is 1 day. By default, messages are stored on the cloud for 2 years and messages are stored on local devices for 1 year. This length of time can be changed by the account owner or admin in IM Management and changing this setting will affect all users on your account.

The time frame is dependent on when the message is received. For example, if you choose to delete all messages after 3 days, they will be deleted 3 days after they are received by any of the recipient’s devices.

This article covers:

Prerequisites

  • Paid Zoom account
  • Account owner or admin privileges
  • Zoom desktop client for Windows or macOS, 4.1.23108.0402 or higher
  • Zoom mobile app for Android or iOS, 4.1.23117.0402 or higher

Changing chat message storage settings

You can change settings to specify how long chat messages are stored for.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. In the navigation menu, click Account Management then IM Management.
  3. Click the IM Settings tab.
  4. In the Storage section, change these settings:
  • Cloud Storage: If this setting is enabled, Zoom will automatically save all persistent chat messages to the cloud. Specify how time period to store messages, then click Save. After the specified cloud retention period, Zoom will remove all the persistent chat messages and its metadata from the cloud.
    Note:
    • The timeframe for the retention period is dependent on when the message is sent. For example, if account admin chooses to delete all messages after 3 days, they will be deleted 3 days after it is sent.
    • For 1-on-1 chats, Zoom saves messages to the cloud by using the minimum cloud storage retention rule of both parties.
    • For group chats and channels, Zoom saves messages on the cloud by using the channel admin’s cloud storage retention rule.
    • For free users, cloud storage is set to 2 years by default (even though they can't access it in the admin portal).
  • Delete Local Data: If this setting is enabled, Zoom will automatically delete all persistent chat messages and its’ metadata on local device after the specified retention period. Attachments will still save on the local device. Specify the time period messages are stored on the desktop or mobile device running Zoom, then click Save.
    Note:
    • This setting only applies to the account admin’s internal users. It will not affect external users, even if the external users are chatting with internal users in a channel / group chat owned by internal user. 
    • The timeframe for the retention period is dependent on when the message is received. For example, if account admin chooses to delete all messages after 3 days, they will be deleted 3 days after they are received by the recipients' devices.
  • Store edited and deleted message revisions: Store edited/deleted messages (as well as the original version) in the cloud. You can view or download stored messages using the Zoom web portal.
    Note: You must enable Cloud Storage to see this option.
  • Third party archiving: Archive messages and files with a third-party archiving service.

Recommendation: If you shorten the length of time that messages are saved for, you will need to notify all users on your account. Messages received before the setting was changed will be deleted after the designated length of time. For example, if you change the setting to delete messages after 3 days, any messages received prior will be deleted 3 days after the setting is changed.

Viewing and downloading stored messages

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal.
  2. In the navigation menu, click Account Management then IM Management.
  3. Click the Chat History tab.
  4. Specify a time period using the From and To fields.
    Note: The time period can be up to 1 year.
  5. Enter a user's email address and click Search.
  6. Use these options to view or download messages:
  • View: View messages for the associated 1-on-1, group, or channel chat thread.
  • Download: Download messages for the associated 1-on-1, group, or channel chat thread as a CSV file.
  • Compress All for Download: Compress each chat thread in the current search results as a ZIP file. You can download the ZIP files in the Downloads tab.
    Note: ZIP files will be password protected. In the Downloads tab, click Show in the File Password column to view the password to extract each ZIP file.

Chat history location rules

If Basic users and external paid users are involved, the following scenarios describe how messages are stored in the Chat History tab in the Zoom web portal.

Note:

  • The account must have the Cloud Storage setting enabled for messages to be stored in the Chat History tab.
  • In all scenarios, chat history is still store locally. Users can view their chat history in the Zoom desktop client or mobile app.
  • Users that are members of a channel or group chat can't view the associated local chat history if they are removed from the channel or group chat.
Chat type Users involved Location of chat history (accessible by account admin)
1-on-1 chat

Two free users

Not applicable

(Neither of them can access chat history using the web portal)

Channel or group chat

Internal free user

External paid user

Paid user's account
Channel or group chat

Internal free user

External free user

External paid user

Paid user's account
Channel or group chat

Internal paid user

Two external free users

Paid user's account
Channel or group chat

Internal paid user

External paid user

Both paid users' accounts
Channel or group chat

Internal paid user

External free user

External paid user

Both paid user's account
1-on-1, channel, or group chat

Internal paid user

External free user (added to the paid user's account and becomes an internal user)

Paid user's account

(messages are only stored from the time the free user was added to the paid user's account)

 

Chat history retention rules

The following table shows how long chat messages are stored in the cloud for a variety of scenarios.

Scenario

Users involved and settings enabled

How long are these messages being saved on the cloud? 

1-on-1 chat

Two free users

2 years

1-on-1 chat

1 free user 

1 paid user with Cloud Storage enabled and 5 year retention period 

2 years 

1-on-1 chat

1 free user 

1 paid user with Cloud Storage disabled 

Not stored in the cloud

1-on-1 chat

1 paid user with Cloud Storage enabled and retention period of 4 years 

1 paid user with Cloud Storage enabled and retention period of 6  years 

4 years

1-on-1

Paid user with Cloud Storage enabled with retention period of 3 years 

Free user who later is added to another paid account with Cloud Storage enabled and retention period of 5 years 

Before free user becomes a paid account user, the messages are saved for 2 years 

After free user becomes a paid account user, all new messages are saved for 3 years

Channel or group chat

Free user (channel admin)

Paid user with Cloud Storage enabled and retention period of 3 years  

2 years 

Channel or group chat

Free user 

Paid user (channel admin) with Cloud Storage enabled and retention period of 3 years 

3 years 

Channel or group chat

Free user

Paid user with Cloud Storage enabled and retention period of 3 years 

Paid user (channel admin) with Cloud Storage disabled 

Not stored in the cloud

Channel or group chat

Paid user (original channel admin) with Cloud Storage enabled with retention period of 3 years 

Free user (new channel admin) 

Before free user becomes channel admin, the messages are saved for 3 years 

After free user becomes channel admin, all new messages are saved for 2 years