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Netflix Binge-Watching Just Got Even Easier: Now It Automatically Downloads New Episodes To Watch Offline

Netflix's Smart Downloads feature for shows will be available to Android users first.

Posted on July 10, 2018, at 9:01 a.m. ET

Netflix is automating downloads of series so you can binge-watch shows off-line without even pressing a button. A feature called Smart Downloads rolls out on Android Tuesday, July 10. When you finish watching an episode of a show, the Netflix app will automatically delete it and download the next one as long as you're connected to a Wi-Fi network.

IFC / Via

"Downloading is a very manual process today," Netflix's Director of Product Innovation Cameron Johnson told BuzzFeed News. "And you have to manually go back and delete episodes."

How is this useful? Imagine downloading an episode or two of Stranger Things at home and watching it on the subway to work. Once you connect to your office Wi-Fi, Netflix will delete the episodes you've already watched and seamlessly download the next one in the background.

You'll always have something to watch on your phone even if you're stuck without a cellular connection or Wi-Fi.


Smart Downloads is available for shows that you can already download on Netflix, but it doesn't work with movies.

"Netflix isn't intelligent enough to figure out the exact movie you might want to watch next yet!" said Johnson.

If you're on Android, you'll get the feature Tuesday. Netflix says that iOS users will get it "later this year."

Already, Netflix users watch more than 140 million hours of TV shows and movies each day, according to the company. Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said at a conference last year that by adding a download feature, "We actually wind up serving parts of Latin America and big chunks of Asia much better than we used to. The feature also helped address a demand from "young people who really like doing that, dropping the things on their phone, and also people who do short-haul commuting who basically don't have a dependable signal on the train and all those different things."

If you hate Smart Downloads, you can head into settings and turn the feature off.

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A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.