A Valentine’s Day virtual date idea that every iPhone user can try

When Apple first introduced SharePlay, a screen-sharing feature in the iPhone’s FaceTime app, distant couples (and groups of friends!) rejoiced. SharePlay would make virtual movie nights a breeze.

That was in the days of iOS 15 – iOS 16.3 is the current version – but SharePlay is still a really great part of the iPhone experience and one of FaceTime’s biggest updates, making Apple a major competitor to Zoom and Teleparty (formerly known as a Netflix party). If you haven’t tried it yet, tonight is the night. What better time for a virtual movie night with your far-off partner than Valentine’s Day?

READ ALSO: This Secret Netflix Menu Will Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day

What exactly is SharePlay? It’s a FaceTime feature that lets iPhone, iPad, and Mac users share screens — and streams — with each other. You can use SharePlay to share your screen with your partner, watch movies, listen to songs, and more while on a FaceTime call. Here’s how to set it up.

How to use SharePlay stream shows and movies with FaceTime

Hosting a watch party in FaceTime is easy and intuitive with SharePlay. When you stream movies or TV shows with your significant other, the content syncs across devices, allowing both parties access to the controls. And you still see and hear yourself picture-in-picture as you watch. Streaming services that have partnered with Apple for SharePlay include Hulu, HBO Max, TikTok, Apple Fitness Plus, Twitch, Spotify, ESPN Plus, and many more.

To use SharePlay, both parties must use FaceTime on an Apple device (and you must update to at least iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, or macOS Monterey 12.1). Another cool feature of SharePlay is that you can cast to your Apple TV while keeping the FaceTime call on your iPhone. That way you don’t have to squint at a tiny screen while your friend’s face blocks the show.

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Shared streaming video can be cast from an iPhone to an Apple TV when using SharePlay in FaceTime.


To set up SharePlay in FaceTime:

1. Start a FaceTime call.

2. While connected to the call, open a streaming app and select a show or movie.

3. Press play and both parties can watch the same stream at the same time.

How to listen to music with SharePlay

Not a big movie fan? Here’s an alternative virtual date idea: Make a playlist just for your significant other, then use SharePlay to listen to it together. When sharing music, both parties 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 in Apple Music.

Both parties can add songs to a shared queue in FaceTime.


To share music with SharePlay:

1. Start a FaceTime call.

2. Open Apple Music and select a song.

3. Press play and the song will play on both devices at the same time.

Sharing music in a FaceTime call.

Apple How to use SharePlay to share your screen in FaceTime

Like Zoom, FaceTime lets you share your screen with others on the call with SharePlay, allowing you to share more than just music and videos. Use cases suggested by Apple include planning a trip together, browsing Zillow with future roommates, showing off a video game, or helping a friend with a tech problem by walking them through settings to change. This feature also works on Apple devices, which means you can share your Mac screen or your iPhone or iPad screen in one call.

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One downside: SharePlay’s subscription problem

Netflix and YouTube are just two of the apps that don’t sync with SharePlay – although a workaround for YouTube is to just share your screen, not the app. Apple also notes that sharing streaming services like HBO Max or Disney Plus via SharePlay requires a subscription for both parties.

We put this to the test and found that not only might both parties need a subscription to the app being shared, but the app itself needs to be downloaded on both devices. So if your significant other wants to share a TikTok video and you don’t have the TikTok app installed, you won’t be able to see the video via FaceTime.

For more iPhone’s latest tricks, check out iOS 16.3’s best new features — such as: B. the ability to edit and cancel messages. Plus, here are some Valentine’s Day gifts you can get at restaurants, and here’s how to have a Happy Valentine’s Day even if you’re single.

Initially published June 9, 2021 at 12:15 pm PT.