Update (December 14, 2021): Apple has released a new update for macOS Monterey 12.1 that adds support for SharePlay. Now, you can simply call any of your friends through Facetime and watch videos or listen to music together using supported apps like Apple TV and Apple Music. If your friends haven’t joined SharePlay, they’ll get a request when you start playing a title.
If there was one positive to come out of the pandemic, it was the realization that watching shows and movies remotely with friends is actually Very Good™.
And with the launch of iOS 15.1, Apple’s getting involved. So say hello to SharePlay. The feature was announced as a part of iOS 15 back in June at the company’s WWDC developer conference, but its roll out was delayed.
SharePlay is upping the ante compared with other apps that allow remote viewing. Here’s a short list of what you can do with this new feature:
- Listen to tracks on Apple Music together with time-synced lyrics. You can read more about it here.
- Work out with your friends on Apple Fitness+. Here’s the guide on how to do that.
- Watch shows and movies on Apple TV+ together. You can also do this on supported apps such as ESPN+, Disney+, Hulu, and TikTok support is coming soon.
- Play games with friends on a Facetime call. Here are some titles you can start with.
- There’s a screen-sharing feature that could be used to browse the web, read an article, or look at your shopping list together.
You’ll have control to play, pause, rewind, and fast forward tracks or videos while using SharePlay. Plus, you can cast a video through AirPlay on your Apple TV, while you continue your Facetime call on your phone.
What’s more, the feature automatically lowers the volume of the song or the video when you or one of your friends are speaking.
SharePlay is supported all across Apple platforms: iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and tvOS. Unfortunately, the latest macOS (that’s Monterey by the way) doesn’t support it yet, so you’ll have to wait for it.
It’s a little unusual to see such a big feature in a small update, but I’m not complaining. Although the peak time of remotely watching content with friends has probably passed, it’s a damn useful feature to be baked into iOS.
There is a big downside though: this is only limited to Apple devices.
SharePlay would be perfect if it would work on Android or Windows devices, but, honestly, I’d be shocked if Apple ever released it on those platforms. Which is a crying shame.
What else is there in iOS 15.1?
The new iOS 15.1 update also has other improvements:
- ProRes video support for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Mandarin translation in the Translate app.
- New HomeKit triggers based on humidity, air quality, and light level sensor.
You can read all the changes here.
You can update your iOS device right now by going to Settings > General > Software Update, and downloading the iOS 15.1 update. Happy sharing!
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