Have you ever wanted to let a friend hear a song you’re listening to on your iOS device without handing over your headphones? If so, PairShare, a new app that debuted in the App Store a few days ago, is what you need. PairShare will let you share the music you’re listening to in real-time with another iOS device via Bluetooth.
Before you run to get PairShare, there are couple of key things you need to know. First, both of the devices you want to share music between must have the PairShare app installed. This is kind of a no-brainer but it should be noted for the sake of clarity.
The second is that while PairShare is free to download, it’s not free to use. Once you download it, set it up and start sharing music, you’ll get an alert every 30 seconds or so that pauses the music and asks you to upgrade to the full version for $2.99. You’ll then need to click “No Thanks” to get past this or pony up $2.99 to continue listening without further interruptions. Clicking “No Thanks” doesn’t do much since you’ll just get the reminder again in another few seconds. And again. And again. And again, ad infinitum. (Well, we can’t really test the ad infinitum bit but you know what we mean.)
As we’ve said before, we never begrudge developers charging for their apps since it only makes sense for them to earn a return for their hard work. What bothers us here is that this purchase requirement is presented in such an annoying fashion and that the cost of using the app to its fullest is not provided in the app’s description or even on the developer’s website.
We don’t mind limited use apps at all as long as we get enough time to make sure the app works as promised (which PairShare allows – we were able to share music between an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2 with few issues in between the irritating full version purchase request pop-ups) but we think PairShare could do this in a less painful way, such as letting the app work for one full song and then ending all functionality with the in-app purchase option.
Also, the cost of upgrading to full functionality should be prominently noted in PairShare’s description.
All this aside, getting PairShare to work is easy. Once the app is installed on the devices you wish to share music between, you use the Connect menu to establish a connection between the two devices. If Bluetooth is not already on, the app will prompt you to turn it on automatically. You can choose music from your device’s iPod library to share and the selected music will play on both devices simultaneously.
We found PairShare to be a bit unstable with periodic crashing when sharing music from an iPhone 4 to an iPad 2 (sharing from an iPad 2 from an iPhone 4 worked well). We generally aren’t surprised to see this kind of instability in a 1.0 version and hopefully this will be addressed in future updates.
PairShare requires iOS 4.1 or later and will work on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPad 1 and 2, and the iPod touch (second generation or later).
We can envision PairShare coming in handy in many situations. If you’ve got a workout buddy with an iPhone or iPod touch, PairShare could help you both keep your workouts in sync. If you’re on a plane, train, or automobile with a friend, PairShare probably offers the easiest way to listen to music together without a headphone splitter on hand. With version 1.0, be prepared for a little crashiness and pay the $2.99 to unlock the app’s full functionality up front.