With the latest version of iOS, Apple is turning FaceTime into a platform for watching videos and listening to tunes together, allowing users to not only listen to songs on Apple Music with friends but also set up watch parties for Apple TV+ and third-party streaming services like Disney+ and HBO Max.
Unveiled Monday during its annual WWDC keynote, the upcoming SharePlay feature will let you bring both music and videos into FaceTime calls, similar to Spotify’s Group Session feature and the existing watch party functionality on such streaming video services as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu.
For Apple Music, you and your FaceTime crew will be able to listen to synched up, “high quality” tunes, and those on the call will be able to add tracks to a shared queue, as well as play, pause, or skip tracks.
You’ll also be able to launch a supported streaming video app while in a FaceTime call and watch movies and TV shows with your friends, with the stream going into a picture-in-picture window if you want to open a second app, visit a website, or perform another activity on your iOS device.
Naturally, the SharePlay feature will work with music and videos on Apple Music and Apple’s TV app, but it also supports third-party video services via an API. Among the services already onboard are Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount+, Pluto TV, NBA TV, Twitch, TikTok, MasterClass, and ESPN+.
SharePlay will extend to Apple TV for big-screen watch party sessions, and it will also work on the newly announced on-the-web version of FaceTime, which means Android and Windows users can join in.
Look for iOS 16 and SharePlay to arrive in the fall.