With the release of iOS 15 on Monday, Apple debuted a new feature for FaceTime that would have made all those family video calls in 2020 a lot more entertaining. The new feature is called SharePlay.
Basically, SharePlay lets you do more things when you’re on FaceTime calls. You can stream a movie as a group or you can listen to a song together, and anyone on the call would have the power to pause the movie or rewind the song.
Right now, the SharePlay feature works with Apple TV and Apple Music. Later this year, SharePlay will be compatible with the following streaming services, Apple says: Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, NBA, Twitch, TikTok, MasterClass, ESPN+, Paramount+ and PlutoTV.
You’ll also be able to share your screen on FaceTime, much like you can on Zoom from your computer. With screen sharing, Apple says you’ll be able to show your friends and family photos from your last vacation or show them apartment listings you’re considering.
Apple announced some other improvements to FaceTime, as well. You’ll soon have the option to see everyone you’re talking to in a grid view. You can also use “portrait mode” to put yourself in focus on camera and blur your background while on a call.
Similarly, you’ll also have options to isolate your voice from background noise or, when it’s important, ensure background noise is being picked up by the microphone – something that could help with a virtual music lesson, for example.
iOS 15 also allows you to invite anyone to a FaceTime call, even if they’re an Android user.
The update brings changes to messages, notifications, photos and search features. For the full breakdown, check out Apple’s announcement here.