When, a screen-sharing feature within the iPhone’s FaceTime app, long-distance couples ( !) rejoiced. SharePlay would make a cinch.
This was back in the iOS 15 days —— but SharePlay is still a really neat part of the iPhone experience and one of FaceTime’s biggest updates, making Apple a big competitor to and . If you haven’t tried it yet, tonight’s the night. What better time to host a virtual movie night with your far-away partner than ?
So what exactly is SharePlay? It’s a FaceTime feature that lets iPhone, iPad and Mac users share screens — and streams — with each other. You can use SharePlay to share your screen with your partner to watch movies, listen to songs and more, all while on your FaceTime call. Here’s how to get it set up.
How to use SharePlay stream shows and movies with FaceTime
Having a watch party in FaceTime is simple and intuitive with SharePlay. When you stream movies or TV shows with your significant other, content will sync across devices and allow both parties access to controls. And you’ll still see and hear each other in picture-in-picture as you watch. Streaming services that have partnered with Apple for SharePlay include Hulu, HBO Max, TikTok, Apple Fitness Plus, Twitch, Spotify, ESPN Plus and many more.
In order to use SharePlay, both parties need to use FaceTime on an Apple device (and you have to upgrade to at least, or ). Another cool feature of SharePlay is that you can cast to your while maintaining the FaceTime call on your iPhone. That way you’re not stuck squinting at a tiny screen with your friend’s face blocking the show.
Here’s how to set up SharePlay in FaceTime:
1. Start a FaceTime call.
2. Open a streaming app while connected to the call and choose a show or movie.
3. Press Play, and both parties can watch the same stream at once.
How to listen to music with SharePlay
Not a big movie buff? Here’s an alternative virtual date idea: Create a playlist just for your significant other, then use SharePlay to listen to it together. When sharing music, both parties will also have access to controls to pause, play or skip songs in SharePlay. And you can even contribute to shared playlists by adding songs to a queue within Apple Music.
Here’s how to share music with SharePlay:
1. Start a FaceTime call.
2. Open Apple Music and choose a song.
3. Press Play, and the song will begin playing from both devices at the same time.
How to use SharePlay to share your screen in FaceTime
Like Zoom, FaceTime will let you share your screen with others on the call using SharePlay, so you can share more than just music and videos. Apple’s suggested use cases include planning a trip together, browsing Zillow with future roommates, showing off a video game or helping a friend with a technical problem by walking them through. This feature will also work across Apple devices, which means you can share your Mac screen or your iPhone or iPad screen in a call.
One drawback: SharePlay’s subscription problem
Netflix and YouTube are just two of the apps that won’t sync with SharePlay — though a workaround for YouTube is to just share your screen, not the app. Apple also notes that a subscription will be required for both parties in order to share streaming services like HBO Max or Disney Plus through SharePlay.
We put this to the test and verified that not only do both parties need a subscription to the app being shared, if applicable, but they also need to have the app itself downloaded on both devices. So if your significant other wants to SharePlay a TikTok video and you don’t have the TikTok app installed, you won’t be able to see the video over FaceTime.
For more on the iPhone’s newest tricks, check out the— like being able to . Plus, here are some you can get at restaurants, and here’s how to .
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