How to Download Movies From Netflix on to Your Mac or iPad

No internet connection? No problem - you can still watch Netflix!

man watching tablet in airport
Download Netflix and you can watch anywhere.

Izabela Habur/E+/Getty Images

Did you know you can download movies and TV shows from Netflix to watch even when you're not connected to the Internet? It's true; with a little bit of planning, you can watch your favorite shows and films anywhere, anytime. If you download from Netflix, you won't need an internet connection to watch the video, making it the perfect option for plane rides, car trips, and other places that require a lot of entertainment but don't necessarily have great internet connections.

To download movies from Netflix, you'll need a few things:

  • An active Netflix subscription; you can't keep a download on your device if you cancel your subscription.
  • A device that supports Netflix. However, not all devices that can run Netflix offer the ability to download video. For this article, we'll focus on downloading Netflix to the iPad and the Mac.
  • A movie or TV show that has a download option. Most items that you can watch on Netflix allow this, but not all of them do.

How to Download Movies From Netflix to iPad

screenshot: Downloading netflix to ipad
Downloading a TV episode from Netflix to iPad.

An iPad is the perfect device to download Netflix shows and movies on because it's light, has a big screen, a long-lasting battery, and it's easy to bring along for a trip. To download from Netflix to the iPad:

  1. Launch the Netflix app on the iPad (download at the App Store if you don't have the app) and sign into your account if you're not already signed in.

  2. Find the movie, TV show, or an entire season of TV that you want to download.

  3. Tap the item you want to download.

  4. If it's a movie, tap the Download icon.

  5. If it's a TV show, you have to download episodes one at a time. Tap the Download icon next to each episode you want.

  6. When the download begins, a progress wheel replaces the download button and a status bar appears at the bottom.

  7. When the download is complete, you can download other media or watch the movie/TV show.

Once you've watched the movie or TV show, or if you didn't watch it and just want to remove it, tap the Download icon, then tap Delete Download (see above screenshot) to remove it from your iPad.

How to Download Movies From Netflix to a Mac

video editing on an imac
Downloading Netflix on a Mac requires screen-recording software. Lucy Lambriex/Taxi/Getty Images

Unlike the iPad, downloading Netflix to a Mac is a bit harder since Netflix doesn't support downloading and offline watching on Mac. It's hard to know why that is. Some possible reasons include that it could be due to the licensing of movies and TV shows, because Netflix believes people won't use it that way, or because watching on a Mac can make it easier to pirate content.

That last one might be the culprit because the closest you can get to downloading Netflix TV shows and movies to a Mac basically requires recording the video. To do that, you'll need software that can record the screen of your Mac as you stream Netflix. You can then save that recording and watch it offline later.

There are some obvious downsides to this, of course:

  • It's pirating content, which is illegal.

  • It's inconvenient, as you have to play the entire length of the video to save a copy. On the iPad, downloading a movie or TV show only takes a few minutes.

  • The quality of the video will vary based on the speed of your internet connection.

In short, trying to download Netflix to a Mac probably isn't the best idea. Even less so if you have an iOS or Android device; any of those that support the Netflix app should also support downloading videos and viewing offline.