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(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 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 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

Requirements

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.

Start a FaceTime call

To begin a Group Workout with friends, you'll first need to be in a FaceTime call with them on an iPhone or iPad. If you want to add other people to your FaceTime call - whether it's audio or video - swipe up, tap the Add Person button, and then tap the Ring button to call them.

You can have up to 32 people on a call. Go here to learn more about how to start a group FaceTime call.

Open the Fitness app

Once you're in a FaceTime call, go to the Fitness app, pick a Fitness+ workout or meditation video to follow, and you'll see your friends and family onscreen as well as your own metrics displayed. Apple promises the selected Fitness+ session will stream completely in sync for every participant. And 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.

Note: SharePlay works system-wide across all Apple devices, including Apple TV. That means you can follow your workout on the big screen all while staying connected with friends via FaceTime on their iPhones and iPads.

Want to know more?

Check out these relevant guides and reviews for more information:

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 25 October 2021.