One of the new features promised by iOS 15 is the ability to share your iPhone and iPad screen during FaceTime sessions, allowing you to watch movies, music, and other media with friends and family. While this new feature, known as SharePlay, was not included in the first version of iOS 15, it has been included in iOS 15.1 and can now be used — to a limited extent.
You can currently share content from Apple TV and Apple Music (assuming both of you are subscribers) as well as a few other apps. For example, I had no trouble sharing a YouTube video; other apps supported include HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney Plus (but not Netflix). It is reasonable to expect that the list of shareable apps will continue to grow.
Once you’ve installed iOS 15.1, it’s very simple to use the new SharePlay feature.
- Begin a FaceTime call. Check that everyone else in the session has iOS 15.1 installed.
- On the upper right side of the screen, you should notice a new icon that looks like a small figure in front of a screen. Tap on it.
- You’ll notice a drop-down button labeled “Share My Screen.” If you click on that, you’ll be able to share your screen with your friend.
You can now show your FaceTime friend your home screen, play a YouTube video, or listen to the same Apple Music track. All they have to do to switch to the other person’s screen is tap on their SharePlay icon.
Another option for sharing an app is to simply launch it during a FaceTime call. If SharePlay is available, a pop-up menu will appear asking if you want to use SharePlay or if you want the video or music to be played only for you.
You can also return to your FaceTime app at any time, tap on the SharePlay icon, and select End SharePlay.
The new SharePlay feature in iOS 15.1 is likely to be well-liked. It will allow friends and family to chat while watching videos or listening to music, business associates to discuss a spreadsheet while out and about, and it will make it easier to share and comment on your most recent group photos. And as Apple adds more apps that support SharePlay, it should only get better.