How to Download Netflix Videos for Offline Viewing

Netflix continues to be a top contender when it comes to streaming services, fighting to stay on top even after so many years.

While downloading and playing movies on our devices isn’t something we all do anymore, there are times when this feature comes in handy, like long flights when the internet connection is off or camping trips when you don’t want to use up all your data.

Netflix has allowed users to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing since 2016, with the process being quite easy and streamlined.

Universal Rules for Netflix Downloads

There are some rules regarding Netflix downloads that stay the same no matter what platform you use. You should know the major ones:

  • You will need an active subscription. Not all plans offer downloads; the Basic with Ads subscription is the only plan that won’t let you download any shows or movies, so you’ll have to pick the right Netflix subscription.
  • You will need an active internet connection while downloading movies and TV shows. Once downloaded, you don’t need to be connected to the internet.
  • While you can download most movies and shows on Netflix, not all are available.

  • You can download individual episodes of TV shows, so you don’t need to download full seasons at a time.
  • The My Downloads option in the menu shows everything you have downloaded.
  • The Available for download option shows everything you can download to watch offline. Also, this section has recommendations based on your likes, just like the main menu. It’s easy to recalibrate your Netflix recommendations to retrain Netflix to show you content you love.
  • You can download videos to multiple devices. Netflix allows a different number of downloads depending on the plan you are on.
  • Downloaded movies and TV shows can only be viewed on the device you downloaded them onto. For example, if you downloaded Stranger Things on your iPad but not on your Android device, then you can’t watch it on your Android when it’s offline.

Size and Storage

First, know one important thing: downloading and streaming consume the same amount of data. This means downloading a video isn’t saving you any bandwidth. However, if you plan to watch that video many times, you will save bandwidth by downloading it first and then watching it offline.

If you download a video for offline viewing, that means it is stored locally on your hard drive or memory card. So, obviously, you would like to control the size of each download.

You can choose the download quality in the Netflix app’s settings: Standard (720 x 480) or High. High quality varies based on the device’s hardware as well as the original video’s best quality. The platform even features 4K videos; you can adjust the video quality on Netflix to match your internet speed.

As an estimate, a one-hour standard-quality video takes up about 250 MB. You can also view the size of every downloaded video, which is great if you’re running low on storage space.

The same settings will also display how much storage space Netflix is using. If you discover some movies and shows are taking up too much room on your device, you can delete all downloaded videos with a single click.

Netflix Downloads Aren’t Permanent

One thing you have to remember about Netflix downloads is that they’re not a permanent fixture on your device.

While most Netflix originals are there to stay, the content the platform licenses from other content makers will only be present for a specific time. When movies and TV shows are removed from the catalog, they’ll also be removed from people’s downloads. Netflix warns you before this happens by marking soon-to-expire titles in My Downloads.

Some videos also have a time restriction. Remember, you don’t “own” these videos. It’s like borrowing them from a library — Netflix’s library, in this instance. For certain downloaded movies, once you press Play, you will see a notification saying you have 48 hours to watch it as many times as you want.

Once a title expires, you can “renew” it a limited number of times. This doesn’t require you to download it again. Otherwise, you can remove it from My Downloads.

With the boring stuff out of the way, here’s how you can download Netflix videos on iOS, Android, and Windows.

How to Download Netflix Videos

Before downloading your favorite shows and movies on Netflix, you need to make sure you have the right device for the job.

Requirements for Windows PCs and Tablets

  • Windows 10 or Windows 11
  • Netflix for Windows (downloads are not supported through web browsers)

Requirements for Android Phones and Tablets

Requirements for iPhones, iPads, or iPods

Requirements for Amazon Fire tablets

Requirements for Chromebook or Chromebox

Originally, Netflix only offered an offline mode with iOS and Android, but now you can also do this on Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices, Amazon Fire tablets, Chromebooks, and Chromebox devices. You’ll need to use the Netflix app on your laptop or computer, as it’s impossible to download content via the browser.

Download and install the official app for your operating system. Log in with your Netflix account, and you’ll see this screen.

Remember when we said not all videos can be downloaded? Yeah, you need to look for that Download button sign next to any movie or show to know if it’s available. Click or tap that button to download the video.

The procedure is more or less the same across all three platforms. There are only a few differences.

On Windows — By default, Netflix stores all data on the primary hard drive. We did not have a computer with two hard drives to test, but most Windows 10 apps only ended up writing to the primary hard drive. You can find the Netflix downloads on your computer, but you can only actually play the videos through the Netflix app.

On Android — Netflix allows Android users to save videos to their internal memory or an SD card. To download to an SD card, go to Menu > App Settings > Download Location and switch from Phone Memory to SD Card.

Smart Downloads on Netflix

Netflix wants to ensure you have a great time watching content offline, so it has implemented a Smart Downloads feature. This means you’ll spend less time managing your downloads and more time watching them. Once you’ve watched a downloaded episode of the latest series, it will delete it, so you have more space on your device.

This doesn’t just happen, of course, since you have to enable this feature for yourself. It also only deletes a file once you reconnect to a network, so if you’re on a long flight, it will only delete the files when you touch ground, and your device goes back online.

The feature also automatically downloads the next episodes, so you can continue binging the show.

You can manage this feature by going to Menu > My Downloads > Smart Downloads > Enable Smart Downloads on your Windows computer or Downloads > Smart Downloads > Download Next Episode on mobile apps.

Solve the Buffering Problem on Netflix

To view a downloaded movie or TV show, go to My Downloads and watch it.

You can watch downloaded content with or without an active internet connection. Doing so while you’re connected to the internet saves data and makes skipping back and forth in a video instant, with no buffering time at all.

In fact, this is the easiest way to solve Netflix’s buffering problem. If you know you will watch something, and don’t need to watch it right now, then simply download it. Remember, it doesn’t use any more data than streaming.

What About Mac or Linux?

Unfortunately, you’re out of luck if you use anything other than the previously mentioned platforms. You do not have access to Netflix’s offline mode, and there are no hidden workarounds.

On a Mac, we tried running Netflix through several Android emulators like Bluestacks and Andy. We even set up a VirtualBox Android OS to run apps. It just doesn’t work.

If you want to download content from Netflix, you’ll just have to wait until Netflix starts supporting the option in your favorite operating system.

Easy Download Process

Downloading content to watch later on Netflix is super easy to do. Thankfully, now you should be more than covered for any situation, regardless of your device.

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