User Guide for BigBlueButton Mobile

Last updated: 2018-08-15

BigBlueButton is a web-based application that enables you to participate in an online class or session.

Overview        1

Joining the Audio        2

Join Listen Only        6

Overview Of Interface        6

Mute/Unmute Microphone        7

Interacting with other users        8

Public Chat        8

Private Chat        11

Set a Status        12

Respond to a Poll        15

Join a Breakout Room        16

Multi-user Whiteboard        17

Logging Out        18

Options Menu        20

Application Settings        21


Welcome to the HTML5 Mobile Client User’s Guide.  This guide is for users that want to join a BigBlueButton session and participate using their mobile device (iOS or Android).

When you join a BigBlueButton session with your mobile device, the HTML5 client will automatically load.  There is no app to install.

There are two types of users in BigBlueButton: viewers and moderators.  A moderator/instructor will use their laptop or desktop to join a session, but a viewer/student may use their mobile device.

Students join BigBlueButton as a viewer.  Viewers have the ability to interact with others by sharing their microphone and webcam.  They can respond to polls, participate in public and private chat, draw on the presentation (if enabled by the presenter), and share their status.  This guide shows you how to do all these operations.

The HTML5 mobile client provides all the viewer capabilities of the Flash client except two-way webcams.  This means if you are joining from your mobile device, you will not see any webcams shared in the session.  (We will be adding support for two-way webcams in a future release of the HTML5 mobile client).

Instructors and teachers will still use the existing Flash client as it implements all the presenter/moderator capabilities.  (As an aside, as we add the remaining moderator/presenter capabilities to the HTML5 client, it will become the default client in 2019.)

This document gives you an overview of how to use the HTML5 mobile client (referred hereafter as simply the ‘client’) as a student.

When joining a session using an Android device, we recommend using the Chrome browser.  When joining with an iOS device, you must use iOS 11+ (or greater) and the Safari browser.  (Please note, do not use FireFox or Chrome on iOS as it does not support web real-time communications).

The following sections walk through common student tasks when using the HTML5 mobile client.


In the user guide, we’ll use the term select to mean either clicking on an action with your mouse, or using tab/arrow keys to highlight an action and pressing ENTER.

The keyboard provides the ability to navigate between elements on the screen primarily using the [TAB] and [SHIFT] + [TAB] keys. When larger elements are focused, arrow keys are used to focus smaller internal items. The users list and dropdown menus are examples of larger elements within the client.

Shortcut keys are implemented on some of the clients primary actions. These actions are activated by pressing a combination of an access key and a single character on the keyboard. The access key will differ depending on the operating system and browser being used. A listing of shortcuts keys are available by selecting Options [1] then Hotkeys [2].

Joining the Audio

When you first join a session, you will see the Audio Chooser giving you two options to join the audio: microphone or listen only.

If you want others to hear you, select Microphone [1].  

When you select microphone, your browser will prompt you for permission to access your microphone, be sure to select Allow.

Next you will enter into a private echo test. This echo test will let you quickly check that your microphone is working.

After you see the Echo Test dialog, speak a few words into your microphone.  You should hear an echo of your words, this is how you will sound to others in the session.  If you hear yourself, select Yes [2].

A pop up message will appear to indicate that you are sharing your audio.

If you do not hear yourself, select No [3].  The Change Audio Settings dialog will appear giving you options to change your audio settings.

Try selecting a different Microphone [1] and Speaker [2] from the available devices in the drop down lists.  

Use Play Sound [3] to test the speakers.

Once done, select Retry [4] to re-enter the echo test again to confirm your microphone is now transmitting.

If you are still unable to hear your audio, try the following

Join Listen Only

If you do not intend to talk in the session, or if you are in an area that has significant background noise, you can also choose to join listen only mode.

Select Listen Only [2] to join the session as listen only.

If you do not want to join the audio at all, select the ‘x’ in the upper right-hand corner of the Audio Chooser dialog.

Overview of Interface

Once you have chosen how to join your audio, the Audio Chooser dialog will close and you will  see the main BigBlueButton interface.

**The view of this interface may change depending on your device (tablet versus mobile phone), how you are viewing the session (portrait or landscape) and other display settings on your device.***

Main Interface

*If you do not see the users list expanded you may need to select the Users List / Chat Toggle [1] in the upper left hand corner*

There are two key areas; the Users List [2] and the Media Bar [3].  

Mute/Unmute Microphone

When you have joined the audio after choosing Microphone, the Mute/Unmute Microphone [1] button appears.  

Select this button to turn on/turn off your microphone.  Each time you select this button, you will be notified what state your microphone is in; muted or un-muted.

To leave the audio, select Hangup [2].  The icon will revert to the join audio button and clicking it again will display the Audio Chooser dialog.

Interacting With Other Users

BigBlueButton provides many ways to interact with other users.

Public Chat

The Public Chat [1] controls are located in the in the upper left-hand corner.  

If you do not see the public chat option you may need to select the Users List / Chat Toggle [2] to expand the users list panel and public chat.

When the users list is expanded, the public chat will show a count of any unread messages that have been minimized (in red).

Select Public Chat [1] to expand the public chat panel.  To hide the public chat panel, select the “<” [2] symbol.

Use the Chat Input [4] field to type messages into the public chat.  Your chat messages (and messages from other users) will appear in chronological order.  

You can save or download public chat by selecting Chat Options [3] menu.

