How to Change Video Quality on Netflix

Changing the quality uses less data, but you can't change everything

What to Know

  • On the web: Profile icon > Account > profile icon > Playback Settings > Change > make selection > Save.
  • On a smartphone: profile icon > App Settings > Cellular Data Usage > make selection.

This article explains how to change video quality on Netflix. Not every setting is available to you, but here's what you can change and how to do it.

How to Change Video Quality on Netflix

Changing Netflix video quality can help ensure that you're always seeing the best picture quality. It can also help balance the data use on a Wi-Fi network so that everyone who's connected has a good experience. Whatever your goal, it's crucial to understand one thing: you don't change video quality on each device.

Netflix video quality settings are changed in your account and then are applied automatically to every device signed into the account whose settings you changed. The exception to this is smartphones (and other devices with cellular data connections); more on that in the next section.

For now, the important point to understand is you can change the video quality settings for every device you use Netflix on by following these steps just once:

  1. Click the profile icon in the top right corner.

  2. Select Account.

    Netflix site with Account menu item selected
  3. Click the profile whose video quality settings you want to change.

    Netflix Account settings
  4. Click Change next to Playback Settings.

    Netflix Profile settings and options
  5. Click the button next to the video quality you want to use on all of your devices and click Save.

    Netflix Playback settings

There's one type of video quality you can't just select using these steps: 4K. That's because Netflix charges extra for its 4K plan. In order to get 4K video, you'll need to upgrade to a plan which includes that option. From the Account screen, click Change Plan and select a 4K option.

How Do I Change Video Quality in the Netflix App?

As mentioned above, most video quality changes on Netflix happen at the account level and apply to all of your devices—except for devices with cellular data connections, like smartphones. That's because many people have monthly cellular data limits or pay extra above a certain amount of use and want phone-specific settings.

To change video quality in the Netflix app on your smartphone, follow these steps:

  1. Tap your profile icon in the top right corner.

  2. Tap App Settings.

    Netflix showing App Settings menu item
  3. In the Video Playback section, tap Cellular Data Usage.

  4. Your options are:

    • Automatic: The default option. The app automatically adjusts your video quality based on the strength of your data connection.
    • Wi-Fi Only: Choose this to only stream Netflix when your phone is connected to Wi-Fi.
    • Save Data: Need to conserve cellular data but still want to stream? This is your option.
    • Maximum Data: Got unlimited data or want the best video quality no matter what? This delivers it.
  5. Make your choice and tap X to return to the app.

    In order to select anything other than Automatic, you have to first deselect it. Then, you can choose Save Data, for example.

    After choosing a different option, you have to press OK.

    Netflix video quality settings on iPhone
  • Can you manually change quality on Netflix?

    Netflix doesn't give you an option to manually change video quality or to do it while you're watching a video. Netflix detects your available bandwidth and automatically adjust video quality to match it and to deliver video to you. That generally works pretty well and is the best you can do. Changing the video quality won't help when Netflix is buffering.

  • Why is my Netflix quality bad?

    If your internet should be fast enough to deliver a high-quality stream, but you aren't seeing one, you may have a bandwidth issue. Online games, downloads, and people streaming in other rooms can all slow down your connection to Netflix. Turn off anything that might be using up bandwidth. Otherwise, try troubleshooting your internet connection.

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