Whether it’s a long plane flight or a 30-minute Uber ride, Netflix has become synonymous with occupying yourself while on the go. TV shows like “Squid Games,” “Bridgerton” and “You” all demand to be binged. It’s super easy when you are at home connected to your Internet, but what happens when you are traveling or commuting? In cases like these, it is useful to download all of your favorite Netflix content to watch offline.
How Do You Start Downloading Netflix Shows?
Downloading on any of your devices is going to work the same, for the most part. Netflix’s app is pretty consistent from platform to platform, so instructions for iOS won’t vary too much from Android and vice versa.
iPhone and iPad
Downloading Netflix content for iOS and iPadOS is the same.
- Open the Netflix app on your iPhone and identify the show or movie you want to download.
- Assuming the show or movie is downloadable, a giant “Download” button will appear beneath the “Play” button. Tap on “Download” and wait for the content to be downloaded.
- When your content is downloaded, it will appear in the “Downloads” section at the bottom of the app.
Android downloads follow nearly the same steps as iOS/iPadOS. This works for general Android smartphones and tablets as well as Amazon Fire Tablets.
- Launch the Netflix app and locate the movie or show you wish to download and watch offline.
- Tap on the “Download” button underneath the “Play” button, and your selected content will start downloading.
- Locate the “Downloads” menu option at the bottom of the app and tap on it to play all of your offline content.
The Netflix app is available as a free download from the Microsoft Store for both Windows 10 and 11.
- Launch the Netflix app on your laptop or desktop. Choose the movie or TV show you want to download.
- Tap or click on the “Download” button next to the movie or TV show and let the content download.
- Click or tap on the three horizontal lines at the top left of the Netflix app and locate “My Downloads.” Find all of your available offline content here.
As is the case with macOS, there is no native app for ChromeOS, and the Web version doesn’t allow you to download Netflix for offline viewing. The best and only workaround is to download the Netflix app from the Play Store (if your Chromebook supports Android apps), ten follow the steps outlined above for Android to download Netflix content.
What About Offline Viewing for macOS?
Unfortunately for macOS users, there is no direct download option for Mac. Instead, you have to utilize one of two workaround options. The first is to use Windows on your Mac computer. This can be done one of two ways:
- For Intel Mac users, Bootcamp is an option that allows you to run Windows on your Mac as a separate install. Bootcamp is no longer available on Apple’s M1-based computer lineup, so this option will not work with owners of M1 Macs..
Note that with Bootcamp, you will still be required to provide your own Windows license. Alternatively, you can use software like Parallels to create a virtual environment for Windows on your macOS computer, then use the Windows method for downloading movies offline.
- The other option is to download offline content to an iPad, then use AirPlay to stream the files to a Mac. This will allow you to take advantage of the larger screen. While it isn’t quite the same as downloading directly to the Mac, it is the next best thing.
Are All of Netflix’s Titles Available to Download?
There is a pretty strong chance the content you want to watch offline will be available. However, there are some Netflix titles that cannot be downloaded, usually related to licensing issues. Netflix indicates that a show will not be available for download due to one of three reasons:
- Content rights are currently exclusive to another company.
- Rights are not available to purchase from the content provider.
- Popularity, cost, seasonal or other localized factors or availability.
There is no dedicated list of titles that are not available to download. It’s more experimental where if you see a show that can be downloaded, assume you won’t have any issues. If you stumble across content that cannot be downloaded, it’s very likely because of one of the three reasons above.
What About Storage Requirements?
If you are planning to download a huge amount of content to your device, storage will always be an issue. The number of shows and movies you can download will depend on how much free space is available on your device. How many movies you can save on your device is solely based on how much free space you want to allow for offline viewing.
How Do I Choose Download Quality?
As of now, Netflix apps only allow two options for download video quality. Both Standard and Higher are available, with the latter appearing to be somewhere in between 720p and 1080p resolution. As expected, Standard uses less space and allows for faster downloads, while Higher takes up more space and allows for slower downloads. Which one you choose is really up to you and likely determined by how important high-definition video is to you and how much storage is available on your device.
To change between the two video quality options:
- Enter the Netflix app and tap or click on “More” on the bottom bar of the app or your profile icon at the top right of the app.
- Tap or click on “App Settings,” then Video Quality. Choose between “Standard” or “Higher” video quality and exit the app settings.
As indicated above, the quality impacts how much data is downloaded. Netflix notes that while streaming, Standard video quality can use upward of 700MBs of data per hour while Higher can utilize up to 3GB of data while streaming. That’s comparable to 4K content on television using upward of 7GB for the same 60 minutes worth of content.
Does Netflix Support Automatic Downloads?
One very helpful feature Netflix adds around downloading is the opportunity to “Download Next Episode.” With this functionality, Netflix will automatically download the next episode in a TV series you are watching and delete the episode(s) you recently finished.
On the other hand, Netflix also adds “Downloads for You,” which automatically downloads titles it thinks you will like and saves them to your device. To access both of these features, open the Netflix app and tap on “Downloads (or click on Windows 10) -> Smart Downloads,” then switch on either of these two features.
You can also configure the amount of storage space it will take for smart downloads.
How Do You Delete Downloaded Content?
Inside the Netflix apps, launch your downloads by selecting “Downloads” from the bottom menu bar or top-left menu in Windows. Tap or swipe on whatever content you want to delete and confirm your deletion.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there any charge for downloading offline?
No! Outside of the Netflix subscription cost, there are no additional charges to download and play offline – no matter how many downloads you are looking to view offline.
2. How much data is used to download a movie or TV show?
TV show and movie sizes vary, sometimes considerably, so the answer is not an exact science. However, assuming that streaming TV shows and movies will generally use the same amount of bandwidth as downloads, a single hour of Standard definition video will use up to 1GB of video per hour, while a Higher definition will use up to 3GB of data per hour.
3. Are there limitations to how many downloads you can have at once?
For the most part, no. The only limitation will be based on how much storage your device has available for offline Netflix content. However, based on your Netflix plan, you may be limited in how many devices can have downloads. For example, if you are on the Standard plan, only two devices can have downloads at one time, while you may have Netflix logged in on your iPhone, iPad, computer, multiple TVs, etc.
As Netflix lets you download the bulk of its content for offline viewing, you should never want for something to watch. Whether that is on the go on a train, plane or bus, there are plenty of choices to try. May we suggest “Squid Game,” “The Witcher” or “Money Heist”? In fact, the real question is not what you can watch, but whether you should watch Netflix or Amazon Prime?
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