In the ever-evolving world of technology, staying connected with friends and family is more important than ever. Apple's SharePlay feature on the iPhone brings a new level of interaction to digital hangouts, allowing you to share experiences like watching movies, listening to music together, or even playing supported multiplayer games in Game Center, even when miles apart.

Let's dive into how you can make the most out of this feature.

What is SharePlay

SharePlay, introduced in iOS 15.1, is Apple’s answer to a more connected, interactive experience with your contacts. It integrates seamlessly with FaceTime, allowing you to share your screen, watch videos, or listen to music in sync with others during a call.

With synced playback and shared controls, you see and hear the same moments at the same time. It also features smart volume, where media audio is adjusted dynamically so you can continue to chat while watching or listening.

If SharePlay content requires a subscription or purchase, each individual in the call will need separate access on their device to be able to view it/ listen to it. For example, if you want to watch a show on Apple TV together, everyone on the call must have their own Apple TV subscription, or they'll be left out. They can sign up for the subscription/ free trial (if it's available) on the call itself, as the app will show the option.

SharePlay can be enjoyed in a variety of apps, from Apple TV, Apple Music, Spotify, Disney+, Hulu, YouTube, Fitness, Kahoot!, to TikTok, and more.

Using SharePlay

Before you begin, make sure your and your friends' iPhones are updated to iOS 15.1 or later. SharePlay is also supported on iPadOS 15.1, macOS 12.1, and tvOS 15.1 for users joining from a device other than iPhone.

  1. To use SharePlay, start a FaceTime call.
  2. Then, tap on the 'Share' button from the toolbar with call controls.
  3. Select the app under 'Listen and Play Together' from where you want to share the content. For this guide, we're demonstrating the process using the Apple Music app.
  1. That app will open. Alternatively, you can also directly go to an app that supports SharePlay. You'll get a banner saying "Content Will SharePlay Automatically" in a supported app.
  2. Then, play the song you want to listen to (or, the show/ movie you want to watch for other apps). If an option appears, select 'Play for Everyone'; if it doesn't, SharePlay will begin automatically.
  1. Other users in the call will when you begin a SharePlay session; they might also have to tap 'Open' on a 'Join SharePlay' message on their screens.
  2. You'll be able to see the number of active users in the session with the '[N] listening' option in the app.
  1. For users who have access to the content, SharePlay content will start streaming at the same time. Everyone in the video will also have access to the controls, and they can play, pause, fast-forward, and rewind the content, and it will be synced for the whole group.
  2. Other options, like enabling the captions or changing the volume, are controlled separately for each person in the call.
  3. To end the SharePlay session, go to the call and tap the 'Share' icon.
  4. Then, tap 'End SharePlay' from the menu that appears.
  1. You'll get a pop-up asking if you want to end the SharePlay for everyone or only you; choose accordingly.
  2. If you end the FaceTime call without ending the SharePlay session, you'll get a notification asking if you want to 'Continue' SharePlay activity or 'Leave'. You can then choose according to your preference.

Starting SharePlay from the app

You can also start a FaceTime SharePlay session from within the app itself if the app supports SharePlay. Your iPhone must be upgraded to iOS 15.4 or later to use this feature. For this guide, let's see how with the example of the Apple TV app.

  1. Open the Apple TV app and go to the content you want to SharePlay.
  2. Then, tap the 'Share' button in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap on 'SharePlay' from the share sheet.
  1. Then, enter the name of the contacts in the 'To' field and tap on 'FaceTime' at the bottom to start the call.
  2. Once the call has connected, tap 'Play ' on the content you want to watch or tap 'Start' from the banner in the FaceTime call.
  3. The recipients will get a 'Join SharePlay' request on their screen; they'll need to tap 'Open' to join.

You can also start a SharePlay session in iMessage instead of a FaceTime call.

How to Use SharePlay in iMessage on iPhone with iOS 16
Want to SharePlay with buddies but don’t wish to start a FaceTime call? You can now SharePlay the media together over Messages instead.

Moreover, with iOS 17, you can even initiate SharePlay sessions with AirDrop by simply tapping your iPhones together.

How to Start a SharePlay Session Using AirDrop on iPhone
Simply start watching content or listening to music together by bringing your iPhones close.

SharePlay is a great feature that enhances the FaceTime experience and allows users to feel more connected when watching or listening to content remotely.