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 the perfect option for plane rides, car trips, and other places that benefit from entertainment but don't necessarily have great internet connections.

Downloading Netflix movies and TV shows to a Mac is more complicated.

Downloading a Netflix movie or show to the Netflix app on Apple's iPad is easy, but there isn't a painless way to download Netflix shows to a Mac.

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 to have 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 and sign in to your account.

  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 to select it.

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

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

  5. When the download is complete, tap the Play arrow on the downloaded video or TV show to watch it or download other content and watch it later.

  6. After you watch the movie or TV show, or you just want to remove it 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.

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

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

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 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.