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Apple in iOS 15 is making major changes to the FaceTime app, introducing a whole range of new features that turn FaceTime into the ultimate hub for interacting with friends, family, coworkers, and more.

ios-15-facetime-guide.jpg

Our FaceTime guide outlines everything that's new in the FaceTime app in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, and many of these features are also in macOS Monterey and can even be used in tvOS 15. We've also included detailed how tos and tutorials so you can dive right into FaceTime after upgrading.

SharePlay

SharePlay is FaceTime's biggest new feature, and it's basically a way for you to do more on FaceTime calls with your friends and family. You can watch TV together, listen to music, and share your screen.

facetime-shareplay-screenshots-mythic-quest.jpg

Watch Movies and TV

When you're on a FaceTime call, you can choose to stream movies or TV shows and everyone on the call will see the same synced playback and controls. You can watch on the iPhone or iPad, or swap over to the Apple TV to watch on the big screen while you continue your call.

facetime-shareplay-tv-show.jpg

As you chat and watch, the volume will automatically adjust so that you can hear everyone talking without missing the show.

You can FaceTime, watch content, and also do other things on your iPhone for the ultimate multitasking experience.

Listen to Music

If you play an Apple Music song while on a FaceTime call with friends, everyone can hear what's playing and can contribute to a shared music queue. The SharePlay music interface offers up synced playback controls, and everyone can see what's coming up next.

facetime-music-sharing.jpg

You can listen to music over your iPhone, or send it over to the HomePod while remaining on the FaceTime call.

Share Your Screen

Apple has long allowed screen sharing over Messages on the Mac, and this year, that functionality is coming to the iPhone and iPad too. You can share your iPhone's screen with everyone on the call, which is useful when you're planning a vacation, choosing a movie, browsing through a photo album, and more.

facetime-screen-share.jpg

SharePlay Messages

If you're on a FaceTime call but want to send a quick link or image over to the group, you can access your group Messages chat right from the call.

Create a FaceTime Link

Apple changed how FaceTime works in iOS 15, so you can create something more akin to a Zoom link, but for FaceTime. You can make a FaceTime link that other people can tap to join your FaceTime call.

facetime-create-web-link.jpg

Links let you schedule FaceTime calls in advance and then share the links with others so everyone can join the meeting or group chat at the appropriate time. FaceTime integrates directly with the Apple Calendar app.

To create a link, just open up the FaceTime app and then tap the "Create Link" option next to "New FaceTime." You can share the link in a text message, another messaging service, an email, or AirDrop it, and people can click it to join in.

FaceTime on PCs and Android Devices

Apple created FaceTime links because there's a new option to join FaceTime calls on the web, which means PC and Android users can participate in FaceTime for the first time.

facetime-android.jpg

An iPhone, Mac, or iPad user needs to create a FaceTime link, but once created, anyone can tap it to join. To join from the web, Chrome or Edge browsers are required. FaceTime from the web works on-on-one or in Group FaceTime calls.
Spatial Audio

FaceTime supports Spatial Audio in iOS 15, so if you're chatting with multiple people and their pictures are in different spots on your screen, it sounds like their voices are coming from the right spot on your device.

facetime-spatial-audio.jpg

Apple says that individual voices are meant to sound like they're coming from the direction in which each person is positioned on the screen, which is meant to make conversations flow more naturally.

Spatial Audio requires an iPhone with the A12 Bionic or later.

Grid View

FaceTime in iOS 15 has a new Grid View, which puts FaceTime on par with other videoconferencing apps. You can organize everyone into the same-size tiles, and the person speaking is automatically highlighted.

facetime-grid-view.jpg

Portrait Mode

FaceTime's Portrait Mode blurs out the background behind you and puts the focus on you. An A12 Bionic chip or later is required for this feature.

facetime-portrait-mode.jpg

Microphone modes

There are two microphone modes in iOS 15. Voice Isolation is designed to minimize background noises to focus on your voice, while Wide Spectrum makes sure the ambient noise is audible, something that's ideal for group calls.

Mute Alerts

If you're on a FaceTime call and you start talking while muted, you'll see an alert on your iPhone that lets you know the mute button is on.

Zoom

While using the rear-facing camera on a FaceTime call, there's an option to zoom in on what's on the screen.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about FaceTime in iOS 15, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Article Link: Everything That's New in the iOS 15 FaceTime App: SharePlay, Android Support, Spatial Audio and More
 
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ericinboston

macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2008
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Before downloading iOS 15 for my 7Plus, I would love to know the exact details of how I can play a song from my Library (not Apple Music...an MP3 I pushed onto my iPhone from iTunes) and hopefully the person on the other end of Facetime can hear it clearly...and hopefully they can adjust the volume (of the song) on their end. There have been countless times where I wanted to play a piece of a song and I had to go get my iPod touch and connect it to a bluetooth speaker while using my iPhone 7 Plus to make the Facetime call.

If anyone could post the details that would be terrific!
 

