The number of good things that came about as a result of the pandemic could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. But in amongst all the gloom and doom, there was at least one minor upside to the whole experience – the technological advances. With everyone suddenly confined to their homes, banned from their offices, and unable to see anyone outside their bubble, our phones, computers, and other devices suddenly became our only link to the outside world. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for the tech boffins to catch up. Soon enough, every application from Zoom to Google Meet was looking new and improved. Never one’s to be left out, Apple jumped on board the bandwagon as well, making several changes to its native video calling app, FaceTime, that dramatically improved the user experience. Among those changes include new support for Android devices and the addition of a new screen share feature that allows users to share their screen with other participants on a FaceTime call, quickly and easily. Ideal for sharing information and documents over meetings, watching movies with friends, or sharing photos with family, the new feature is helping transform the way we use our devices to communicate. But how exactly do you use it? If you want to get to grips with the new feature but can’t quite figure out how, here’s everything you need to know about how to share your screen on Facetime.
What is Screen Sharing?
If you’re not familiar with the concept, screen sharing is the technology that allows people to share content from their device to one or more other devices in real time. Basically, it lets other people see exactly what you’re seeing on your device, without them having to be sat next to you at the time to do it. In the past, people who wanted to discuss shared information over a call would have to send the relevant documents in advance and then tell other members of the call which page/ part to look at. The problem with that method was that there was no way of knowing the details the other participants were actually looking at. With screen share, the presenter can direct people’s focus simply by sharing their screens. It’s ideal for virtual meetings, group chat sessions, and team collaborations in working situations, not to mention sharing photos or information with friends and family. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are two of the most popular screens sharing applications.
Considering how much time most of us have spent on Zoom and Microsoft Teams over the last two years, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the basic idea of screen sharing. If you are, then as techpp.com notes, the FaceTime share screen feature will feel like home. Just like on Zoom, FaceTime screen share lets you easily share your screen with other participants on the call. But the functionally doesn’t stop there – the screen sharing feature (which goes by the name SharePlay) works in combination with a host of supported apps, offering an easy way for people to get together to watch TV shows and movies, listen to music, or even work out to a fitness video.
As imore.com notes, Apple might finally have gotten around to creating FaceTime links to make FaceTime a cross-platform tool, but for now, SharePlay is only compatible with Apple devices. Android and Windows users can receive an invite to the call, but the SharepPlay feature will only be accessible to those with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Apple TV devices that are compatible with the latest software from Apple.
There are two different methods of sharing your screen on FaceTime, depending on whether you’re using an iPhone/iPad or a Mac.
- If you’re using an iPhone/iPad, here’s what to do:
- Open the FaceTime application and create a meeting with whoever you want to invite to the call.
- Once the call has started, tap the Share Content icon button in the FaceTime menu bar, then tap the Share My Screen icon.
After a three-second countdown, everyone on the call will be able to see your screen. They’ll continue to see the screen until you stop sharing, but don’t panic – they won’t be able to access anything you don’t share with them, they can’t control your screen, and they won’t see any notifications that come through during the call. If you want to watch a movie, listen to some music, play a game, or share some other experience, simply navigate to the supported app. If you want to take advantage of a larger screen, it’s easy enough to access SharePlay via a Mac. As an additional benefit of using a Mac over an iPhone/iPad, you get to decide just how much of your screen you share, whether that’s the active window only or the entire screen. Here’s how you do it:
- Open the FaceTime application on your Mac.
- Select the option to create a new meeting to invite other participants to the call.
- Once the meeting has started, select the Screen Share option on the bottom left of the screen to start sharing your screen.
- To watch a movie, play a game, etc, navigate to the supported app to begin the shared experience.
How to Swap Screen Sharing Between Call Participants
If another member of your call wants to share something on their screen, there’s no need to end the current call and start a new one with them as the presenter. Everyone on the call can take a turn of sharing their screen by using the following method:
- Select the Share Content tab in the FaceTime menu bar.
- Select the Share My Screen tab.
- Select the Replace Existing tab to start presenting.
- How to End a Screen Sharing Call on FaceTime
Remember, all of the members of a call will continue to see your screen until you stop sharing, so be careful about accessing any private information while screen sharing is active. If you want to stop sharing your screen at any point during the call, simply tap the Share Content button again. This will immediately end the screen-sharing session and make your screen visible to your eyes only.