SharePlay 101: How to Watch TV and Listen to Music with Friends on FaceTime

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Watching a movie or listening to a song is often more satisfying when you share the experience with other people. But unless your friends and family can come over to your place at all times, this type of shared experience may not always be achievable, at least not in person. Instead, why not go virtual, thanks to Apple’s SharePlay feature.

Many video streaming services already have virtual surveillance features, but only SharePlay allows you to share video and audio content from multiple apps on Apple devices. You first bring people together in a FaceTime video call. From there, you can share TV shows and movies through Hulu or Disney +, songs through Apple Music, and videos to MasterClass, TikTok, and Twitch. You also have the option to share your screen.


SharePlay Requirements

To participate in a SharePlay session, any participating mobile device must be running iOS 15.1 or higher or iPadOS 15.1 or higher. Open Settings> General> Software updates on your device. You will be notified that your operating system is up to date or you will be prompted to download and install the latest update. Mac support is expected to release with macOS Monterey 12.1.

To share content from an app that requires a subscription, all viewers must have their own subscription. To watch a purchased movie or TV show, all attendees must also have purchased the item in order to watch it together.

SharePlay currently only works with certain apps. The Apple App Store overview page for SharePlay has a list of supported apps:

Audio applications

Video applications

Training applications

Various applications


Enable sharing

enable sharing

Before you can share content through FaceTime, you need to make sure SharePlay is enabled on your device. Go to Settings> FaceTime> SharePlay and turn on the switch to SharePlay if it is not done yet. Everyone you invite to the call should do the same.

You can then launch FaceTime and make a video call to people who want to join the shared activity. (If you need help making a Group FaceTime call, check out our guide.) Now let’s see how SharePlay works with a variety of supported apps.


Apple Music

sharing options

To share songs from Apple Music, all of you need to have Apple Music subscriptions. After starting your FaceTime call, open Apple Music. Select an album or song from your music library or Apple’s online playlists and press the button. To play button.

A menu should appear with three options: SharePlay, Start For Me Only, and Cancel. To share your current song with others on the call, tap SharePlay. The song should start playing on all devices during the call.

apple music

However, we have seen mixed results with Apple Music and SharePlay. A song would play sometimes and not play another time. In several cases, the music indicated that it was loading but never managed to play. Other times an error message said “this media type is not available when using SharePlay in the Music app” even though it was the same music that worked before.

If you are having similar issues, there are some troubleshooting steps you need to take, such as making sure everyone’s device has been updated to iOS 15.1 or iPadOS 15.1, sign out of FaceTime, and then sign back in, and even restart your devices.


Apple TV +

Apple tv

After you start your FaceTime call, open the Apple TV + app. Start playing a movie or TV show and the SharePlay menu will appear. To share your current video with others on the call, tap SharePlay.

join the share

Those on the call should press Open at the Join SharePlay prompt, and then press the Join SharePlay. The video will then start playing on all devices.


TIC Tac

TIC Tac

In the case of TikTok, the rest of the call does not need the app installed on their devices to view the video content. Start your FaceTime call and open the TikTok app. Press the Choose the content to use SharePlay notification at the top of the screen. Tap the last icon in the FaceTime Video toolbar at the top and select Share my screen. You can then play a video and other people will see it on their screens.


Tic

share tic

Other people on the call also don’t need Twitch installed to watch video streams. Start your FaceTime call and open the Twitch app. Press the Choose the content to use SharePlay notification at the top of the screen. Tap the last icon in the FaceTime Video toolbar at the top and select Share my screen. Select a video to open a streaming video and it will be shared on all participating devices.

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Apple Fitness +

apple fitness

All participants must have an Apple Fitness + subscription to share content. After initiating the FaceTime call, launch the Apple Fitness app on your iPhone or iPad. Press the Choose the content to use SharePlay notification at the top of the screen. Tap the last icon in the FaceTime Video toolbar at the top and select Share my screen.

join the share

Tap the button of a workout video you want to play. At the SharePlay Fitness content prompt, choose SharePlay. Others on the call should press the Open button next to the notification to join SharePlay. The video is then shared among everyone on the call.


Share your screen

share screen

Instead of sharing content from a supported app, you can also share any window on your screen. To do this, initiate your FaceTime call. Tap the screen sharing icon in the FaceTime video toolbar, and then select Share my screen.

screen sharing

Now open any app or window and the screen will be split between the other people in the call. Your activity on the screen will also be visible to those present.


Adjust your SharePlay settings

sharing settings

Once you have enabled SharePlay for a certain Apple app, it will stay automatic for the next sharing session. For example, if you share music through Apple Music, it should automatically start playing for everyone the next time you step up a song for a sharing session. You can change this setting under Settings> FaceTime> SharePlay.

Any Apple apps you previously shared will show up under the SharePlay Automatically heading. Disable all apps listed if you don’t want to automatically share them next time. Disabling this option will require you to manually tap Share my screen every time, just like setting it up for the first time.

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