SpringKid

macrumors regular
May 17, 2019
158
252
Before downloading iOS 15 for my 7Plus, I would love to know the exact details of how I can play a song from my Library (not Apple Music...an MP3 I pushed onto my iPhone from iTunes) and hopefully the person on the other end of Facetime can hear it clearly...and hopefully they can adjust the volume (of the song) on their end. There have been countless times where I wanted to play a piece of a song and I had to go get my iPod touch and connect it to a bluetooth speaker while using my iPhone 7 Plus to make the Facetime call.

If anyone could post the details that would be terrific!
Details, from the article...

If you play an Apple Music song while on a FaceTime call with friends, everyone can hear what's playing and can contribute to a shared music queue. The SharePlay music interface offers up synced playback controls, and everyone can see what's coming up next.
 
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noraa

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2003
366
832
Wow FaceTime now has features Zoom has had for 5 years now.

Innovative company

So Apple just shouldn't have done any of this, since another company has done it already? That's a pretty weird thing to take away from these updates...

Bottom line: lots of fluff. Just slowly adding things that they should have done 5 years ago.
Very few things there that many people will find find actually useful.
Just because you don't find these things useful doesn't mean other's won't. I know a fair number of people who simply don't like Zoom, and prefer FaceTime. A lot of these features interest them.
 

gaximus

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2011
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I would love to be able to do the SharePlay in person. I sometimes have people over and play music thought AirPlay, and have to get my phone out and add the the playlist every-time someone wants to add a song. Would love to share that playlist and have people be able to update it. And a shared playlist is not the same thing, don't want to create a new playlist for every gathering.
 
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RumorConsumer

macrumors 65816
Jun 16, 2016
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Does anybody know if you can use content NOT purchased on the Apple Music or Apple TV store? Like if i load my own video on my phone and play it, can i bridge others in? I wonder if when you play a show from Apple TV if the local phone pulls the file from Apple TV independently or if it sends it over FT.
 

ericinboston

macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2008
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Details, from the article...

If you play an Apple Music song while on a FaceTime call with friends, everyone can hear what's playing and can contribute to a shared music queue. The SharePlay music interface offers up synced playback controls, and everyone can see what's coming up next.
Sorry, I should have been more clear. I saw that blurb in the article but I'm looking for a real end-to-end review of this new feature...exactly how it works and all the different ways it can be used and controlled.
 
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trigf

macrumors 6502
Jun 16, 2009
278
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I'm looking forward to SharePlay. One thing I started doing during the pandemic was hosting watch and listen parties over Discord for my friends, and it's something that I don't see changing anytime soon. Unfortunately, Discord for macOS won't stream audio from iTunes or web browsers, so I've had to use my husband's Windows laptop to stream.

Hopefully SharePlay can easily do this.

Edit: I must have some kind of cosmic powers. Discord just announced support for Mac screen share audio right after I posted this
 

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PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68040
Jul 6, 2007
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Sorry, I should have been more clear. I saw that blurb in the article but I'm looking for a real end-to-end review of this new feature...exactly how it works and all the different ways it can be used and controlled.
If I read you correctly, you would like some kind of mixer interface so you can independently control each component of the audio stream. This way you can reduce share play audio components if someone is speaking softly or you aren’t interested in the shared file.
 

jbc25

macrumors newbie
Jun 30, 2007
19
20
So Apple just shouldn't have done any of this, since another company has done it already? That's a pretty weird thing to take away from these updates...
Oh come on, you know that is no one's take on this. I'm not complaining about the features in this update, it's great to finally have them, but there is something disappointing or perhaps bittersweet to see so many basic features coming around so late to iOS. Literally years after they've been standard on other platforms. I love Apple and usually agree with their approach to not shipping features or products too soon, but honestly there are so many things lately that I feel they have simply been sleeping on for whatever reason, and are just now starting to wake up. It's too little too late. The Facetime stuff is a prime example.
 

Apple_Robert

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
27,908
34,620
In the middle of several books.
iOS 15's theme is "Sharing".

Overall, not impressed. However does make the eco system sticky if the sharing catches on.

Not thrilled with it to be honest.. especially with iPad OS.
I doubt I will use most of the new updates. However, I am glad to have them for those that will be making use of them on a regular basis. For me, security and privacy is the main focus these days and I like the steps Apple is taking.
 

UndefinedxJoker

macrumors member
Apr 22, 2014
41
228
NJ
Apple needs to update FaceTime and all of their other apps separately from OS updates. Almost all of the iOS 15 “features” are just updates to their core apps which could and should have been added throughout this past year.

Instead we get a horrible OS update that barely adds any OS level features.
 

ericinboston

macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2008
1,947
398
If I read you correctly, you would like some kind of mixer interface so you can independently control each component of the audio stream. This way you can reduce share play audio components if someone is speaking softly or you aren’t interested in the shared file.
That's not my only wish. :) But yes, that would be great. The screenshots seem to imply that may exist. Your use case is perfect...the other person on facetime may not like the song, or it may be too loud/soft, or they may wish to beam it to their bluetooth speaker while their main conversation is directly over the iPhones (how cool would that be?!). My bigger use case is that our conversations are after 10pm...I can't wake 3 kids in my house playing a song with a bluetooth speaker so my friend can hear it through his tiny iPhone speaker in ultra low def.

