A/V Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Checklist

We have a plethora of FAQs and articles that will walk you through detailed troubleshooting steps if you need help connecting to or using Gather. The following is a checklist of steps to take:

Audio/Video or Performance Issues

  • Refresh your browser.
  • Switch to Chrome if you are not using it already.
  • Check browser settings and permissions to allow microphone and camera.
  • Close any other applications that use your mic or camera.
  • Check system settings and permissions (Macs) to allow screen recording, microphone, and camera.
  • Turn on Quiet Mode (Ctrl/⌘+U) to limit your a/v connections. 
  • Disable VPN/firewall or ask your IT to whitelist Gather.
  • Disable any unnecessary browser extensions.
  • Disconnect from external monitors.
  • Test User Settings (Ctrl+P or Cmd+P):
    • Turn on Auto Idle Mute.
    • Turn off SmartZoom.
    • Turn off Smooth Movement.
    • Turn off HD Video Quality.
    • Turn on Original Audio.

Black or White Screen Issues

  • Respawn into the Space.
  • Hard refresh your browser (hold Shift key and press refresh button on browser).
  • Check the Mapmaker to make sure the background has not been deleted or resized. (If the background is white in Mapmaker, your original background has likely been deleted.)
  • Check if you are banned.
  • Clear your browser cache.
  • If you are embedding objects:
    • White screen = the website does not allow embedding
    • Black screen = the URL needs to be https
  • See All I see is a black screen—what do I do? for screenshots of black screen issues. 

Still having issues?

  • Check out our Gather Status site to see if Gather is having any issues site-wide. 
  • Report a bug by clicking on the Gather menu and selecting Report an Issue. (Read more on reporting issues.) 
  • If all else fails, there's always the ol' turn-it-off-and-back-on-again (restart your computer).

Why can't I share my screen?

If you are having trouble sharing your screen on Gather, start by checking your browser's permissions. For example, in Chrome, select the padlock in the URL bar to view the browser's current permissions. You will need to grant Chrome access to your camera to enable screen sharing. 

A screenshot of the fancy office template in Gather in Chrome. In the URL bar, the padlock icon is outlined in red. Chrome's browser permissions window is open, with a red outline around Camera and Microphone, which are both set to Allow.To check your browser's permissions in Chrome, click on the padlock icon in the URL. Ensure Camera is set to Allow.

Tip: For a complete explanation of how to share in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, see the Screen Sharing article.

Mac System Permissions

If you are using a Mac, you may need to check your System Preferences as well to share your screen. Open your System Preferences. Select Security & Privacy.

A screenshot of a Mac desktop with the System Preferences window open. Security & Privacy is outlined in red.On your Mac, open System Preferences and select Security & Privacy.

Select Privacy in the top panel, then scroll down in the left menu and click Screen Recording. You may need to click the padlock in the bottom left of the window to make changes. If your browser does not appear in the list, click the plus sign and select your browser from your Applications. 

A screenshot of a Mac desktop with Security & Privacy open. Screen Recording is outlined in red, and in the list of allowed apps, Google Chrome is outlined in red and selected. A red arrow points to the plus sign beneath the list of apps, with text that reads "Or click to add browser."

In Security & Privacy, select Screen Recording. Select the browser to provide permissions, or select the plus (+) sign to add your browser.

You will need to quit your browser and reopen it for the changes to save.

Tip: For a complete explanation of how to manage your Mac permissions, see the System Permissions article.

Warning: We do not currently support other browsers, so we have not included information for screen sharing outside of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

Why doesn't my Bluetooth work?

Is Gather switching your audio inputs every time you switch tabs? Or are you able to hear others but they can't hear you?  Huge changes in audio quality when you mute and unmute? If you're using a bluetooth headset, this article may provide some clarity.  

Bluetooth Profiles

Every Bluetooth accessory comes with a built-in profile, which is a package of software that tells the device how to "treat" the accessory. Some devices will automatically sense a Bluetooth accessory, and then apply an incorrect profile to them from their own library. 

If you find that you can only hear others but they can't hear you, the cause may be your Bluetooth profile. Bluetooth A2DP, a type of Bluetooth profile, does not allow for stereo audio plus microphone at the same time.

Many Bluetooth headsets, widely produced before 2018, use Bluetooth A2DP. Some mobile devices will accommodate the limitation of A2DP by switching between sending microphone inputs and receiving stereo audio input quickly and automatically. Some devices (computers, tablets, etc.) do not support the automatic switching of inputs and outputs required by A2DP for a smooth experience. 

One solution would be to use a separate microphone if you wish to use Bluetooth headphones. 

Test Inputs

When you select your input (mic) in Gather, your computer will generate a list of what it views as available. In the gif below of the Check Your Hair screen, the drop-down menus show several options for the same headset. Each option is a different profile that can apply to the device. 

Warning: Firefox for Windows and Mac does not allow you to set a separate speaker output.

(1) Before you enter a Space, you can try different input and output combinations.

Finding the right combination that works for you may take some trial and error.

Note: To change your a/v selections from inside the Space, just open User Settings (Ctrl/⌘+P).


Why do I hear an echo when talking to someone?

This is something that can happen if the computer does not have built in noise reduction. What is happening is that the computer's speakers are sending out sounds, and the microphone is picking it back up and sending it back through the computer. 

There are a few different solutions that you could try in this situation. The first would be to ask participants who have this issue to wear headphones. The second would be to try third party software that would cancel out this noise automatically like Krisp.ai.

