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When Netflix announced that they were introducing a new Netflix download service, I tried it out immediately. I was trying to get out of the door when I saw the announcement, so I started checking it out as I walked to the subway. I read that downloading an episode would use as much data as streaming it, so I didn’t want to do it over my cell phone signal. I waited until I got to my subway station (which recently got WiFi!).
I figured that crappy public WiFi might not work, but it did. The first episode of The Crown downloaded to my phone in under a minute.
I spent my long subway ride engrossed in a new show. The quality was perfect. This new service is a winner!The new Netflix download feature is easy to use, but there are some limitations. Click To Tweet
How it works is this: there are a bunch of shows and movies that can now be downloaded to your phone or tablet as long as you have a Netflix streaming membership. Not all shows and movies, though. There’s a ton of stuff, but nowhere near everything they offer for streaming.
You can search for shows and movies individually and look for the download symbol, which is the down arrow with a line under it:
(If you’ve already downloaded something, it will show a little phone symbol:)
Or, you can browse through everything that’s downloadable by clicking the three little lines in the top corner, then clicking on “Available for Download.”
Once you decide on something, you click the download symbol. If you have your account set so that you can’t download over data (I think that’s the default), you can either change the setting, or wait until you have WiFi. But remember, according to Netflix, downloading uses about as much data as streaming.
Your downloaded shows may have an expiration on them. So far, none of mine have. If an episode or movie expires, you have to download it again. Some series also reportedly have a limit on how many episodes you can download at once.
If you click on the three little lines in the top corner of the home screen you can go to the “My Downloads” section, and then see what you have available to watch:
First you’ll see all of the different series and movies you’ve downloaded:
You can click on each one for details, like which episodes you’ve downloaded, how much space they’re taking up, and if they have an expiration. Clicking on the little pencil in the top right corner lets you delete items and free up storage.
For now, if you’re an Android user and have external storage on your phone, the only way to download Netflix to that SD card is if the card is set up as the phone’s default storage – you can’t change it in the Netflix app.
If you’re one of those people who is always running out of space on your iPhone, I highly recommend the iXpand flash drive. I reviewed the older version last year, and now they have a sleek new version out that’s way smaller. I recommend this product to people all the time. I’m about to send one to my sister, who spent Thanksgiving weekend trying to find space on her iPhone to take more pictures!