Netflix offline viewing: A complete How-to guide

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Enable Netflix offline viewing feature and stream offline.

What is the Netflix offline viewing feature? Do you know how to use it? Have you ever tried it assuming you know how it works?

These are just some of the questions that we will try and answer today in this guide.

Before we start though, we would like to mention that if you have never heard of this Netflix offline viewing feature, you should get on it right away.

Having the Netflix offline viewing feature available to you and enabled saves you a good chunk of time.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of enabling the Netflix offline viewing feature is that you do not have to worry about your internet connection giving you problems suddenly while you are streaming your favorite show.

So for all the people who do not know how to use the Netflix offline feature, this is the guide that you need to read right now.

After you have read this guide, you will know everything there is to know about downloading Netflix content to your device almost effortlessly.

How to download Netflix movies and TV series on your device.

By now, you should be able to convince yourself that you can actually download various different (and perhaps your favorite) Netflix movies and TV shows to view them at a later time.

If you know your stuff then you will find the whole process fairly easy.

Some of the questions that we will try to answer in this complete and comprehensive guide are,

  • What is Netflix Offline Viewing feature
  • How to actually go about downloading Netflix movies and TV shows on your internet-enabled device running on MacOS, Windows, Android and/or iPhone
  • The smart download feature on Netflix
  • Is there an expiry date for downloaded Netflix material
  • Best way to subscribe to a Netflix subscription?
  • How to expand my Netflix library with the help of a VPN service?
  • Conclusion

How does Netflix offline viewing feature work?

Netflix probably put hundreds of researchers to work in order to find out how it could attract more customers.

And they probably came up with the answer of offline viewing.

Yes.

It is true.

Netflix did not always have an offline viewing option.

But now it has.

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The Netflix offline viewing feature, as the name suggests, allows users to download their Netflix TV shows and/or movies to their device and then watch them at some later time offline.

The only unfortunate thing about this feature is that it comes with quite a few restrictions.

More specifically, it does not allow users to download all of their Netflix library that is available at any given time.

Moreover, even if you obey that rule, Netflix only offers the offline viewing option for a select (and few) movies and TV shows.

The vast majority of the shows which are available to users are not downloadable.

Users will have to stream them if they want to consume them.

It has also come to our attention that only those shows and movies which are not part of Netflix Originals have this option enabled for them.

There is no doubt about the fact that Netflix will introduce this feature to more and more titles.

And the company may do so sooner than you think it is possible.

One other thing we should mention here is that there is still no way for the user to watch the downloaded Netflix TV shows and movies outside the official Netflix app.

In other words, even if you have downloaded some Netflix content, you cannot watch such content on the default video player of your device or any other third-party video application.

Now, if you think that you can just enable the Netflix offline viewing feature and then download something to share with your friends then sadly you cannot do that.

Why?

Because Netflix does not allow it.

So people who want to feel that ‘Giving/Sharing’ vibe should go someplace else.

Remember that even if your friends use the Netflix app, the things that you have downloaded from the Netflix streaming service will not appear in your device’s file system.

Moreover, Netflix will not offer you or your friend any sharing options.

To wrap this section up, the point that we want you to focus on is that there is no way to prioritize download on the Netflix official app.

This is perhaps very important for people who consider themselves as constant downloaders.

The channels’ service does not allow you to prioritize any of your downloads.

Moreover, if you pause your downloads then that will effectively pause everything else on the app.

The Netflix app does not allow users to simply select an individual download and then pause it while you wait for all of your other downloads to finish up.

How to download content from Netflix for offline viewing on your device?

The actual steps are fairly easy to understand and carry out.

There is actually a single button that you need to push or to tap on your screen.

Once you do that, the official Netflix app will allow you to watch your favorite movies and TV shows from any place and any time.

Needless to say, you do not need to have an internet connection in order to watch your Netflix offline content.

All you have to do is to download the Netflix title that you are interested in at home and then take that device with you wherever you go and watch all your entertaining titles while you are on the road or in the office (hopefully after you have finished your work for the day).

Of course, if you have no idea how to even operate the Netflix app then what is the point of having such an outstanding feature in there.