Mobile Troubleshooting

If you are having trouble hearing or seeing other users on mobile,  try a few of the following  steps to reconnect to Gather:

Audio/Video and Performance Issues 

  • Turn your mic and/or video off and on again.
  • Enable Prioritized Audio, which turns off the video feeds of the people you are connected to. To do this, tap the white icon of the camera with the line through it that displays beneath a person's video feed. To re-enable video, tap the green camera icon.

In the video carousel at the top of your mobile screen, tap the icon of the camera with a line through it to disable or enable video feeds.

  • Turn on Quiet Mode to limit your a/v connections. (Select the three dots in the bottom bar of your mobile screen, then select Quiet Mode. However, this feature is not available for remote work Spaces).

Warning: Currently on iOS Safari, you need to mute and unmute your audio and video manually when you enter a new conversation. Otherwise, you can see yourself, but others cannot hear or see you. 

Black Video Feeds from Others

  • Tap the video feed to expand to full screen to refresh the video feed.

Still having issues?

  • Check out our Gather Status site to see if Gather is having any issues site-wide. 
  • Report a bug by selecting the three dots in the bottom bar of your mobile screen and then selecting Report an Issue. (Read more on reporting issues.) 

Three screenshots of Gather on mobile. In the far left image, the bottom menu is expanded and Report an issue is outlined in red. In the second image, the Report an issue modal is open, which lets you select a Reason for the bug report, enter your email address, and enter a message. The third image is the success message that displays when you submit a bug report on mobile. To change your settings, tap the three dots in the bottom bar of your mobile screen. Select Report an issue to submit a bug report. 


Firefox Issues

In August 2021, Firefox was updated to use a new video rendering technology called WebRender. 

WebRender may improve audio and video performance in Gather, but it may also cause instability and other issues like flickering, artifacting (graphic distortion), or even (in rare cases) a full system crash.

If you are experiencing these kinds of issues in Gather, please use this support article from Mozilla to troubleshoot.

How do I get livestreams to work?

For livestreams, you need to leave the Synchronized Start Time and Display (Start) and Display (End) fields blank in the Advanced Options for Embedded Video. The synced TV function automatically moves the time dial forward or backward to ensure all participants are seeing the same part of a video and livestreams on Youtube do not have a time dial. YouTube already handles the video synchronization on their end, which means you only need to link the livestream as if you were embedding a regular video.

All I see is a black screen—what do I do?

There are several reasons why you may see a black screen or black background. Here are some quick troubleshooting tricks you can try to resolve your issue.

Reset Your Location

Occasionally there may be an issue with your current position due to map edits or other situations. The quickest way to resolve this is to try and respawn to a default spawn location in the Space.

A View of the rooftop space, with a red outline around Riley's name in the Bottom Command Bar. A red line connects from the name to a larger red outline of the options available from the Bottom Command Bar. A red arrow points to Respawn. In the Bottom Command Bar, click your name, then click Respawn.

Try a Hard Refresh

A hard refresh in your browser is different from a regular refresh in that it also clears the webpage's cache. Doing this will not log you out of Gather or forget your position in the space, and cached files for other sites will not be affected. 

First, go to the Gather space that's having the problem. Then use the following key combination to refresh the page:

  • Chrome or Firefox for Windows: Press Ctrl+F5. If that doesn’t work, try Shift+F5 or Ctrl+Shift+R.
  • Chrome or Firefox for Mac: Press Shift+Command+R.
  • Other Browsers: Try pressing the browser's refresh button while holding down shift, or manually clear the website cache in the browser's settings.

Add a Background

If you see a black background, but you can still see objects, the background may have been accidentally deleted (or not saved, if you were using the Walls and Floors Painter tool in the Mapmaker). If you own the Space and you have a copy of the background, you can try uploading it again. 

Open the Mapmaker. Click the hamburger menu in the top left corner. Click Background & Foreground, then Upload a Background. If you used the Walls and Floors Painter tool (drew your own background), you will need to recreate the background. When you are finished drawing or uploading your background, click Done in the Top Nav Menu of the Mapmaker, and then click Save before reloading the Space. 

A view of a blank map in the Mapmaker. The hamburger menu is outlined in red, and the menu is expanded. Background & Foreground is selected, and another expanded menu has Upload Background highlighted.Open the Mapmaker. To draw or upload a new background, click the hamburger menu, then click Background & Foreground, then click Upload Background

Note: Check out our article on adding and managing Backgrounds and Foregrounds for more details.

Check If You Are Banned

If your entire screen is black and you do not see any objects, there is a high possibility that you were banned from the Space. Bans are done by IP address. This means if you tested the ban function on yourself or a member of your household, you may have banned yourself from your Space. For more information and available options moving forward, please see our page on Banning.

Clear Your Cache

Occasionally there may be issues with stored cookies or other information in your browser's cache. Try clearing your browser's cache to help resolve these issues.

Gather Lost Connection

If you see a "Gather lost connection" error message, it's possible you've lost connection to Gather's servers. You may still be connected to our video servers and be able to see and hear others, but movement and object interaction maybe affected. 

Try refreshing the page or switching browsers (Chrome or Firefox work best). If you are on a VPN, try disconnecting from the VPN or whitelisting Gather (see our VPN & Firewall Access article for more info). 

If these steps do not resolve the issue, please send send us a bug report by selecting the Home icon in the top of the Left Nav Menu, then choosing Report an Issue