(2018) How to Download Netflix Movies & Shows to Watch Offline on iPhone or iPad

Watching Netflix offline was a dream until fairly recently. In the past, watching Netflix offline wasn’t possible because there was no way to download Netflix movies or TV shows. But that’s all changed and now learning how to download Netflix movies and TV shows for offline viewing is easy with a quick how-to. We’ll cover how to watch Netflix offline by downloading your content ahead of time, as well as whether or not you can download Netflix on Mac or PC, what’s available on Netflix to download, and how to change the video quality for your Netflix downloads. Subscribers have been wanting to watch Netflix offline on their iPads or iPhones for years, and now Netflix has made it easy. Here's how to watch Netflix offline on iPhone and iPad.

We all want to know how to download Netflix movies onto our iPads or iPhones, especially for long plane flights, where offline Netflix would be a godsend. Luckily, Netflix finally gave the people what they want. With a little planning ahead, you can download Netflix movies or TV shows and then watch them offline. When you download Netflix content, it’s saved offline to your iOS device, such as your iPad or iPhone. 

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While Netflix has made it easy to download movies and TV shows to your iPad or iPhone, the same cannot be said for offline Netflix movies on Mac. This is largely due to the fact that there is no official Netflix app for Mac. I’ll cover my recommendations for watching Netflix offline on Mac below, but it’s not something I condone and is in violation of Netflix’s Terms & Conditions. But on your iPad or iPhone, you can download and watch all the Netflix movies and shows that can fit on your device.

Related Video: Use 3D Touch to Continue Watching Netflix

The above video is a preview of an iPhone Life Insider Daily Video Tip

Can You Watch Netflix on a Plane?

In one word, yes! But make sure you plan ahead. When you’re packing for your trip, get on your iPhone or iPad and figure out what content you want to download for offline viewing. Use our tip below to do it. Then when you’re on the plane, the Netflix movies or TV shows you downloaded will be ready and waiting. When you’re done watching, be sure to delete the saved content, as it does take up space on your iOS device. Now, let’s jump into how download and watch Netflix offline.

How to Download & Watch Netflix Offline on iPad or iPhone

  • First, we need to update (or download) Netflix. To do this, open the App Store, tap Updates, and tap Update next to Netflix. Once your Netflix app has the latest update installed, open the app.

  • When you first open the app after updating Netflix, you’ll likely see the screenshot below informing you of the new offline watching feature. You can tap Find something to download or dismiss it.

  • However, the typical way you’ll access downloadable Netflix content is by tapping the Menu icon in the upper left corner that looks like three horizontal lines.

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  • From the menu, tap Available for Download.

  • Find a show or movie you want to download for offline viewing. Tap on it.

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  • Look for the download button. Tap the download button to download a full movie. You’ll need to download each individual episode of a series.

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Where to Find Your Netflix Downloads

  • Once your show or movie has downloaded, open the main Menu up again and tap My Downloads. Your list of downloads is easily accessible from here.

  • Tap on the show or movie you have downloaded to watch it offline.

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What Can You Download from Netflix to Watch Offline?

There’s far too many movies and TV shows available for download on Netflix to list here, which is a good sign for subscribers who want to watch Netflix offline. Some popular titles available for download on Netflix include:

  • Orange is the New Black
  • Stranger Things
  • The Crown
  • The OA

...And so much more. If you’re looking for something in particular, visit the Available for Download tab, found in the main menu on Netflix. Then tap the search icon, find the show or movie you’re looking for, and tap on. If you see a download icon, it’s available for offline viewing. If not, you’ll need the good ‘ol Wi-Fi connection to watch it.

How to Delete Downloaded Netflix Content

  • Once you’re ready to remove a download from your offline viewing list, you can swipe left on the download and tap the X to delete it.

  • Or tap Edit in the upper right corner and tap the X next to each download you want to remove.

How to Delete All Downloaded Netflix Content

  • In the Netflix app, open the main menu by tapping the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner.

  • Scroll down and tap App Settings.

  • Tap Delete All Downloads.

  • Confirm Delete.

Why Did My Netflix Download Expire & What to Do About It

Netflix movies and TV shows expire at different times. Downloaded content with less than seven days left before expiration will show you how much time is left in the My Downloads section of the Netflix app. Some content expires 48 hours after you press play; in this case, you’ll be able to see how many hours are left in the My Downloads section. Since downloaded Netflix movies and tv shows expire, I recommend downloading content the before your trip, especially if you’re planning to watch Netflix offline on a plane.

What if a show expires before I got a chance to watch it?

Get back to a Wi-Fi connection, delete the download, then redownload the movie or TV show from Netflix. The expiration timer will start over.

How to Manage Downloaded Netflix Storage & Change Video Quality

In the Netflix settings menu, you can see a snapshot chart of your iPhone and how much storage is used, how much storage is free, and how much storage Netflix downloads are taking up. In a glance, it’s easy tell whether or not there’s enough space to download more content or if you need to delete some older movies and shows first.

In the settings, you can also change the Video Quality of downloaded Netflix content. By default, this is set to Standard as it’s able to download content faster and use less storage. But you can change this setting and select Higher, which will use more storage but improve picture quality. To see the storage chart and change video quality:

  • In the Netflix app, open the main menu by tapping the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner.

  • Scroll down and tap App Settings.

  • The chart of your iPhone’s data usage will be at the bottom.

  • Tap on Video Quality to switch from Standard to Higher, or vice versa.

Related: How Much Data Does Netflix Use? (& What to Do About It)

How to Download Netflix on Mac or PC: 

There isn’t an official Netflix app in the Mac App Store, which means there’s no way to download Netflix content for offline viewing like there is on your iOS devices. And while there is a Netflix app for PCs running Windows 10, the app doesn't allow you to easily download Netflix to watch offline. There is no official way, approved by Netflix, to download content on a Mac or PC for offline viewing. Doing so breaks Netflix’s Terms & Conditions, so proceed at your own risk if you decide to do it anyway. Other bloggers have recommended recording your screen as the best way to save Netflix content offline. You can find plenty of apps or software that can record your screen. Of course, you’ll have to play the movie or TV show on Netflix while it records, which is pretty annoying. But you are breaking the rules, so what do you expect. 

Hopefully Netflix will offer a solution to this in the future; I know a lot of people prefer to travel with their laptop. I’d be happy to download a Netflix app on my Mac if it meant I could save movies and TV shows for offline viewing later. In the meantime, you can watch Netflix online in a browser window (Chrome, Safari, etc) while we all wait for a Netflix app for Mac.


Top Image Credit: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com

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Conner Carey is a writer & joyous creator; she works with online businesses to develop their brand and as a creative consultant to help artists of all kinds get unblocked. You can reach her at connercarey.com (coming soon) or @connerleecarey on Instagram. She’s currently garage-selling all of her stuff to hit the road in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi. Follow their adventures on instagram @georgiatheRV.