How to use Fitness+ and SharePlay to exercise with friends over FaceTime

(Pocket-lint) – A new Apple Fitness+ feature, Group Workouts, is now available with support for SharePlay, allowing you to participate in exercise sessions with up to 32 friends through FaceTime. Here’s what you need to know, including how it works so you can easily start your own group workout video calls.

What are Group Workouts and SharePlay?

When Apple rolled out iOS 15.1, it updated the FaceTime app to make it better compete with Zoom and other video calling services. It also added a new feature, called SharePlay, which basically turns FaceTime into a watch party service. So, when you’re on a FaceTime call, you can bring in music for a shared listening experience, or you can watch movies and shows with friends in sync while having real-time conversations, or you can share your screen.

SharePlay is intended to work with many third-party apps, as well as Apple apps, such as Fitness. Apple’s own fitness app offers access to Fitness+, a Peloton-like collection of interactive fitness classes for a monthly subscription. And, now, it includes Group Workouts, so Fitness+ subscribers on an iPhone or iPad can leverage SharePlay to start a group workout or meditation with up to 32 friends over FaceTime. It’s really easy to do, actually.

How to use Group Workouts with SharePlay


Your Apple device must be running the most recent software update available for its operating system. As of October 2021, that is iOS 15.1 for iPhone, iPadOS 15.1 for iPad, watchOS 8.1 for Apple Watch, and tvOS 15.1 for Apple TV. SharePlay and Group Workouts weren’t available until iOS 15.1 released.

Start a FaceTime call

To start a Group Workout, you’ll first need to be in a FaceTime call on an iPhone or iPad. (Go here to learn how to start a group call.)

In the FaceTime app, tap New FaceTime, and then type the person’s phone number or email address. You can also start a FaceTime video call from your iPhone during a phone call. Just tap the FaceTime icon in the Phone app to switch to FaceTime.

Open the Fitness app

Once you’re in a FaceTime call, go to the Fitness app, pick a workout or meditation video to follow, and you’ll see your friends and family onscreen as well as your own metrics. You can have up to 32 people on a call. Apple promises the selected Fitness+ session will stream completely in sync for every participant.

When someone gets ahead (on the Burn Bar progress bar) or closes their rings during a session, everyone on the call will get an alert to celebrate together. 

Switch to Apple TV

Since SharePlay works system-wide on Apple devices, you can leave the streaming app, then open another app to, say, order take out, and a picture-and-picture view will let you continue seeing your friends and the video you’re enjoying. If you prefer to watch on a bigger screen, you can extend the Group Workout to your Apple TV and watch it there with your friends over FaceTime on your iPhone. Despite using multiple devices, everyone should be in sync.

Want to know more?

Check out these relevant guides and reviews for more information:

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on .


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