Netflix has introduced a new offline viewing feature that allows you to download movies and shows to your mobile device so you can watch them even when you don’t have Internet access. The feature is not available for all devices however, and comes with a few restrictions. Here’s how you can download Netflix shows and movies, and everything else you need to know about the new Netflix video download feature.
How to download Netflix shows and movies
If a Netflix movie or TV show is available for offline viewing, you will see a download icon on its details page. Just tap that, wait for the download to finish, and your Netflix content is ready for offline viewing.
Netflix downloads are only available for mobile devices
The option to download Netflix shows and movies is only available for mobile devices for now. This means that you can download Netflix shows and movies only on smartphones and tablets powered by Android and iOS. However, you cannot download Netflix shows and movies to your PCs from the browser, or the dedicated macOS or Windows Store apps.
Netflix download feature doesn’t cover the whole catalogue
The option to download Netflix shows and movies doesn’t let you take everything offline. Apart from original shows, only select TV shows and movies fall under the Netflix download feature’s ambit. Since some movies and shows that are not Originals are covered by this feature, it will probably be extended to more titles over time.
Netflix download feature gets its own tabs
In app menu (accessible by tapping the hamburger icon on the top left), you will see two tabs dedicated for the Netflix download feature. The My Downloads tab is home to all the videos you have taken offline via the Netflix download feature. The other is the Available for Download tab that shows you a list of movies and TV shows that can be downloaded.
You can have too many Netflix video downloads
While downloading Netflix videos, you may sometime get the message saying 'You have too many downloads." On its support page, Netflix says this issue happens when "you have exceeded the maximum number of simultaneous downloaded titles from the same license agreement. Our content is typically licensed in bundles of titles from individual studios and distributors. In some cases, there may be limits to the number of titles from the same agreement that you can download at the same time. We will only enforce these limits in cases where our licensing agreements require us to do so."
You can delete some of the downloaded Netflix videos you have already watched in order to take more videos offline.
You can’t share downloaded Netflix videos with friends
The videos taken offline via the Netflix download feature cannot be shared with others, even if they use the service as well. The files do not appear in the file system on your phone, or when it connected to a desktop.
The downloaded videos work only in Netflix app
The movies and TV shows you took offline can be viewed only on the Netflix app, and do not appear in the default video player of the device, or third-party apps.
Netflix downloads can’t be played on your TV via Chromecast
There’s bad news for users who wish to cast their downloaded Netflix videos to their TV via Chromecast. The new feature does not let you do this. What’s worse is that the downloaded Netflix video becomes the default video, so even if you wish to stream the video at home by searching for it and choosing to stream it, the Netflix app will still pick up the downloaded video, which you can’t cast. To stream it again, you need to delete the downloaded file.
You can pause Netflix downloads but not put them on priority
Picture this: you start downloading an episode of Arrested Development, but then you decide you want to pause the earlier download and start downloading something else. Netflix won’t let you do that! You cannot prioritise Netflix downloads; instead, you must wait for the first download to finish before the other videos – that you want to watch first maybe – can start downloading. Pausing downloads will pause all downloads, and you can’t select just one video download to pause.
One workaround is to cancel a video download, and start downloading it later, but then Netflix will start downloading it from the scratch. All the data saved from the first download attempt will be lost.