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What is SharePlay? iOS 15 brings communal music and movies to FaceTime calls

Apple has announced SharePlay for iOS 15, a new way to enjoy media with friends within FaceTime calls.

The new feature is designed to enable co-listening to songs from Apple Music, or joint viewing of TV shows and movies from Apple TV Plus, as well as other streaming apps like Disney Plus.

SharePlay music

In a demonstration at WWDC 2021, Apple’s iOS boss Craig Federighi revealed the new feature, showing iPhone users enjoying the new Wolf Alice album together from Apple Music.

The new feature integrates the audio for both parties enabling the conversation to continue. It’s not really clear how well that’s going to work in real time yet, but we’re looking forward to giving it a try.

SharePlay video

SharePlay is also coming to video content as well. We’ve seen plenty of streaming services add ‘watch party’ style features during the pandemic, enabling families and friends to enjoy family movie nights while apart.

SharePlay will bring this to Apple TV Plus shows like Ted Lasso, For All Mankind and Mythic Quest. You’ll be able to watch the content within the FaceTime call while still viewing a thumbnail of the viewing partner for all those “OMG” reactions.

Apple also said third-party apps are going to support SharePlay with Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN Plus, Paramount Plus and TikTok among those part of the rollout thanks to a new SharePlay API. Interestingly, if users have an Apple TV device they’ll be able to watch the content onto their television while the FaceTime call showcases the entire group.

Trusted Take

This is definitely a wait and see feature. On the surface of it, trying to hear the music while also enjoying a conversation sounds like it could be quite difficult, so it’ll be about the execution. We like that Apple is adding a watch party feature for video content and it’s great to see that so many third-party apps are on board. It’ll surely work better on iPad than iPhone and if you have an Apple TV even better.

SharePlay will be available as part of iOS 15, which is currently being showcased at Apple’s WWDC 2021 keynote. We’re expecting it to be part of iPadOS 15 too, and tvOS 15, both of which will likely be revealed shortly during the annual event

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