Using SharePlay on iOS 15 and macOS Monterey

The capability feature for Apple’s fall updates (including iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, and macOS Monterey) is SharePlay. It’s a new software feature on FaceTime that lets you watch and listen to movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, and more with friends and family during a video call.

Currently, the number of SharePlay-compatible apps is a fairly small list: the Apple TV app for movies and TV shows, the Apple Music app for music, and the Apple Podcasts app for podcasts. The company promises some major third-party partners when iOS 15 launches this fall, including HBO Max, Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, TikTok and Twitch. However, some big names seem to be skipping so far: especially Netflix and YouTube.

So far, if you want to try it, do this.

SharePlay with iOS

Start playing a TV episode using SharePlay.
Photo: Apple

SharePlay lets you continue to use your phone while watching programs together.
Photo: Apple

  • To use SharePlay on an iPhone or iPad, first make sure all parties to the call are using iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.
  • Next, start a FaceTime call – either a one-to-one or group call – with everyone you want to watch or listen to.
  • Once you’ve done that, exit the FaceTime call (which automatically switches to the picture-in-picture window) and go to a SharePlay-compatible application.
  • After that, playing something through SharePlay is as easy as just watching or listening alone: ​​just select the content you want, and it works for everyone.
  • Managing SharePlay streaming requires only that you play, pause, and skip as usual. SharePlay keeps everyone’s streams automatically in sync, so if one person interrupts a snack, the movie pauses for everyone.

There are two options for stopping a stream: either stop it for everyone in the SharePlay call or stop it just for you (you let everyone else continue watching).

SharePlay with MacOS

Using SharePlay in macOS Monterey works in the same way as iOS and iPadOS: you need to start a FaceTime call, launch a compatible app, and play content that all parties to the call can access.

When you’re in a SharePlay session, you can access call controls via the menu bar icon (instead of the pop-up menu that appears on iOS and iPadOS).

macOS SharePlay menu.
Photo: Apple

SharePlay with Apple TV

Using SharePlay with Apple TV works a little differently than other platforms because you can’t start (or join) a FaceTime call yourself through Apple TV itself. Rather, when you’re on FaceTiming on a nearby iPhone, iPad, or Mac with SharePlay, Apple TV gives you the ability to move the media portion of a call to a larger screen through the Control Center.

Here’s how to get there:

  • Simply follow the instructions above to start a SharePlay FaceTime call.
  • Then hold down the TV button on your Apple TV remote. From there, you can select a new SharePlay icon.

IOS interface when watching a program on Apple TV while using SharePlay.
Photo: Apple

It’s important to note that only the music or movie you’re watching will be transferred to Apple TV. FaceTime video will still play on the Mac, iPhone, or iPad you started.

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