Select either Save [1] (you will be prompted to download the public chat as a text file), or Copy [2] (the public chat will be copied to the clipboard).

Private Chat

To private chat with another user, select their name (a pop-up menu will appear) and choose Chat [1].  

A Private Chat panel will appear.  To hide the panel, select either “<” [2] or “x” [3]

Use the Chat Input [4] field to type messages into the private chat.

As with the Public Chat, you will see a count of unread messages (highlighted in red) next to the user name.

Set a Status  


To set a status, select the Users List Toggle [1] to expand the users list panel and public chat. Locate and select your User Icon [2] in the users list.


Choose Set a Status [3] - A pop-up menu will appear giving you the available emojis or status icons from the Status List [5]. If you do not want to set a status, you can go Back [4] to the users list.

When you choose a status emoji it will appear in the center of your User Icon in the users list. Your icon will also move to the top of the users list until it has been cleared.


You can clear your status by re-selecting your name in the Users list [1] then selecting Clear Status from the available options.

REMEMBER: a moderator can also clear your status.

Respond to a Poll

When a presenter engages a poll you will see the response options appear above the presentation content - to respond to the poll simply select from the available options.

When the presenter publishes the poll results or ends the poll the polling options will no longer appear available.

Join a Breakout Room

When a moderator engages the breakout rooms you will be prompted to Join [1] the breakout room.

When you select join, you will be redirected into a secondary BigBlueButton meeting tab, where you will have to join the audio.

Once the breakout rooms have ended, you will be redirected back to the main BigBlueButton meeting room, where you will have to re-join the audio.  

See Joining the Audio section of this guide if you require additional assistance with audio.

Multi-user Whiteboard

The presenter can enable multi-user whiteboard, which enables all users to write on the whiteboard at the same time.

When multi-user whiteboard is enabled, the whiteboard controls will appear in the presentation area.

The whiteboard controls are

Selecting Drawing tools [1] will display a sub-menu of available drawing tools.

The available drawing tools are

To write on the presentation, select the Text Input [1] tool and draw a rectangle.  The rectangle will be the text area.

To draw on the presentation, select the Pencil [6] tool.  Select and drag the mouse button to draw a line.  When the pencil tool is selected, you can use the other whiteboard controls to change the thickness and color of the line.

Logging Out

To log out of a meeting, navigate to the Options Menu [1] in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

Choose Log Out [2] from the menu options.

Cancel [3] will redirect you back into the live session, Leave [4] will close the session for your connection only.

Options Menu

To access additional settings and information, navigate to the Options Menu in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

There are several options available within the Menu

Application Settings

To make changes to the BigBlueButton application settings navigate to the Options Menu and select Open settings [1].

To have an audible notification for new chat messages, be sure to turn on the Audio Notification for Chat [2], you can also enable Popup Alerts for Chat [3] to notify you of new incoming chat messages while in the BigBlueButton meeting and your chat pane or users list is minimized.

To change the default language select from the Application Language [4] drop down and select Save to apply.

You can also change the application Font Size [5]; to make the font larger select the “+” and to decrease the font size select the “-”, select Save to apply.

WebRTC Screen Share in Chrome Browser

The following section outlines how a presenter can share their screen in Chrome Browser.

We recommend using Chrome or Firefox browser when using WebRTC screen sharing on both Windows and Mac OS. Internet Explorer and Edge browsers currently do not support WebRTC enabled screen share.  

To share your screen locate the Screen Share [1] option in the media bar.

To launch the screen sharing without using the external Java .jnlp extension select WebRTC Built-in [2] from the options available.

If you are using Chrome Browser and this is the first time you have attempted to share your screen in BigBlueButton you will be prompted to download and install the BigBlueButton Screenshare Chrome Extension. ***You cannot add this extension in Incognito Browser Mode.***

To install the screen sharing extension select Click here to install [3], you will be redirected to the Chrome Browser extension install page.

By default Google Chrome does not allow sharing of your computer screen. In order for the WebRTC Screenshare to work in BigBlueButton on Google Chrome, you need to whitelist your domain(s). This way Google Chrome will permit sharing your screen.

Select Add to Chrome [4]

You will receive one final prompt to Add Extension [5] to the browser.

A pop up message will appear to indicate the extension has been added to the browser. You can now return to the BigBlueButton meeting tab.

After installing the screen sharing extension you can select Rety from the presenter preview window to relaunch the WebRTC Screen sharing.

You will be presented with two options; sharing your entire screen or an application window, the following section will outline how to share your entire screen - if you would like to share an application window skip to Sharing an Application Window.

Sharing Your Entire Screen

To share the full view of your screen select Your Entire Screen [1], if you have more than one monitor choose the Screen [2] that you wish to display to viewers, then select Share [3].

Sharing an Application Window

**If you are using Mac OSX and do not have multiple monitors setup OR are in full screen mode with your browser we recommend exiting full screen mode to ensure the Mac Desktop displays the available application windows**

To share a specific application window be sure the application you wish to share is open on your desktop before launching the screen share.

Select Application Window [1], locate the application you would like to share Choose it [2] from the available options, then select Share [3].

The WebRTC screen sharing may take several moments to launch, the presenter preview window will show its progress.

Stop Screen Sharing

You can stop screen sharing in two ways; in the preview window by selecting Stop [1] or by selecting Stop Sharing [2]  at the bottom of your browser screen (this option can be hidden by selecting “Hide”)