Watching a movie or listening to your favorite song is often more enjoyable when you can share the experience with friends or family members. But you can't always easily get together in person. If you're an Apple user, though, you can meet virtually to share that experience thanks to SharePlay on Mac. All you have to do is get everyone on a FaceTime call, where you can collectively listen to songs on Apple Music, watch a film or TV show with Apple TV, or simply share whatever you're doing and viewing on your screen.
SharePlay is available on Macs with macOS Monterey 12.1 or higher. To check your current OS version, click the Apple icon in the upper left and select About this Mac. If the window shows an older version of macOS, click Software Update to download and install the latest version.
Only certain apps work with SharePlay at the moment, but more are being updated to support the feature. You’ll find a healthy host of apps that work with SharePlay on an iPhone or iPad, but SharePlay on Mac is more limited, mainly because there aren't as many third-party apps in the Mac App Store. The ability to share your screen in FaceTime helps make up for these limitations.
Keep in mind that in order to share content from a subscription service, all users must have their own subscription to the app. Similarly, if you watch a movie or TV show that has been paid for, all SharePlay participants must also have purchased the item to watch it together.
Apple’s App Store Preview page for SharePlay notes some of the supported apps for the iPhone and iPad. The following list reveals a few that you can try on your Mac as well.
Before you can use SharePlay, make sure it has been enabled in FaceTime's settings. Open the app and go to FaceTime > Preferences, then click the SharePlay tab and check the box next to SharePlay, if it's not already selected. You can then place a video call to all the individuals who want to join in on the shared activity. Then fire up an app that you want to share with the other people on the call. Here’s how a few different apps work with SharePlay.
To share songs from Apple Music, everyone on the call needs their own Apple Music subscription. After starting your FaceTime call, open the Music app and select an album or song from your music library or from Apple’s online selections. Click the Play button and click SharePlay from the pop-up menu.
The other people on the call will receive a Join SharePlay notification; each person should select the Open button, then Join SharePlay to make the music start playing for everyone. The next time you rev up a song from Apple Music over a FaceTime call, it should automatically play for every participant.
After starting your FaceTime call, open the Apple TV app and start playing a movie or TV show. A SharePlay menu will appear; click SharePlay to share your current video with the other people on the call. Everyone will need to select Open on the notification banner, then choose Join SharePlay so the video starts playing on all devices.
You can play a game with everyone on the call if you all install Guessing Game for SharePlay. Launch the app during your FaceTime call and click one of the options to start a game. Select a category from the pack, then click the SharePlay button from the pop-up menu.
In order to join your game, everyone else on the FaceTime call will need to choose Open from the notification, then choose Join SharePlay. The game should then appear on everyone's screen. You can each try to guess the answer for a question by selecting it on your screen or by speaking it out loud.
After each person installs Piano with Friends on their device, start your FaceTime call and launch the app. Click the SharePlay icon in the upper right of the screen and select SharePlay. Others can join the game by choosing Open from the notification on their screen, then selecting Join SharePlay. You can then all play the virtual piano by tapping the keys.
Instead of sharing supported apps directly, you can also share any window on your screen or the whole screen. To do this, kick off your FaceTime call, then click the SharePlay button (the third button in the lower left). At the FaceTime video-sharing window, choose Window to share a single open window or click Screen to share the entire screen.
You can then open any app or window, and the screen—along with your activity on it—will be shared with the other people on the call. Tap Stop Sharing Screen at any time to stop the screen sharing.
Once you set up SharePlay, the apps you share will now share content with others automatically. You can change these settings if you open FaceTime and choose FaceTime > Preferences, then click the SharePlay tab. Uncheck SharePlay to turn the feature off completely.
You can also customize supported apps such as Apple Music and Apple TV to determine whether these apps automatically start a SharePlay session or are started by you manually. If the switch is checked, then the sharing should kick in automatically. If the box is unchecked, you must manually activate the SharePlay session.
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