The new download function will automatically delete watched episodes and download new ones. It is available now on Android and will launch on iOS later this year.
A smarter download feature
In late 2016, the company introduced a download function for offline viewing. This feature is now being expanded with more intelligent control for episodic video. Netflix had dubbed it ”Smart Downloads”.
- ”Today, we are excited to introduce Smart Downloads. Now, when you finish watching a downloaded episode, Smart Downloads will delete it, and then automatically download the next episode. You watch, we do the work,” said Cameron Johnson, Director of Product Innovation, Netflix. ”We also want to emphasize that giving consumers more control over their entertainment experience is at the heart of everything we do, and members can choose when they want to use Smart Downloads.”
Not all content on the service is available to download due to content rights limitations. Netflix’s “Original” content is usually available to download.
A few years ago, Netflix was hesitant to let users download its content but later decided to go ahead as it expanded globally to regions where internet infrastructure is less robust – and after key competitors introduced the feature.
Smart Downloads is available now on Android smartphones and tablets. It works only on WiFi. It will launch on iOS later this year.
Netflix Smart Downloads – how it works
What are Smart Downloads? - Smart Downloads help you spend less time managing downloads and more time watching. Smart Downloads gets the next episodes downloaded for you and deletes those you’ve already watched.
How does it work? - It is actually pretty simple. Here is what will happen: - You finish watching an episode you’ve downloaded. - The next time you’re on Wi-Fi, the app automatically deletes that episode and downloads the next available one. - Once the download completes, you’re ready to watch.
How does it use phone space? - Smart Downloads deletes an episode for every episode it downloads. It won’t take up extra space beyond what you’ve already downloaded.
Does Smart Downloads use more of my plan’s data? - Smart Downloads only works over wifi and won't use your wireless data plan.
Does Smart Downloads use my cellular data? - Nope. It only works when you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
Can I turn this feature off? - It is easy to opt out of the smart downloading feature. On the top of the Downloads tab, you will see an edit option on the top right hand of the screen. Once you click on that, you can toggle the smart downloading option to Off. - Alternatively, you can also turn off Smart Downloads from your App Settings.
If I want to keep an episode even after I watch it, how do I do that? - To manually manage your downloaded content, turn the Smart Downloading feature off.
How will I know when smart downloads is active or has downloaded a new episode? - You will see a status notification on your phone when downloading is in progress and will receive a notification when the downloads are complete.
When is Smart Downloads activated? - Smart Downloads is activated whenever you reconnect to wifi and you have watched a downloaded episode and there are more un-downloaded episodes to watch.
I downloaded a whole season of a series. Once I finish episode 1, what happens next? - Smart Downloads is really just another way for you to help manage your downloaded files on the Netflix app. Once you have finished watching a episode, we will download the next available episode for a title. In this case, if you have downloaded an entire season and watched the first episode, that episode will be deleted and we will download Episode 1 of Season 2, as long as it is available for download on the service.