Just in case you weren’t already wary of losing too many weekends to Netflix marathons, the streaming service is taking another huge step toward dominating its audience’s viewing habits: It’s making its programming available offline.
On November 30, Netflix announced on its media blog that it has launched a “download” option that will allow users to save content to their phones or tablets so they can watch it even without an internet connection — and no, it won’t cost extra. (The download option is not currently available for laptop computers.)
“While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their Stranger Things binge while on airplanes and other places where Internet is expensive or limited,” the company said in a statement. “Just click the download button on the details page for a film or TV series and you can watch it later without an internet connection.”
The download option is already available for many movies and series, including Netflix originals Stranger Things, The Crown, Orange Is the New Black, and Narcos. The company did not specify how much of its content catalog will ultimately be available for download at any given time, merely promising that there’s “more on the way.”
To see if the series or movie you want is available for download, you’ll need to have the most up-to-date version of the Netflix app on a phone and/or tablet using iOS 8.0 software or later, or Android 4.4.2 or later. Just search the title you want and look for the download icon (the arrow pointing downward to a horizontal line).
The Netflix app also features a separate “Available for Download” menu to display all the available content in one place, as well as a “My Downloads” section to keep track of the shows and movies you’ve already saved.
Netflix says that downloading uses about as much data as streaming, so you might want to use a wireless connection rather than a cellular one while downloading.
As the Hollywood Reporter noted, this kind of offline download option is one that Amazon made available for Prime subscribers in September 2015. It was probably only a matter of time before Netflix did the same, especially given its increasingly wide international subscriber base.
And if you’re a Netflix subscriber, you now have a new tool at your disposal to enable Netflix marathons wherever you go, whether in line at the store, on the subway, in the air, or anywhere in between. Eye contact with other humans is overrated, anyway.