FaceTime got a huge feature boost with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey updates. Among the improvements, a new function called SharePlay got everyone’s attention. It takes your video calling and watch-party experience to the next level. Read along to learn how to use SharePlay with FaceTime on iPhone and iPad.
SharePlay opens up a new fun element among FaceTime users. While it wasn’t the part of official iOS 15 update, Apple has enabled the feature following iOS 15.1 update on iPhone. Before we go ahead and show you how to use SharePlay, let’s understand what’s SharePlay in the first place.
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What Is SharePlay
SharePlay is a new FaceTime function backed in iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It allows you to share your device screen with others during a FaceTime call. SharePlay enables everyone to watch movies and listen to songs together.
Everyone has separate control on their screen to pause or skip on their preference. On the surface, it closely resembles Spotify Group Sessions, but the beauty of SharePlay is it works with all Apple media apps and other third-party services out there.
Apple has released Group Activities APIs that enable developers to add SharePlay support to their apps. Some big media names such as Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Twitch, TikTok, etc., have already announced to bake the SharePlay function to their apps.
As for this post, we will use Apple Music and Apple TV as an example.
Enable SharePlay on iPhone
There is a SharePlay toggle in the iPhone Settings app that you need to enable to use the function. Here’s how to use it.
Step 1: Open the Settings app on iPhone.
Step 2: Move down to the FaceTime menu.
Step 3: Open FaceTime and tap on SharePlay.
Step 4: Enable SharePlay toggle from the following menu and now you are ready to share music and watch TV shows together over a FaceTime call.
Use SharePlay to Listen to Music on FaceTime
Ensure all the participants are on the latest iOS/iPadOS/macOS version to take advantage of SharePlay functionality. Now follow the steps below.
Step 1: Open FaceTime on iPhone/iPad.
Step 2: Tap on Create Link and share the link with others to join a FaceTime call.
Step 3: Once everyone has joined the group video call, swipe up and go back to the home screen.
Step 4: Open one of the supported apps. We will open Apple Music here.
As you can see from the screenshot above, you will see an option to choose content to use SharePlay. Start playing a song, and you will notice the SharePlay icon in action on FaceTime pop-up menu.
The music starts playing at the same time for everyone on the call. Users need to have a relevant subscription to the streaming service. If not, the app will ask you to go through a subscription, a transaction, or a free trial, if available.
The playback controls are shared by everyone on the call who has access, so anyone can press Play, Pause, Rewind, Fast Forward, or go to the next track.
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Use SharePlay to Watch Videos Together
In the example above, we showed you how to use SharePlay to listen to music at the same time. Now we will showcase how you can watch videos together over FaceTime using SharePlay.
Step 1: Open FaceTime and create a group call.
Step 2: Once everyone has joined, open one of the SharePlay-supported apps. In the example, we will use the Apple TV app.
Step 3: Select a show or movie you want to watch and tap the Play button.
Since you are in a FaceTime call, Apple TV will ask you to SharePlay TV content or Share the video only for you. Once you tap on SharePlay, others on the call may have to tap Join SharePlay to see the video.
The video will start playing for everyone who has an active subscription to the Apple TV service. If available, people who don’t have access are asked to get access (through a subscription, a transaction, or a free trial).
Everyone on the FaceTime call has access to playback buttons as well as closed captioning and volume controls.
Once you hit the End button, you have an option to End SharePlay for you or everyone.
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Enjoy Virtual Party Over FaceTime
As of now, SharePlay is limited to a few apps only. Major app developers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Spotify are missing from the support list. Even though Apple has made FaceTime available for Android and Windows users, the SharePlay function won’t work for users joining a FaceTime call using a non-Apple platform.
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