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An Easy Guide To Downloading Movies And TV Shows On Netflix

Whether you’re planning a cross-country road trip, commuting by train, or preparing to board an aircraft, there’s a chance that you might be in for some slow internet or no access to WiFi whatsoever. Luckily, you can easily download movies and TV shows on Netflix and watch them offline to completely avoid slow buffering and connectivity issues.

You can download movies and TV shows on Netflix by tapping the Download’ button (or the down arrow) on the description page. Make sure you update the app to the latest version before downloading. Keep in mind that downloaded titles expire after a month — and they take up a lot of storage space!  

Let’s take a closer look at how you can download Netflix movies and TV shows, how much storage space you’re going to need, and how you can enable automatic downloads, so that you can be properly entertained during your next trip or commute without having to worry about connection issues.

How to Download Movies and TV Shows on Netflix  

Netflix on tv

Netflix’s offline-viewing feature allows you to watch quite a lot of shows and movies on the go, eliminating your worries about when you’ll have access to WiFi again. If you have an active Netflix account, downloading content is an extremely easy and straightforward process.

Downloading shows has been made even easier with Smart Downloads — a feature that’s available on the Netflix app for PC and smartphones.

This feature automatically deletes an episode once you’ve finished watching it and downloads the next one, so you can continue watching your favorite series offline without any interruptions. 

In order to download Netflix shows and movies, keep in mind that you’ll have to update the app to its latest version on one of the following devices:

  • Android tablet or phone with Android 4.4.2 or later
  • iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone with iOS 9.0 or later (unfortunately, you can’t download Netflix episodes on MacBook)
  • Select Chromebox and Chromebook models
  • Amazon Fire tablet with Fire OS 4.0 or later
  • Tablets or computers running Windows 10 (V 1709 or later) or Windows 11

Downloading on an iPhone

  1. Launch the Netflix app on your iPhone and tap ‘Downloads‘ on the bottom right of the home screen.
  2. Tap ‘See What You Can Download.’
  3. Select a movie or TV show.
  4. Tap the ‘Download‘ button or the downward arrow on the description page. For TV shows, a downward arrow will appear next to all available episodes. For movies, the ‘Download‘ button will be below the ‘Play’ button.
  5. To watch downloaded shows and movies, tap ‘Downloads‘ (in the bottom right of the home screen), choose the title you want to watch, and tap the Play arrow.   

It’s always best to download your movies and shows over WiFi to save on your data usage. It’s also important to note that you can only have a maximum of 100 active downloads at one time per device on all the devices included in your subscription plan.

Also, remember that if you cancel your subscription, all the downloaded movies and TV shows will be automatically deleted from your device. If you renew your plan in the future, you’ll need to download them all again. 

Downloading on an Android

  1. Launch the Netflix app on your Android phone or tablet and tap ‘Downloads‘ on the bottom right of the home screen.
  2. Tap ‘Find More to Download.’
  3. Select a movie or TV show.
  4. Tap the ‘Download‘ button or the downward arrow on the description page. For TV shows, a downward arrow will appear next to all available episodes. For movies, the ‘Download‘ button will be below the ‘Play’ button.
  5. If you want to download all the episodes in a season, tap the ‘Download Season‘ option next to the ‘Share‘ option (below the description).
  6. To watch downloaded shows and movies, tap ‘Downloads‘ in the bottom right of the home screen, choose the title you want to watch and tap the Play arrow.   

These steps should also work for Amazon Kindle Fire, Chromebook, Chromebox, Fire tablet, and Windows 10 computers and devices. 

How Much Storage Space Do You Need to Download Shows?

The total amount of storage space you need to download shows depends on the resolution quality and how long each episode is. To give you a better sense of the numbers, let’s look at how much storage space Taboo’s first episode and the movie The Adam Project use in both Higher and Standard resolutions on an iPhone 13 Pro. 

  • Taboo’s episode is 57 minutes long and its Standard version took up 266.4MB, while its high-quality version took up 981.2MB of space.
  • The Adam Project has a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes, and it used up 493.8MB in Standard and 1.12GB of space in its Higher version.

Since there’s a vast difference in the storage space used by Standard and Higher versions, it’s always best to check how much space is actually available on your device before choosing your download quality. 

Choosing Your Download Quality

As mentioned above, Netflix offers two download quality options: Higher and Standard. According to the streaming service, content downloaded in the Higher version can go up to 1080p, depending on the movie or TV show. 

Standard versions take up less storage space and download more quickly, while Higher versions require a bit more patience and space. The version you should choose depends on how much available space you have and what type of device you’re using. 

For example, episodes downloaded in the Standard version look fine on a smartphone, but it’s best to opt for a higher resolution if you’re using a laptop or tablet.    

Here’s how you can change your download quality:

  1. Access the App Settings menu by tapping your profile icon on Chrome, Amazon, iOS, and Android apps.
  2. Under the Downloads heading, tap ‘Download Video Quality‘(for Android) or ‘Video Quality‘ and choose your preferred quality.
  3. If you’re using a laptop with Windows 10, click on Menu > Settings > Download and then set your video quality there. 

Can You Download Anything on Netflix?

Unfortunately, you cannot download all of the movies and shows available on Netflix, usually because the networks behind them have requested their content to be left off the downloadable list. 

However, you can download all Netflix Originals, including popular titles such as The Last Kingdom, Stranger Things, Cobra Kai, Bridgerton, Vikings Valhalla, The Witcher, The Sandman, The Man From Toronto, and The Devil All The Time.

There are a few non-Netflix Originals available for download as well, including Better Call Saul, The Good Place, Schitt’s Creek, and Breaking Bad (at the time of writing). 

Enabling Automatic Downloads

While manually selecting and downloading content is an excellent feature unto itself, Netflix also allows you to download titles automatically. Earlier this year, the streaming service brought out a new feature for iOS and Android users called “Downloads For You.”

This feature uses your viewing history to select and download TV shows and movies that suit your taste. It’s extremely easy to activate Downloads For You, but keep in mind that it needs a WiFi connection to work (no cellular data). Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Launch your phone’s Netflix app.
  2. Tap ‘Downloads‘ on the bottom right of the home screen.
  3. Tap the ‘Smart Downloads‘ option at the top of your screen.
  4. Toggle on ‘Downloads For You.’    

If you’re worried about how much of your device’s storage space this feature will use, you can simply adjust your data usage preferences by tapping ‘Allocate Storage.’ You can then use the Minus and Plus icons to choose between 5 GB, 3 GB, and 1 GB storage caps. 

How Long Do Downloads Last?

Netflix movie on tv

There are a few restrictions on the number of times you can download certain titles and the length of time you have to complete watching them. For instance, the platform doesn’t allow you to download the same Bridgerton episode more than three times in one billing cycle.  

Titles also expire within a month of downloading, so make sure you watch your downloaded movies and TV shows before that.

Keep in mind that not all networks are so generous in regards to downloading content. In fact, there are a few shows or movies that can only be downloaded once because of the network’s licensing agreement with Netflix.

Such titles also expire a week after downloading if you don’t watch them and disappear two days after you first press play.