Disney+ Adds SharePlay Support

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It looks like the House of Mouse has officially embraced SharePlay, allowing Disney+ subscribers to link up via FaceTime and watch their favourite movies and shows in sync.

Although we knew that Disney+ support was coming, since it was one of the key partners listed when Apple first announced the feature in June, it was less clear when the popular streaming service would actually turn the key to enable it for end-users.

However, the company has just made it official, announcing that today’s update to the Disney+ app, now rolling out on the App Store, will fully support SharePlay. It will be available for the entire Disney+ content library, from Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to Iron Man and Boba Feet.

While SharePlay won’t replace the GroupWatch feature that Disney debuted last year, it does offer some pretty nice enhancements over what Disney has built-in.

First among these is that SharePlay will let you watch your favourite Disney+ content with up to 31 other people — a sizeable increase over the six additional participants that GroupWatch offers.

Of course, like other SharePlay-compatible apps, you’ll also be able to start a Disney+ viewing session right from a FaceTime call, so everyone can more easily jump in without having to send a bunch of links around.

Using Disney+ with SharePlay will also allow each person to choose their own preferred language for audio and subtitles, so one person could be watching in English while another participant is getting the French or Spanish version.

Along the same lines, while GroupWatch technically limits participants to a single country, SharePlay has no such restrictions. Obviously, not all Disney+ content is available in every country, but you can watch anything that’s available in everyone’s Disney+ library, regardless of any international borders between you.

Of course, everybody in the session must be a Disney+ subscriber, which is on par for any SharePlay experience. Apple’s SharePlay feature doesn’t broadcast the video stream from your device; each participant watches directly through their own app and subscription. SharePlay simply keeps everything synced up to provide a group experience.

We’re very excited to launch SharePlay on Disney+ for Apple users in time for the holidays and ahead of several highly anticipated premieres. With thousands of movies and shows and a growing content catalog of new titles and originals, SharePlay provides another opportunity for personal friends and family around the world to come together and create new memories with their favorite stories on Disney+.

Jerrell Jimerson, EVP of Product & Design, Disney Streaming

Even More SharePlay Experiences

While Disney+ is certainly the biggest streaming service to join SharePlay so far, several other larger players have committed to supporting the feature.

Apple announced last month that Disney+ would soon be joined by ESPN, HBO Max, Hulu, and many more. It’s still unclear when these will arrive, but NBA, Paramount+, and Showtime are already on board now.

According to MacRumors, the educational platform MasterClass has also adopted support for SharePlay this week, allowing friends to join together via SharePlay to learn new skills from world-renowned experts such as Gordon Ramsay, Annie Leibovitz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Stephen Curry.

As with Disney+, everyone will still need to have their own subscription to MasterClass. The service is offering a two-for-one deal on annual memberships right now, so it’s a good way to get started with MasterClass and SharePlay if you’re looking to learn something new with a friend.

SharePlay now works across the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and now the Mac as well, thanks to the release of macOS 12.1 this week. Since this is app-based, however, you’ll only be able to use it on platforms where the appropriate app is available. If you haven’t used SharePlay yet, be sure to check out our tutorial on how to get started.

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