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Apple announced some big changes to itsvideo chat app during the keynote this week. Upgrades will arrive with , which is and will get a public beta in July, with a wide , when the is also expected to arrive. One of FaceTime’s buzziest features, called SharePlay, enables iPhone users to host virtual watch parties, share their screens and more, all within a FaceTime video call.
With SharePlay, you can stream the same movie or TV show as your friends, just like you can with), but with the added benefit of a video chat courtesy of FaceTime. Teleparty and a lot of other watch party apps only enable synchronized video streaming and an instant messaging component. And you can also use SharePlay to share music (virtual dance party, anyone?) or to share your entire iPhone screen.
Read more: Here’s how to use watch party apps for, , , and .
Betweenand , it seems Apple is coming after not only watch party apps, but as well. Want to try out SharePlay on your own ? Here’s how it works.
Watch together: How to use FaceTime SharePlay for streaming TV or movies
Having a watch party in FaceTime is actually really simple and intuitive with SharePlay. When you stream movies or TV shows with friends, 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 already partnered with Apple for SharePlay include Hulu, HBO Max, TikTok and ESPN Plus.
In order to use SharePlay, both parties need to use FaceTime on an Apple device that supports, 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 it up in FaceTime:
1. Start a FaceTime call with a friend.
2. Open a streaming app and choose a show or movie.
3. Press Play, and both parties can watch the same stream at once.
Listen together: How to use FaceTime SharePlay for music
Using SharePlay to listen to a new album with friends works similarly to having a watch party. 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 with a friend.
2. Open Apple Music and choose a song.
3. Press Play, and the song will begin playing from both devices at the same time.
Share your screen: How to use SharePlay to share your iPhone screen or apps in FaceTime
Like Zoom, FaceTime will now let you share your screen with others on the call, 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 to FaceTime SharePlay: The streaming subscription problem
Netflix was notably absent from the list of partners referenced in Apple’s WWDC keynote, and so was Amazon Prime Video and. And Apple notes that a subscription may be required of both parties in order to share streaming services, like HBO Max for example, through SharePlay. It’s not clear yet whether you could circumvent this by sharing your video stream via screen-share instead of through the app itself, or if services like Netflix that haven’t inked an official deal with Apple will still be available for SharePlay, perhaps with a less optimized user experience.
SharePlay isn’t the only thing Apple announced at WWDC 2021. Check out, including upgrades to and , plus all the in and some welcome , like a service that helps you .