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Since you came to this guide in order to learn more about the Netflix offline viewing feature, we will use the next couple of sections to go into the details of how this feature works on various different devices.

So let’s get to it.

iPad and iPhone

We are of the opinion that if there is one platform which is best for Netflix streaming then it is the iPad.

Give your streaming experience on Netflix a boost and get an iPad device to really feel what producers and directors of your favorite show want you to feel.

The reason why we say that is simple enough too.

The iPad device has the best screen of any other streaming device especially if you are traveling and are on a plane.

It works equally well if you are in a car or any other vehicle though.

Apart from that, it is also true that iPad devices have made a bit of a reputation of having a long-lasting battery life.

That is not something you can say for many Android devices.

Both the iPhones and the iPads share pretty much the same applications.

More importantly, the applications come with the same kind of features.

Because of that, this section is equally valid for both iPhone and iPad devices.

So what are you waiting for?

Just download one of your favorite series and then move forward to binge-watching Netflix content either at home/office or on the road.

However, before you make the jump and start cruising, we would like to make sure that you know exactly what you need to do in order to download the Netflix content on your iPad and iPhone.

  1. The first step is always the easy one.
    What you need to do here is to launch the official Netflix app on either your iPhone or iPad.
    Then you need to sign into your Netflix account.
    Of course, if you have already managed to log in to the official Netflix app then you do not need to sign in.
  2. Now you should be looking at the main page of the official Netflix app.
    Here we want you to select your favorite movie.
    As an alternative step, you can also choose the TV show that you wish you could download via the official Netflix app.
  3. One that is done, look at the right-hand side of the Netflix title that you are interested in and then notice the icon which says Download.
    Well, the icon doesn’t literally say Download.
    It comes in the shape of an arrow which is facing the downward or south-ish direction.
    Click it.
  4. Now, the official Netflix app should start your download.
    While it is downloading the Netflix content, you need to remember that if it is a Netflix TV show which you want to download then you cannot really perform the same action for the full season in one go.
    So you will have to make do with download a single TV show episode at a given time.
  5. Now, when the official Netflix app begins your download, you should see a progress wheel or sorts right where you previously saw the downward arrow.
  6. Once the official Netflix app finishes the download, you are free to stream that content no matter your location and no matter if you have an internet connection or not.

Android

Now, when you are using an Android device, the process of downloading the required Netflix content is as simple as it was on the iPhone and iPad device.

In other words, all you have to do is to tap on the download button.

Once you do that, the official Netflix app will handle everything else.

Remember, you will need a fast internet connection and (of course) a valid Netflix subscription.

We also want to take care of those users who have just bought an Android device and are not sure about what they should do in order to begin the Netflix download process.

Here are the steps that such users need to follow,

  1. First, you need to launch the official Netflix application on your Android device. Then log in.
    If you have already logged in then you should see the Netflix homepage showing you a new show or a movie as the background image and then options in front of it.
  2. From there, you need to choose the movie or the TV show that you wish to make available for offline viewing by downloading it.
    To take an example, you could download the Icarus documentary about drugs in sports.
  3. Now you need to press the download icon which appears to the right of the Netflix title.
    Again, if you are watching a show with lots of episodes then you should click the downward arrow icon for each episode.
    Netflix will sequentially download them in due time.
  4. The final step is to go to the download section and confirm that Netflix has made available the content that you wanted.
  5. Then you should wait as long as it takes Netflix to finish your download.
    After that, view your content while you are in offline mode.

Windows PC

The thing you need to understand here is that you cannot watch Netflix shows or movies offline directly from your Windows machine if you are trying to do it via a web browser.

Yes.

Normally you can stream Netflix content via a web browser.

However, the download function for offline viewing Netflix content is not available via any given web browser.

To use that function you have no choice but to download the official Netflix app for Windows.

Of course, to Windows users, it would not matter since they get to watch offline content regardless.

Besides, watching Netflix content on a machine running Windows is way better than watching on a mobile device since you are working with a much bigger screen in the case of your Windows machine.

So what you need to do first is to get yourself the official Netflix Windows app and then follow the steps that we have mentioned below in order to download some of the best Netflix titles that you want with you while you are on the road away from home and office.

