Activities that help you stay social at home

To control the action, anyone on FaceTime with Apple device can tap Play, pause, fast forward Where Rewind or skip to the next track. The content will be synced across all devices. And you don’t have to worry about everything being played being too loud or too soft. You can control your own volume levels and closed captions.

But while Apple recently opened FaceTime conversations to people on Windows or Android PCs – they must receive an invite link from someone with an Apple device to participate – the SharePlay feature only works on Apple devices. Windows and Android users can still chat with callers, but they can’t hear music or watch videos that others see.

And even if you have the required Apple products, some content that you want to watch or listen to may require a subscription. You can then have the option to subscribe, pay for one-time access, or sample the content via a trial.

Compatible SharePlay apps besides Apple’s include NBA: Live Games & Scores, Paramount +, Showtime: TV, Movies and More, TikTok, and Twitch. If you have an Apple TV set-top box, you can continue a conversation on your phone or tablet while sending a movie or show to the big-screen TV that you’ve connected to Apple TV. SharePlay requires an iPhone running iOS 15.1 or later software, iPad running iPadOS 15.1 or later, or tvOS 15.1 or later.

To get started on an iPhone or iPad, start a FaceTime call and visit the Homepage screen. Open a streaming app that supports SharePlay and tap Player. To select Play for everyone if this option appears and everyone with access should see the movie or show start playing on their screens. In some cases, you or others may need to press Join SharePlay to go there.

During a call, tap the screen to display the FaceTime and SharePlay controls. You can press a picture-in-picture button on your device to view a video in full screen while dragging and resizing the window to see the reaction of friends watching you.

The only thing better than going to see a movie while you are at home is to watch the same content with a friend who is elsewhere. Teleparty, formerly known as Netflix Party, syncs video playback and adds the ability to chat via SMS. It’s now available for Disney +, HBO Max, HBO Now, Hulu, Hulu +, and Netflix.

You will need two things to participate: a valid subscription to the streaming service you want to use and the free Google Chrome web browser. After installing the free Chrome extension, start a video. Click on red Tp icon next to the address bar. Then click Start party and share the link to the party to invite friends.

Each participant must have an account with the streaming service you wish to use. If your friends want to try before committing to a monthly subscription, Hulu says it offers free trials of varying lengths for new subscribers and some returning subscribers, but others have phased out their trial before purchasing it. . periods. New subscribers must give their credit card, PayPal, or Venmo information, but Hulu says a newcomer can cancel anytime during the free trial and nothing will be charged.

A similar experience for YouTube subscribers is ShareTube, where you can chat synced YouTube videos with long distance friends for free. To access the ShareTube website, click or tap the icon that says Make a room to initiate the viewing evening or Join a room, which will require you to know the name of the part.

Not all multiplayer games are shoot-’em-ups

If you have a smartphone, tablet like an iPad, or a computer (laptop or desktop), games are a great way to pass the time while keeping your distance. And not all of them are jumpy action games like Fortnite or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but the classics are available, often for free, on any platform of your choice.

If you like word games like Scrabble, free apps like Words With Friends 2 from Zynga or Scrabble GO from Scopely let you play against a friend or family member in another location. Like in the real game, you take turns placing tiles on a board to spell words in order to compete for the highest score.

Because you take turns, you and your friend don’t have to be in front of your device at the same time. Tap to send your move, and your friend will respond with another move later. You can also chat via SMS in a small window during or between rounds.

If you prefer to talk while playing the same game at the same time, many support text or voice chat. Fuller Systems’ Mahjong, Chess, and Cribbage Pro app for Android and iPad or iPhone are available online, to name but a few.

AARP’s Games page also offers several free single-player and multiplayer games.

Book clubs without cleaning the living room

Long before we had to stay to ourselves, many enjoyed downloading e-books to read on an e-reader, tablet, or computer, whether the books were purchased online or borrowed from a library. To borrow books, be sure to check out Hoopla and Libby for your library.

But technology can also help you socialize while you’re reading or after you’ve finished a book, thanks to Bookship, a social reading app that lets you share reading experiences across the city or planet like a book club. virtual.

Available on Amazon, Android, iPad, and iPhone devices, you can chat and share your thoughts with others, read a selection of classic books from the app, or post favorite passages. After you’ve created your group, Bookship can send reminders for your scheduled discussion, suggest similar books you might like, and keep your reading in sync with your friends by sharing your location in the book.

If you want to see your virtual book club members, find a time to chat via FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or your favorite video calling or conferencing app.

Edward C. Baig is a contributing writer who covers technology and other consumer-related topics. He previously worked for USA Today, BusinessWeek, US News & World Report and Fortune and is the author of Mac for Dummies and co-author of iPhone for Dummies and iPad for dummies.

Marc Saltzman is a contributing writer who covers personal technology. His work also appears in USA today and other national publications. He hosts the podcast series Tech It Out and is the author of several books, including Apple Watch for Dummies and Siri for dummies.

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