SharePlay finally arrives on macOS Monterey 12.1 - but what is it?

macOS Monterey on a MacBook Pro in an office
(Image credit: Shutterstock - Ray Bon)

Apple released a public beta update to macOS 12 Monterey over the weekend which re-enables SharePlay, a feature that allows you to share content with family and friends across your devices.

While SharePlay was announced at WWDC in June and featured in early beta releases of Monterey, it was delayed to ensure that it was ready for users to share their videos or music.

The feature has already arrived on other Apple devices with iOS 15.1, but Mac users have been left out. With the latest public beta of macOS 12.1 Monterey, it shouldn’t be much longer for SharePlay to see a final release.

However, while SharePlay is now on its way to the Mac, Universal Control is still nowhere to be seen.

What is SharePlay?

When you’re in a call on FaceTime, there will be an additional option to share content with whoever you’re talking to. This can extend to a music track, a movie, a tv show, or just to share your screen.

SharePlay on iOS 15

(Image credit: TechRadar)

This can be great to help out any family or friends who may be struggling to use something on their device. Thanks to SharePlay, you can easily guide them to a link or a setting that they’re having trouble finding.

As the feature also works on the Apple TV, it can be a great way of having watch parties, where groups can watch a certain show at the same time, but also see one another in a window as Star Wars or Squid Game plays.

But this isn’t limited to Apple’s apps. Disney+, HBO Max, Twitch, TikTok are a few examples that are also taking advantage of SharePlay, with more apps on the way.

If you want to try the feature out before macOS 12.1 arrives for everyone, you can check our guide on how to download the public beta.

Analysis: Could Universal Control arrive in macOS 12.2?

While it’s great to see SharePlay about to arrive on macOS Monterey, the other tentpole feature, Universal Control, is nowhere to be found.

This allows you to use an iPad with a Mac as a second screen. You can drag and drop documents and other content without using a monitor. As you use a mouse on your Mac, the iPad will also detect this, so you can use one trackpad on both devices.

This can be really useful if you have a spare iPad lying around that runs iPadOS 15, which is required for Universal Control.

Universal Control on macOS and iPad

(Image credit: Apple)

With the feature being showcased at WWDC, it was hoped that it would arrive soon after the release of macOS Monterey. But it looks as though it could be left for a further update in the future.

There’s been no word from Apple as to why it hasn’t arrived yet, but we assume that it’s proving to be more difficult than expected in maintaining a smooth connection between a Mac and an iPad.

It could still arrive as an optional beta feature, just to help with its testing. But with no mention from Apple yet, we may see Universal Control appear either early next year, or even for macOS 13.

Via MacRumors

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.