Apple in June announced some, including the ability to . Upgrades arrived with 's public beta and will be widely released this fall, when the is also expected to make an appearance. (You can right now, .) One of FaceTime's buzziest features, SharePlay, lets iPhone users host virtual watch parties, share their screens and more -- all within a FaceTime video call. And while the vaccine rollout means more people are venturing out for , the new watch party feature is a great option if you're still uncomfortable with crowds or live far from your date.
Right now, functionality is limited and you can only use the feature if both you and your date have the iOS 15 beta installed on your device, but soon SharePlay will be available for all compatible iPhones. With SharePlay, you can stream the same movie or TV show as your date, just like you can with, but with the added benefit of video chat courtesy of FaceTime. Teleparty and a lot of other watch party apps only enable synchronized video streaming and an instant messaging component. You can also use SharePlay to share music (virtual dance party, anyone?) or 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 simple and intuitive with SharePlay. When you stream movies or TV shows with your date, 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.
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 a date 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.
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
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, as were YouTube and. There's still time before the iOS 15 wide release, which is expected this fall, and developers have early beta access to iOS 15 so they can add the SharePlay API to their respective apps in the meantime. Apps that opt not to sync up with SharePlay, however, will not be available to stream in FaceTime. We reached out to Netflix, YouTube and Spotify for comment and will update this story when we hear back.
Apple also notes that a subscription may be required for both parties in order to share streaming services (like HBO Max) through SharePlay. In our iOS 15 hands-on testing, we put this to the test and verified that not only do both parties need a subscription to the app being shared (if applicable), but they also need to have the app itself downloaded on both devices. So if your date wants to SharePlay a TikTok video and you don't have the TikTop app installed, you won't be able to see the video over FaceTime. And before you get too excited, you also won't be able to circumvent this by sharing your video stream via screen-share instead of through the app itself.
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 .