  1. First, make your way to the official Windows Store and download the official Netflix app for  .
    The app is free in case you were wondering.
  2. Then sign in to the app with your valid Netflix login credentials.
    Once you do that, you should arrive at the Netflix main screen.
  3. When that is done, you need to choose the Netflix title that you have a desire to download.
    From there, the process is fairly simple since the download button will become sufficiently visible to you.
    To take an example, you could try and download Into the Inferno by clicking the download button right under the title of the item beside the button that says My List.
  4. The final step here is to open up the menu which appears near the top left corner of the screen and then choose the option that says Select My Downloads.
    Then you should keep checking your download progress from time to time if you are in a hurry to watch the downloaded content.

macOS

 

For the macOS platform, you need to deal with a very specific problem.

That problem is that some Apple products still do not support the offline viewing feature on Netflix.

But why is that?

Well, it turns out, a good number of macOS devices simply do not have the official Netflix app available.

And without the official app, you cannot really download Netflix content for offline viewing or can you?

In just a couple of more seconds, we will discuss what you can do about this problem.

For now, just go to the App Store of your Mac machine and search for the Netflix app to make sure if it is available for your model of macOS device.

At the time of writing this guide, our research showed that the official Netflix app currently only covers Apple devices such as,

  • Apple TV
  • iPad
  • iPhone

It does not have the official Netflix app for any other Apple product.

We don’t know why would Netflix not want macOS to have an official app as well.

But if one were to exercise his/her inner pessimism then there could be many plausible reasons.

One reason could be licensing deals.

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Netflix is very strict on protecting its high-quality content from issues such as piracy.

Mac, for some people, makes it easy to engage in content piracy.

However, you could use a video recording software to record your video and then watch at your own convenience.

If you want to go down that route we would like to let you know right now that download a video in such a manner is not recommended.

It is actually against the law.

So if you have a Mac machine, it is better to just use the official Netflix website.

Smart download for Netflix

This section is for iOS and Android users and will talk about Smart Downloads feature.

If you enable this option, the Netflix app will automatically delete the TV show episodes you’ve watched.

Then it will download more episodes depending on where you are in the series.

To enable this option go to your Netflix app App Settings and then switch ON the option that says Smart Downloads.

That is it.

How long do Netflix downloads last?

There is no fixed time.

It depends on the individual content’s licenses and does vary with the title in question.

However, the Downloads page will show you a timer when a given content has less than 7 days to expire.

That does not mean you can have each title for 7 days.

There are titles which expire in less than 48 hours after you have played them.

So can you watch content that you have downloaded if your Netflix subscription expires?

No.

You can’t.

How to use a VPN to expand my Netflix library

  1. First, you need to sign up for a VPN service that works with Netflix.
    Click here to read out guide on the best VPNs for Netflix.
    Even though there are some big guns in the industry as far as VPNs for Netflix is concerned, each user is different and hence needs a VPN that caters to his/her needs rather than the other way around.
  2. Once you have subscribed to a VPN service that works with Netflix you need to download its official VPN app and then install that VPN app on your streaming device.
    Make sure that the VPN supports your streaming device.
    Good VPNs for Netflix offer customized VPN apps for platforms such as Amazon FireStick, Mac, PC, iOS and Android.
  3. Then you need to open up the VPN app and then sign in with your official VPN credentials.
    Then, go to the official list of servers available via the main menu screen of your VPN app.
  4. When that is done, you need to connect to a server that is located in the US.
    Then you need to hit the connect button.
  5. After that, you should go to the official website of Netflix or use one of its dedicated streaming apps.
  6. As the final step, you should search for a title that you think is only available to people in the US and then start streaming.

On that note, we should mention that a VPN service does a lot more than expand your Netflix library.

It protects your online identity.

Along with that, it hides your browsing activity along with your machine’s IP address.

Once you connect to an appropriate VPN server, the VPN service also encrypts your data.

We do not know about you but these extra benefits have to count for something right?

VPN services, because of the benefits that we have mentioned above, are great at securing you and your data from cyber attacks and hackers who may want to target your internet-enabled device.

If you are still undecided on which VPN service you should sign up for then click here and read our guide on the best VPNs for Netflix.

 

Zohair

Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
Zohair

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