Apple is taking on Zoom with its latest features for FaceTime

Facetime Ios 15 Shareplay
Facetime Ios 15 Shareplay (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple has announced some major updates to FaceTime at WWDC 2021.
  • The company is bringing a number of popular features from competing apps to the service.

Apple is looking squarely at Zoom with its latest features for FaceTime.

The company announced some major updates to FaceTime at WWDC earlier today, including SharePlay, FaceTime Links, and Spatial Audio.

With SharePlay, you can keep a FaceTime call going while you all enjoy something else on your devices whether it be a TV show, movie, or music. Apple is making this compatible with third-party apps so services like Hulu and HBO Max are adding support.

Keep FaceTime conversations going as you watch TV shows and movies, listen to music, or share your screen with SharePlay. It's an entirely new way to have experiences with family and friends, no matter the distance.Stream movies and TV shows while on a FaceTime call with friends. With synced playback and controls, you'll see everyone laugh, jump, and react to the same moments at the same time. And the volume automatically adjusts, so you can keep talking while you watch.Get together and listen to an album with friends. The whole group can see what's next and add songs to a shared queue with synced playback and easy-to-use controls.Share your screen with everyone in your FaceTime call. Browse apartment listings, swipe through a photo album, or plan your next vacation as a group, all while seeing and talking to one another.

The company is also bringing Spatial Audio to FaceTime to make it easier to understand who is talking when. The feature will play sound from an individual from the part of the screen they are on so you can focus your attention on who is speaking. FaceTime is also adding support for Grid View, Portrait Mode, and new microphone modes that can either cut out or include background noises.

Apple Iphone12pro Ios15 Facetime Portraitmode

Apple Iphone12pro Ios15 Facetime Portraitmode (Image credit: Apple)

One thing that has always been tough to handle with FaceTime is a scheduled call, especially if you are planning to chat with multiple people. Apple is looking to simplify that process with FaceTime Links, which allows you to schedule a call for later with friends and family.

Make a unique FaceTime web link to easily set up a call for later or share the link with a group. Share it with your friends in Messages, Mail, or third‑party apps like WhatsApp. You can also generate a link for an event in Calendar, so everyone will know exactly where and when to meet.

FaceTime is even coming to Windows and Android - sort of. When you send someone a FaceTime link and they are using Android or Windows, they can now join the call through their browser.

Now you can send friends and family a link to connect on FaceTime — even if they're using Windows or Android. And it's still end-to-end encrypted, so your call is as private and secure as any other FaceTime call.

A ton of these features are catching FaceTime up with features that have been made extremely popular by other video conferencing apps like Zoom and Google Meet. Of course, FaceTime has an immediate leg up against these competitors since it is built into Apple devices and comes with Apple's privacy promises. While Zoom may still dominate the business world, Apple is surely looking to take over the consumer market in this space.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.