A friend and I routinely try to play music on our 1+ hour long Facetime calls to introduce each other to new songs, old hits, whatever. Doing it the way I explained with multiple iDevices is really not great given iOS is 15 versions old and gosh golly it's 2021! On a side note, what's bothered me since the dawn of the iPhone/iPad is that I cannot send someone my MP3 song and allow that to be stored on their iPhone/iPad. I cannot email, cannot text it, and cannot use some Apple proprietary app/feature. DRM lost the war and my issue isn't about copyrights and Apple shouldn't be the Copyright Police. But darn it, I should be able to send say, 5 songs at a time to someone just like photos. If I am oblivious to said feature, please let me know. :)
 
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smoking monkey

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2008
1,635
681
I HUNGER
Share and play looks great. I do that now with a buddy to watch sports as we are in different locations, but we have to sync our streams and then one of use turn the volume down and that person listens to the commentary through the other person's stream. It's not perfect, so I'm hoping this will fix this issue, but I'm wondering if facetime shares every app on the phone or is it just via Apple apps? I'm assuming just Apple Apps.... pity.
 
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AussieMacLaw

macrumors newbie
Jun 21, 2021
2
4
Dallas, TX
Some may find this trivial, but we have used Zoom at work long before the pandemic and, having family overseas, FaceTime has also been a huge daily/weekly driver in my life. One of the nice tweaks/improvements in iOS/iPadOS 15 is (A) you can now directly set-up that FaceTime Link/Scheduled FaceTime directly in Calendar itself; and (B) if you add a Zoom (or other videoconference app) event/invite to Calendar—even if you’ve copied and pasted the meeting info from Mail or Messages, etc., into the Calendar event Notes field—iOS automatically detects which video conference app/service you’re using and can launch you into the call from Calendar when it’s time. A “Join” button appears in the event. No copying, no pasting. No back-and-forth: Click “Join” when it’s time—or automatically jump in from an event alert notification—and voila, you’re in the meeting.

Is that a groundbreaking, revolutionary tent-pole feature? No. Is it a really nice, actually significant improvement to day-to-day life? Absolutely. Especially great for my family who sometimes forget how to copy or join zooms, etc., or when we agree to FaceTime.

Finally, given how stable iOS 15 Beta 1 is, overall (compared to previous Beta 1 releases, especially iOS 7, 10, 13, 14), I would much rather have polishing & ground work or foundation laid for a huge upgrade in iOS 16, versus tons of bugs and issues this year. It’s like Snow Leopard: Most, in hindsight, now regard that as one of the best Mac OS X updates ever—even though it was, much like iOS 15, not super “flashy” or full of “major” new features; rather, lots of smaller improvements that added up to a better user experience and without tons of bugs. I suspect, as others have noted, the pandemic played a big part in having 15 be smaller. Again, I’ll take it. It’s honestly a solid update in day-to-day life — and still less buggy than iOS 14 has been of late.
 

AussieMacLaw

macrumors newbie
Jun 21, 2021
2
4
Dallas, TX
Share and play looks great. I do that now with a buddy to watch sports as we are in different locations, but we have to sync our streams and then one of use turn the volume down and that person listens to the commentary through the other person's stream. It's not perfect, so I'm hoping this will fix this issue, but I'm wondering if facetime shares every app on the phone or is it just via Apple apps? I'm assuming just Apple Apps.... pity.
Overall, SharePlay will be an “opt-in” experience or feature for devs on a per app basis. So, while HBO Max, Hulu, Disney+ and Apple TV+ have all committed to adopting the feature and integrating it for launch, others, like Netflix, have not yet and won’t have to. Then, I suspect that even if you’re sharing your screen, which—based on super limited Beta testing, coupled with the information and demos from the WWDC21 Keynote—certain apps, like Netflix, will be “dark” or simply “blacked out,” so they can’t be shared or the content viewed by others. It’s like how you can’t simply access foreign Netflix pages (e.g., Netflix Australia) on an iPhone with a VPN and then AirPlay the content to your Apple TV 4K, because Netflix has blocked AirPlay use.
That said, a growing number of devs have indicated they’ll embrace the feature — it’s going to be a competitive advantage; eventually Netflix will possibly cave — and most apps do seem to function OK when doing Screen Share via SharePlay. Finally, the catch to the apps is, especially for streaming platforms and music (so, Apple Music): Everyone in the call, at least for the super majority of apps/services, has to have their own account w/ the service. So, you can’t so a SharePlay movie night for Disney+ unless everyone in the FaceTime has a D+ account (it’s not clear yet what happens if you password share, such as across family or a “household…”, so that could be a loophole…).
 

bgillander

macrumors member
Jul 14, 2007
60
16
I must have OCD, because the thing that stood out the most to me was that the Portrait Mode screenshot was landscape. Seems weird when almost all the other screenshots were portrait.
 
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