If you were excited about the release of iOS 15 last fall and then let Apple's regular software updates roll on, you might have missed a handy FaceTime screen-sharing feature that debuted with iOS 15.1: SharePlay.
You may never have needed or wanted to share your screen with someone on FaceTime, but if you work remotely, live far away from your friends and family, or simply enjoy jumping on video calls for the thrill of it (we won't judge), SharePlay can help.
Of course, you'll need to know how to share your screen before you can collaborate on a shared document or get a real-time reaction to a ridiculous TikTok video.
How to Share Your iPhone or iPad Screen
The first step is to ensure that your device is running iOS 15.1 or iPadOS 15.1. If your scheduled FaceTime screen-sharing session fails or you don't see a screen-sharing icon, it's possible that you haven't updated your phone or tablet.
After that, launch the FaceTime app and initiate a call (select someone from the list of recent calls or tap New FaceTime and add a contact via the plus icon or by typing their name in the text box).
Then, click the screen-sharing button, which looks like a person's silhouette next to a rectangle, followed by Share My Screen. If you're in a SharePlay-enabled app, such as Apple Music or Apple TV, you might see a share content button that looks like a person standing in front of some WiFi waves.
When you're the recipient of a screen-share, you'll see an alert that says Join Screen Sharing; tap Open to accept it.
Tap the screen-sharing or share content button to end screen sharing. You can also simply end the call. If you want to switch back to sharing your screen, tap the share content button, then Share My Screen, and finally Replace Existing.
How to Share Your Mac's Screen
SharePlay debuted on Apple's computers shortly after it debuted on iOS and iPadOS. Monterey, the operating system you'll need here is the most recent version of macOS, so make sure it's installed on your device before proceeding.
Begin a FaceTime call, then launch the app you want to share, just as you would on iOS or iPadOS. To return to the video call, click the FaceTime button in the menu bar (it looks like a video camera), then the screen-sharing button (a person next to a rectangle), and select whether you want to share the app window or your entire screen.
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If you select Window, navigate to the app you want to share, and then like Share This Window. Select Screen, then move your mouse pointer to any part of the screen and click Share This Screen. To stop sharing, click the FaceTime button, then the Stop Sharing button.
How to Use Share play
Apple anticipates that people will want to share music and other media during FaceTime calls, so the company has built this capability into apps such as Apple Music and Apple TV.
Anyone on the call who has access to the content can listen to or watch it. Anyone else will be prompted to subscribe, begin a free trial, or do whatever else will allow them to participate.
Other apps may eventually include SharePlay support, and some have already done so. When people are scrolling through videos on SharePlay, TikTok, for example, displays the users For You page as a For Us page.
If the app isn't SharePlay-compatible, you can share your screen via FaceTime, and everyone on the call should be able to see what's on your screen. However, if you're trying to share something that requires a subscription, this may not work.
Aside from subscription content, anyone on your FaceTime call can see whatever's on your screen, so make sure nothing sensitive is visible.
Fortunately, the screen-sharing feature will display a three-second countdown before broadcasting an embarrassing Google search to your parents, so you won't accidentally do so. You've had more than enough drama in your life.
Is It Possible to Use Facetime Screen Sharing on Android or Windows Devices?
Unfortunately, you cannot share your screen with Android/Windows users, which is a bummer in the traditional caged iOS fashion. Users with an iPhone, iPad, or MacBook can share or view the user's screen; you guessed it, the SharePlay functionality is only available to Apple users, not Android/Windows users.