How to use the Apple SharePlay feature on iOS and macOS

How to use the Apple SharePlay feature on iOS and macOS

Apple announced iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, along with other upgrades to its operating systems, during WWDC21. These OS updates introduced a number of great iPhone and Mac features we had been waiting for, and they missed out on a few others. Some of these offerings include Shortcuts and AirPlay support on the Mac, in addition to SharePlay — which is supported on other Apple operating systems too. SharePlay allows people to enjoy consuming digital goods together through FaceTime.

Availability

SharePlay wasn’t part of the initial iOS 15.0 release. Users will need at least iOS 15.1 to get it to work. Similarly, you will need macOS Monterey 12.1 to use it on your Mac. As long as you’re running these OS versions or newer builds, you will get to use the feature with others.

XDA VIDEO OF THE DAY

SharePlay feature shown on an iPhone

The Basics

If you’re on iOS 15.1 or macOS 12.1 (or later), you must be wondering how to use SharePlay with friends and family. What content is supported? What are the prerequisites? Don’t worry, we will be mentioning everything you need to know.

What content is supported?

  • Music
  • TV
  • Fitness Plus
  • Screen Sharing
  • Game Center-enabled games (requires at least iOS 16)

Can third-party developers support SharePlay?

Yes, Apple has provided developers with a SharePlay API, so you won’t be limited to Apple Music and Apple TV Plus.

What are the prerequisites?

  • Having friends (optional, but recommended for the best performance).
  • All people in a FaceTime call should be running an Apple OS that supports the feature.
  • They should be subscribed to whatever service a user is SharePlaying. So for example, if you want to listen to music together, all of you should have Apple Music subscriptions.

How to actually use SharePlay

  • Start a FaceTime call in whichever way you usually do, whether it be through Messages, Phone, Siri, Spotlight Search, or the FaceTime app itself.
  • In the call screen, to the very right, you will find a Screen Share button. Press it if you just want to share your screen with the other call participants.

shareplay-ios-15-music-app-1

  • If you want to SharePlay media, go to Apple Music or TV apps, and a banner will pop up asking you to choose content to SharePlay.
  • Hit Play on an episode or playlist, and you’ll be asked whether you want to play the media privately or share it with everyone in the FaceTime call.
  • Choose SharePlay, and, as long as you meet all prerequisites, other participants should be able to listen/watch with you.
  • Apple Music and TV support queue controls, so others can add/remove items and pause/play.

shareplay-ios-15-music-app-2

  • You can view how many people are listening with you when you minimize the player, at the bottom of the screen.
  • Once you’re done with SharePlaying, click on the far right button in the call screen we mentioned earlier, and click End SharePlay.
  • Alternatively you could just end the FaceTime call, if you no longer want to talk.

SharePlay pushes FaceTime a step further and makes it a valid competitor in the video conferencing battle. Not to mention FaceTime now supports link sharing, enabling Android and Windows users to use the service from their web browsers. If you’re not a fan of calls, you can use SharePlay with the Messages app on iOS 16 and later versions.

Do you actively use SharePlay? If so, what types of content do you tend to SharePlay? Let us know in the comments section below.

About author

Mahmoud Itani
Mahmoud Itani

Mahmoud is an Istanbul-based Beiruti who has always sought freedom through writing. His hobbies include keeping up with tech news, writing articles about Apple devices & services, crocheting, meditating, and composing poetry. You’ll likely find him jogging with his dogs at a park, swimming in open water, brainstorming at a coffeehouse, or merely lost in nature. He can be reached on Twitter @Mahmoudzitani or via [email protected]

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