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Following the unveiling of the Apple Watch Series 7 last month, Apple also snuck in a few tidbits on Apple Fitness+, including the revelation that it would become compatible with SharePlay to allow you to work out remotely with a group of friends.
With SharePlay landing in iOS 15.1 yesterday, it looks like Apple has already turned the key on these group workouts, which are now available to any Apple Fitness+ user with an Apple Watch running watchOS 8.1 and an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV with iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, or tvOS 15.1.
The new shared experience allows Apple Fitness+ users to not only work out together but also meditate together using new mindfulness exercises such as Guided Meditations and Mindful Cooldowns, which complement the new Mindfulness app that was introduced in watchOS 8.
When Apple first unveiled SharePlay back in June, the feature seemed to be mostly centered around offering “watch parties” like what Disney+, Hulu, and Plex already offer in their apps. The difference was that Apple’s solution would be baked into the operating system and tied to FaceTime and Messages so that it could work with any supported app — and it had quite a long list of developers who had already signed on board.
However, during last month’s California Streaming event, Apple surprised us with the news that SharePlay would work not only with Apple TV and Apple Music but also with Apple Fitness+, allowing users to work out with up to 32 of their closest friends.
How It Works
When you up a group Fitness+ session, it is done the same way as watching a movie or TV show together. You first get everyone onto a Group FaceTime call and then head over to the Fitness app to start the workout.
- On your iPhone, open the FaceTime app.
- Start a Group FaceTime call by calling your friends directly or simply sharing a link that they can use to join in.
- Once everyone is on the FaceTime call, have everyone head over to the Fitness app to select a workout and get started.
Like other SharePlay features, you can also use this on the Apple TV to follow your workout on the big screen. However, you’ll still need to start the FaceTime call — and related workout — from an iPhone or iPad and then transfer it to the Apple TV from there using SharePlay.
During a Group Workout, users will see the other participants in a picture-in-picture window in the corner while the main Fitness+ session plays. Normal workout stats such as Activity Rings will also be shown to each user individually, while individual milestones like moving ahead on the Burn Bar or closing Activity Rings will be shown to everyone.
Fitness+ Is Expanding Too
Last month, Apple also announced that Fitness+ would be expanding to 15 more countries later this year, and today it’s given us a date for that.
As of November 3, Fitness+ will launch in Austria, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates. While the audio track will still only be available in English, Apple will begin offering Brazilian Portuguese, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish subtitles.
Apple has also partnered with UnitedHealthcare to provide annual Fitness+ subscriptions to its members at no additional cost. UHC members will be able to enroll starting on November 1. Further, starting next year, U.S. employers with self-funded health plans will be able to purchase an Apple Fitness Bundle for their employees.