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

No internet connection? No problem. You can still watch Netflix!

Downloading movies and TV shows from Netflix to watch on your iPad when you're not connected to the internet is simple. Downloaded movies and TV shows are perfect for plane rides, car trips, and other places that benefit from entertainment but don't necessarily have great internet connections.

These directions apply to all IPad models running the latest version of the Netflix app, and every version of macOS.

How to Download Movies From Netflix to iPad

Person downloading Netflix files to an iPad
Lifewire / Alex Dos Diaz

An iPad is the perfect device for downloading Netflix shows and movies because it's lightweight, has a big screen, a long-lasting battery, and it's easy to take along on a trip.

To download movies from Netflix to an iPad, you need an active Netflix subscription and the free Netflix app available at the App Store.

Most movies and TV shows on Netflix have a download option, but not all of them do. To download from Netflix to the iPad:

  1. Launch the Netflix app on the iPad.

  2. Scroll down on the opening screen to browse the listings and tap the movie, TV show, or an entire season of TV that you want to download. To limit your search to movies only, tap Movies in the menu bar.

    Movies tab on Netflix app for iPad
  3. If your selection is a movie, tap the Download downward arrow below the movie description. If there is no Download downward arrow, the movie can't be downloaded.

    A movie screen on Netflix app for iPad

    When the download begins, a progress wheel replaces the download arrow, and a status indicator appears.

    Downloading indicator on a Netflix movie

    The movie downloads to the My Downloads screen, which you reach by tapping Downloads at the bottom of the screen

  4. If your selection is a TV show, tap the downward arrow next to each episode you want to watch to initiate the downloads. If you use the Smart Download feature in the app, download only the first episode.

    TV season episodes on Netflix app for iPad

    Smart Downloads is a feature that is turned on in the app by default. It saves space on your iPad when you watch multi-episode TV shows. When you finish watching an episode you've downloaded, the app deletes it the next time the iPad has a Wi-Fi connection and downloads the next episode automatically, so you always have only one episode on your iPad at a time.

  5. When the download is complete, tap the Downloads button at the bottom of the screen to open the My Downloads screen.

    TV show on Netflix app showing link to My Downloads
  6. Tap the Play arrow on the downloaded movie or TV show you want to watch on the My Downloads screen to watch it.

    TV show download on Netflix app for iPad
  7. When you want to remove the movie or TV show from your iPad, tap the Download icon next to the listing—it resembles a check mark in a box—and then tap Delete Download to remove it from your iPad. You can also find all your downloaded Netflix movies and shows in the Downloads menu at the bottom of the app.

    Netflix app for iPad showing movie deletion

You can't keep a download on your iPad if you cancel your subscription.

Netflix App Settings

The settings for the Netflix for iPad app is where you indicate whether you want to limit downloads to Wi-Fi only, which is the default. You can also change the video quality from Standard, which is sufficient for viewing on the iPad, to Higher, which you might prefer if you plan to stream the movie to a larger screen, and turn Smart Downloads on and off, among other options. Locate the Netflix App Settings by tapping More at the bottom of the Netflix screen.

Netflix for iPad settings

How to Download Movies From Netflix to a Mac

There is no Netflix app for the Mac. You can access Netflix in your browser, but you can't download any content from the browser version of Netflix to your Mac. Netflix doesn't support downloading and offline watching on Mac.

Despite this, there are a couple of legal options for viewing downloaded Netflix content on your Mac.

Boot Camp and Windows: Netflix offers a Netflix app for Windows computers at the Microsoft Store. Boot Camp, a utility that comes on Macs, allows you to run Windows 10 on your Mac. Then, you can download the Netflix app for Windows and use it to download content from Netflix legally. You'll need a copy of Windows 10 to install on your Mac, though, so this isn't an inexpensive alternative.

Streaming from an iPad: The Netflix app for iPads supports AirPlay, which allows wireless streaming of multimedia content between Apple devices. So, you can stream any Netflix content you download on your iPad to your Mac. Why would you? Probably to display a movie on a larger screen for multiple viewers. This isn't the same as downloading to the Mac, but it is a workaround for multi-device users.

How Not to Download Netflix Movies to a Mac

You may run across screen-capture software online that attempts to get around Netflix's limitation, but beware: Copying a movie online is pirating content, which is illegal, and the quality of the result is often poor. Netflix probably won't come after you if you record a show for yourself and don't share it with others, but do you want to take that chance? Better check the Netflix terms.

Copying a movie isn't the same as downloading one. It takes the same amount of time to record as the movie runs, and the quality is never as good as the original. Also, you run the risk of downloading malware along with any screen-capture or recording software you try.

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 mobile device that supports the Netflix app and downloading videos for viewing offline.