After what seems to be an eternity, Netflix has finally updated its application to allow users to download TV shows and movies for offline viewing. This will prove particularly helpful for long car or airplane rides, or just about any other situation where you might not want to put a dent in your data cap while watching your favorite episodes of Bojack Horseman when not connected to Wi-Fi.
In this simple tutorial, we will show you how you can download Netflix movies and TV episodes to watch on the go, but also how you can manage video quality and other features.
What’s the catch?
There is no real catch per se, but there are limitations to what you can and cannot download. At the time of writing, it seems that Netflix’s entire catalogue of content produced in-house, such as shows like House of Cards, Narcos, and Stranger Things, is available for offline viewing. There is also a number of other movies and TV shows, but it’s definitely not the entirety of Netflix’s catalogue. All Disney movies and shows can’t be downloaded, for example.
Netflix said there will be more titles available for download in the future.
Limit downloads to Wi-Fi only
By default, the Netflix app will download content only when you are connected to Wi-Fi, which is the right thing to do. In my opinion, you probably want to leave that option enabled, but if you have a large data cap or an unlimited plan, then you can easily turn it off in App Settings > Wi-Fi Only.
Standard vs Higher video quality
When it comes to the video resolution, you can choose between two different options: standard and higher. As you would expect, the higher video quality means the content will take longer to download, and more importantly, it will require more storage space, so if you have a 16 or 32GB device, this is something to keep in mind.
To give you an idea, I downloaded No Country for Old Men, a two hours and two minutes movie in both standard and higher resolution. Standard came at 471.8 MB while higher resolution came at 762.5 MB. This isn’t a negligible difference.
To change the video resolution, you will have to navigate to the App Settings section, and select Video Quality.
How to download Netflix movies and TV shows
Downloading content for offline viewing couldn’t be simpler.
1) Look for TV episodes, documentaries or movies in the Netflix app on your iPhone or iPad. You can either use the search feature, or use the newly created Available for Download category.
2) Once you have found what you wanted to save to your device, simply tap on the download icon. Download will start immediately. A progress indicator will show next to the episode or movie you’re downloading. Additionally, another indicator will remain on screen until the download is completed.
Unfortunately, there is no way to download an entire season of a TV show in one fell swoop. Instead, you will have to manually initiate the download for each episode separately.
How to watch downloaded movies and TV shows
Once downloaded, you can easily access your available content in the sidebar, under the My Downloads tab.
Tapping on it will load up the list of episodes or movies you have saved to your device. To start watching, simply tap on the thumbnail.
Your list of downloaded content also shows the file size of each download. Unfortunately, there is no way to find out about file size prior to downloading it.
How to delete downloaded content
There are two ways to delete downloaded content from the Netflix app. You can either delete movies and shows one by one, or you can delete all downloaded content at once.
To delete movies or TV shows one at a time, navigate to the My Downloads tab, then swipe left on a show or movie you want to download, then tap on the red X icon.
To delete all your downloads at once, navigate to the App Settings tab, then tap on Delete all Downloads, and confirm you do want to delete everything.
Saving Netflix TV shows and movies for offline viewing is a fairly straightforward process. At this point, we’re just hoping Netflix can make more content available for download in the future.
Have you tried this new feature yet? If so, what’s your take on it?