One of the most useful features of the Netflix app is the ability to download movies and TV shows to your device, so you can avoid potential streaming problems and watch content offline whenever you want. To make downloading even easier, you can automatically download new episodes of your favorite TV shows as soon as you are done with the episodes already stored on your phone.
This feature is called “Smart Downloads” and has been available in the Android app since 2018. While the iOS and iPadOS app didn’t get the tool at the same time, it will be available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch models starting February 7. , 201
What You Should Know About Smart Downloads
First, Smart Downloads only works over Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to worry about Netflix eating up cellular data. Even if you have an unlimited data plan, you have to use a Wi-Fi connection to work its magic.
Second, if you have finished watching an episode while not connected to Wi-Fi, the app will wait to delete the episode and download the next one until the next time it connects to a Wi-Fi network. However, this doesn’t always work as described, so you may have to manually stop and restart stuck downloads.
Third, Smart Downloads is only activated over Wi-Fi if there is another episode in the series to download. If you just watched the final episode of the series or season available, nothing will be automatically downloaded and the latest episode will not be deleted from your device unless you manually delete it.
Fourth, the feature does not affect the storage of your smartphone or tablet outside of what you downloaded manually. That’s because it keeps exchanging the last viewed episode on the device with the next available episode. So you don’t have to worry too much about storage space.
Set up smart downloads on your device
Setting up Smart Downloads isn’t just easy – it may not be necessary at all. The feature should be enabled by default in your account unless you manually disabled it in the app. To check if it is enabled there are two routes.
Option 1: via downloads
Tap the “Downloads” tab. At the top of the page there should be a link to “Smart Downloads”. On iOS, it tells you right away if it’s on or off, but not on Android.
Tapping “Smart Downloads” will open the settings. On iOS you can read more about it and turn the switch on or off. On Android, you need to enable or disable Download next episode. You will notice that there is another feature on Android called “Downloads for you” that automatically downloads content based on your history that has not yet appeared to iOS.
Option 2: via app settings
Option 1 is the faster way, but you can also access the Smart Download preferences from the app’s settings menu.
- On iOS: Tap your user image in the top right, then tap App Settings and make sure the switch for Smart Downloads is turned on.
- On Android: Tap your user image in the top right, then tap ‘App settings’. Then tap “Smart Downloads” and make sure “Download next episode” is enabled. (There is also a newer feature called “Downloads for You” that automatically downloads content based on your history, as mentioned earlier.)
How smart downloads work on your device
Suppose you are on the first episode of “Bojack Horseman” or “Ozark”, which is already stored in your smartphone or tablet storage. If you started playback from the Downloads tab, Netflix will take you back to the list after the episode ends. It should then start downloading the next episode in the background, and the watched episode will be deleted automatically when it’s done. Pretty handy.
The next time you finish watching an episode that has been downloaded to your device, it will be overwritten over Wi-Fi the next time, or the next time you connect to Wi-Fi. If it didn’t work, the last episode viewed may have been the last episode available for the series on Netflix.
If the next episode crashes while downloading, you have probably watched the latest episode without WiFi and recently connected to a WiFi network; You may need to stop and restart the download. But that’s not helpful if it happens all the time. You can try to force close Netflix, turn off and on Smart Downloads, reset Netflix (only from Settings app on iOS / iPadOS), uninstall and reinstall the app, and reboot your device.
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