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Zoom Is Removing Time Limits On Calls This Thanksgiving

Which means you can cook, eat, and even sleep off the day's turkey during your Thanksgiving Zoom call with friends and family.

As public health experts caution Americans to avoid holiday gatherings in light of surging COVID-19 cases, Zoom has moved to help families and friends remain close while still remaining physically apart. This Thanksgiving, Zoom will remove the time limit on free calls so users can stay connected all day long.

"As a thank you to our customers, we will be lifting the 40-minute limit for all meetings globally from midnight ET on Nov. 26 through 6 a.m. ET on Nov. 27 so your family gatherings don't get cut short," Zoom announced over Twitter last week.

Traditionally, users who utilize Zoom's no-cost basic plan are limited to 40 minutes when hosting calls with more than two participants — a frustrating caveat for any parent trying to share updates with multiple family members over the app or blow off steam with a group of friends after a long day of working remotely while also juggling child care, housework, and remote learning.

One-on-one calls, however, or calls where there are only two participants, are not affected by the 40-minute time limit. Users looking to host longer group meetings on the app generally must pay for Zoom's pro plan, which averages out to $15 a month if billed monthly or $150 a year if billed annually.

But while Zoom is dropping its 40-minute time limit for basic plan customers for Thanksgiving, there's reportedly a clever workaround to avoiding Zoom's time limit that doesn't involve paying for a more advanced plan.

How To Get Around Zoom's 40-Minute Time Limit

According to Tech Advisor, users with Zoom's basic plan can get around the app's 40-minute time limit in a few simple steps. After opening and signing into Zoom, you'll want to start by clicking the Schedule icon on the app's Home screen. Set a start date and time for your meeting as well as roughly when the meeting will end. Under the Calendar heading, select Other Calendars before finally saving your scheduled meeting.

A message should pop up informing you that, "Your meeting has been scheduled." Here you'll also find a meeting ID number, passcode, and a link to join the Zoom meeting. You'll want to copy and paste this information and make sure all of the participants in your meeting have it readily accessible.

From here you'll want to launch your meeting (or wait for whenever you've scheduled it for) and start chatting as normal. But when the meeting approaches its 40-minute limit, spurring a countdown clock to appear, Tech Advisor has advised for the host to choose Leave Meeting rather than End for All. At this point, everyone participating in the meeting should click on the meeting's original Join Meeting Link or enter in the original meeting ID. Doing so should cause a new 40-minute period of time to start, according to Tech Advisor.

Thankfully, Zoom's Thanksgiving gift means you won't have to spend the holiday walking a relative who's never used Zoom through the process of extending a meeting. Instead, you can focus on gathering family and friends virtually and comparing turkeys before diving into an all-day-long Zoom meal.