How to Download Netflix Videos for Offline Viewing

Netflix has become the default streaming service for most of us. This generation hardly downloads movies any more. But when you’re on a flight or your internet connection has decided to play up, this lack of stored media can bite you on the backside.

Recognizing this, in November 2016, Netflix finally allowed people to download movies and TV shows . It’s a fairly straightforward process, but there are still some things you need to know before you start downloading Netflix content to your device.

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 Netflix subscription. And yes, it’s worth the money .
  • You will need an active internet connection while downloading the movies and TV shows. Once downloaded, you don’t need to be connected to the internet.
  • Not all videos on Netflix can be stored offline. Only a select few are available, denoted clearly in the menu.

netflix available for download

  • 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 that you can download to watch offline. Also, this section has recommendations based on your likes just like the main menu.
  • You can download videos to multiple devices.
  • Downloaded movies and TV shows can only be viewed on the device you downloaded them onto. For example, if you downloaded Daredevil 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.

netflix storage delete all

In the Netflix app’s Settings, you can choose the download quality: Standard (720 x 480) or High. High quality varies based on the device’s hardware as well as the original video’s best quality. Remember, Netflix now supports 4K videos too, so there is no way to estimate exactly how much storage a high quality video will use.

As an estimate, a one-hour standard quality video takes up about 250 MB. You can view the size of very downloaded video too.

The same Settings will also display how much storage space Netflix is using. If you discover they’re taking up too much room on your device you can delete all downloaded videos with a single click.

Netflix Downloads Aren’t Permanent

There is one significant difference between downloading a video from Netflix and pirating the same video (apart from the fact one’s legal and one’s illegal): Netflix downloads are not permanently stored.

You see, Netflix has a rotating catalog of titles . And it often removes some movies or TV shows from the catalog. If that happens, the movie or show will also be removed from your downloads. Netflix warns you before this happens by marking soon-to-expire titles in My Downloads.

netflix download now

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 10.

How to Download Netflix Videos

Requirements for Windows PCs and Tablets

  • Windows 10 (downloads are not supported on previous versions)
  • Netflix for Windows (downloads are not supported through web browsers)

Requirements for Android Phones and Tablets

  • Android Kit Kat 4.4.2 or newer
  • Netflix for Android

Requirements for iPhones and iPads

  • iOS 8 or newer
  • Netflix for iOS

Netflix first started offering an offline mode with iOS and Android, but it has now added the option in Windows 10 . Download and install the official app for your operating system. Log in with your Netflix account and you’ll see this screen.

netflix download and go logo

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 end up writing to the primary hard drive only.

netflix android download sd card

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.

Solve the Buffering Problem on Netflix

To view a downloaded movie or TV show, simply 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 not only saves data, but makes skipping back and forth in a video instant, with no buffering time at all.

netflix available

In fact, this is the easiest way to solve Netflix’s buffering problem. There are lots of tips and tricks to improve Netflix streaming on any device. But if you know you are going to 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, Linux, and Chrome OS?

I truly wish I had better news for you, folks. But if you use anything other than Android, iOS, or Windows 10, you’re out of luck. You do not have access to Netflix’s offline mode, and there are no hidden workarounds.

netflix mac linux chrome

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

Smart developers have come up with ways to run Android apps on Chrome . But none of those methods worked either.

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.

What Are Your Comfort Downloads?

I have found that there are two types of Netflix downloads: the things you plan to watch, and the things you have seen a million times but could watch a million more times. These are what I call “comfort downloads”, and they’re there simply to put a smile on your face.

I’ve made sure my Netflix is loaded with the School of Rock movie, and a few seasons of Archer. And they keep me eternally happy.

What movies and TV shows are you likely to download from Netflix to watch over and over again? Please let us know in the comments below!

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