How to Get Netflix to Automatically Download Shows and Movies to Your Phone Based on Your Interests « Smartphones :: Gadget Hacks


These days, there’s more content than ever, and the amount of titles available can make choosing something to watch nearly impossible. Netflix provides suggestions based on content you’ve already viewed, which helps, and the company believes so much in its algorithms that it now gives you the ability to automatically download videos to your devices based on your interests, without any decision required.

Netflix launched its automatic download feature, dubbed “Downloads for You,” on Monday, February 22, but only on its Android app. It says that iOS trial will start “soon”, so don’t expect to see this feature coming to your iPhone for a while.

Now, this new “Downloads for You” feature should not be confused with “Smart Downloads”, which automatically deletes episodes from your device after you finish them while simultaneously downloading subsequent episodes.

Setting up downloads for you

On Android, update your Netflix app to version 7.91.0 or later, then launch it. When you first log in, you should be greeted with a blue pop-up informing you of the downloads for you. But you should head to “Downloads” to find the full Downloads welcome screen for you, then tap “Setup” to continue.

Now you choose how much data you allow Netflix to download to your device, using the minus (–) and plus (+) buttons on the screen. This data cap dictates how many TV shows and movies the app will download to your phone. For example, if you stick with the default 3 gigabytes, the app will stop downloading content just before it hits that limit.

Netflix says you can choose between 1GB, 3GB, or 5GB, but in our experience, the app lets you choose between 0.5GB and 9.5GB in half-gigabyte increments. When you’re happy with your data limit, tap “Enable”.

Now all you have to do is let Netflix start downloading for you! Although the Downloads for You page tells you to come back later to see what the app has downloaded for you, it won’t be long before you start seeing titles filling the page.

Manage your titles

If you’ve enabled smart downloads, Netflix will automatically remove the episodes you’re watching and replace them with the next title, data permitting. However, it doesn’t seem to delete movies after watching them, so you have to delete them manually.

To delete a title, long press it or tap the pencil in the top right. Next, tap the title, as well as any other titles you want to remove. Finally, tap the trash can in the top right to confirm.

Disable downloads for you

Downloads for you not for you? No problem because you can deactivate the feature at any time. Just go back to the “Downloads” page and tap on “Smart Downloads”. Now check “Downloads for you” and turn off the slider next to the feature description.

Setting data limits for the entire Netflix account

You might notice something interesting on the Smart Downloads settings page: data limit controls for other members of your Netflix account.

You see, this feature doesn’t just apply to you – anyone on your Netflix account can join too. That said, there is a total account upload limit of 28GB, at least on my Netflix account for three people. Nobody can use the whole allocation since the limit is 9.5 GB per member, but the limit still exists. These figures may be different depending on the number of members of the account.

Anyone in the account can manage the other member’s data limits, which seems to be an oversight on Netflix’s part. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the company restrict this feature to just the account holder, but in the meantime, it’s open season. If you want, you can tap the plus/minus buttons to change the data limits for anyone on your account.




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Cover image, screenshots and GIFs by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks


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Deana N. Guinn