How to Download Netflix TV Shows and Movies for Offline Viewing

Netflix on an airplane
iStock
Was this page helpful?
01
of 05

Know What the Download Button Looks Like

Netflix
Screenshots of Netflix for iOS

Netflix's extensive lineup of commercial-free, on-demand TV show episodes and movies makes it super convenient to watch something anywhere, anytime. In November of 2016, Netflix made it even more convenient to watch shows and movies by giving users the option to download them so they could watch them offline.

The Download Button Appears Beside or Beneath Each Title

If you've just installed or updated the Netflix app for Android or iOS, you should see an initial message telling you to look for the downward facing arrow symbol to download titles so you can watch them anywhere without having to worry about finding a Wi-Fi connection or using any data.

You won't see the download button anywhere on the main tab, but when you tap to view the details of a particular TV show or movie, you should be able to easily spot the download button. There should be a download button appearing to the right of each TV show episode while for movies, you should see the button directly beneath the Play button right beside My List and Share.

What About in a Web Browser?

The Netflix offline download feature is currently only available on the official Netflix mobile apps for Android and iOS. So if you access Netflix on the web or from another device like your Apple TV, you won't see any options to download titles.

02
of 05

Tap the Download Button to Download Content Instantly

Netflix
Screenshots of Netflix for iOS

Once you've settled on a title to download, tap it and watch the icon turn blue as it shows you the progress of your download. A blue tab will also appear at the bottom of the screen to let you know what you're downloading.

When the download is fully finished, the blue, in-progress download button will turn into a blue device icon. It will say that the download has finished the tab at the bottom, and you'll be able to tap it to go to your downloads where you'll be able to tap the title you just downloaded to instantly watch it offline.

You'll notice that as you download different episodes of the same TV show, the show itself will appear in your downloads, which you can tap to see all your downloaded episodes in a separate tab. This keeps them organized so you don't have all downloaded episodes from different shows (plus movies) showing up in one tab.

03
of 05

Manage Your Downloads by Deleting What You've Watched

Netflix
Screenshots of Netflix for iOS

You can access your downloads no matter where you are within the app by tapping the icon that looks like a hamburger in the top left corner to access the main menu and the tapping My Downloads.

As you download and watch different titles, you'll most likely want to delete the ones you've finished watching in order to keep your unwatched downloads easy to find and to free up space. To delete a title, simply tap the blue device icon to the right of the title then tap Delete Download from the menu options that appear at the bottom of the screen.

The limit to how many titles you can download depends on your device's local storage capacity. So, for example, if you're downloading Netflix titles on your 64GB iPhone but you've already used up 63GB, then you won't have much room to download lots of Netflix titles. If, however, your 64GB iPhone has 10GB of storage currently used up already, then you have lots room.

In your downloads, you'll be able to see how much space each title takes up. For TV shows in particular, you can see how much space you're using for all downloaded episodes of a certain show combined or you can tap the show to view individual episodes and how much space they use up.

04
of 05

Use Your App Settings to Save Storage

Netflix
Screenshots of Netflix for iOS

When you navigate to App Settings from the main menu, there's an option to delete all downloads if you'd prefer to do it un bulk plus a legend that shows you how much space your device is using, how much of that space includes downloaded Netflix titles and how much free space you have left.

By default, the app has the Wi-Fi Only option turned on so that downloads will only occur when you're connected to wireless internet in order to help you save data, but you have the option to turn this off if you wish. Video quality is also set to standard by default to help you save storage, but you can also change this option to higher quality if you want an improved viewing experience and have no problem with storage limitations.

05
of 05

Check Out the 'Available for Download' Section

Netflix
Screenshots of Netflix for iOS

In the main menu directly beneath the Home option, you'll see an option labeled Available for Download. This section will show you all the TV shows and movies that you can download to watch online whenever you're on the go.

Why Can't I Download My Favorite Show?

Unfortunately, not all Netflix titles will be available to download due to licensing restrictions, and you'll probably notice this when you fail to see the download button besides certain titles. Likewise, some downloads will expire, however those that do will give you a warning first in your downloads section.

Is There An Expiration Date?

Netflix doesn't specify which titles have expiration dates or time limits, so there's no guarantee that you'll be able to watch all 22 episodes in a season of a particular TV show that you downloaded before they're set to expire. Luckily, many downloadable titles are renewed on Netflix and will still be available to download even after they expire from your downloads section, so if you do happen to see titles expiring in your downloads section before you've watched them, you should be able to tap the exclamation point icon beside the expired title to re-download it.