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Apple New SharePlay Feature Introduces Co-Viewing Experience to FaceTime and Stream Videos with Your Friends

Jason Gurwin

During their 2021 WWDC Keynote, Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, announced a brand new feature coming to FaceTime. The feature dubbed “SharePlay”, will allow you to share music and videos with your friends during a FaceTime call.

The feature which will be part of iOS15, will keep a video stream in-sync so you watch with your friends. In addition of being able to watch on your phone, you can AirPlay while still streaming your FaceTime camera on your phone. Those on FaceTime can “Play”, “Pause”, “Fast-Forward”, “Rewind”, and change what you’re watching.

While at the outset it will work with Apple Music and Apple TV+, the company is introducing the SharePlay API which will allow third-party video and audio apps to implement the feature. Federighi shared that top streaming apps including Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, ESPN+, Paramount+, Pluto TV, and NBA App have begun to implement the feature. On top of that, social streaming apps like Twitch and TikTok will as well.

While the company is expected to roll-out a beta of the feature to developer today, it will roll-out to all customers this Fall.

Co-viewing experiences have been a major trend during the pandemic, with services like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, while third-party services like Netflix Party and Scener have filled the void for Netflix and HBO respectively. Disney also launched a co-viewing feature for Disney+. For live content, Sling TV and Yahoo Sports! added the ability to live stream sports with your friends.

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