Tired of having your Netflix downloads expire before you get a chance to watch them? You’re not alone. Download expiration is a common frustration among Netflix users. The good news is there are steps you can take to get around this limitation and keep your downloads fresh.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to maximize the life of your Netflix downloads so you can watch shows and movies on the go, even without an internet connection.
Why Do Netflix Downloads Expire?
Netflix downloads expire due to licensing restrictions. Movie studios and networks place limits on how long downloaded content can be accessed offline as part of their distribution deals with Netflix. This prevents the indefinite availability of “downloaded” content, which could impact overall viewing numbers and licensing economics.
Typically, Netflix downloads last 48 hours from the moment you hit download before they expire. Some content expires after just 7 days. This time limit encourages users to reconnect and re-verify their Netflix subscription periodically instead of stockpiling content indefinitely.
12 Ways to Prevent Netflix Downloads From Expiring
While you can’t eliminate download expiration entirely, you can prolong the life of your downloads through these handy tips and tricks:
1. Double Check Download Settings
Not all downloads are created equal. Be sure to check the download settings by tapping the download icon next to the title.
- Standard Definition downloads tend to last 48 hours.
- Higher Definition downloads like HD may expire after just 7 days.
Opt for SD whenever possible to get the maximum 48-hour viewing window.
2. Download Over Wi-Fi
Always initiate and renew downloads over Wi-Fi instead of mobile data. Downloads consume data quickly, so saving them for Wi-Fi helps avoid unwanted data overages. Plus, downloads tend to process faster over Wi-Fi compared to mobile data.
3. Disable Auto-Delete
The Netflix app automatically deletes watched downloads to conserve device storage space. Turn this setting off to prevent downloaded content from being removed until expiration.
On iOS devices, disable Auto-Delete in App Settings > Downloads. On Android, toggle off “Delete Watched Downloads” in App Settings.
7. Airplane Mode
After downloading a show or movie on Wi-Fi, put your device in Airplane mode. This prevents Netflix from verifying your subscription status and starting the expiration timer.
Your download could potentially remain accessible well beyond the typical 48-hour window in Airplane mode. Just reconnect briefly to renew when needed.
8. Download Just Before Traveling
Timing is everything when it comes to getting the most mileage from Netflix downloads. Initiate downloads as close as possible to when you actually need offline access, such as right before a flight or commute.
This minimizes the time between downloading and viewing, helping avoid expiration before you get to watch.
9. Renew Downloads Regularly
Especially for longer trips, periodically reconnect to Wi-Fi and renew soon-to-expire downloads to keep your queue refreshed. For example, renew downloads each night while connected to hotel Wi-Fi to stop the timer.
Netflix allows unlimited renewals as long as the title is still available in your country’s content library.
10. Download Partial Series
Rather than downloading entire seasons, just grab a few key episodes to watch offline. Downloading partial seasons consumes less device storage and also ensures you can renew downloads of other episodes later.
11. Change Download Location
You can change the default download location on Android devices via App Settings, and on iOS in the system Settings app.
Try saving downloads directly to device storage rather than external SD cards. The SD card slot can sometimes disconnect, preventing download renewal.
12. Close & Reopen App
If a downloaded title suddenly becomes unavailable, try force closing and reopening the Netflix app. This often resets any errors and allows you to access and renew expired downloads as long as they still reside on your device.
Can I Renew Netflix Downloads Before They Expire?
Yes, Netflix allows you to renew downloaded content an unlimited number of times during the active license period.
To renew, connect to the internet through Wi-Fi and open the Netflix app. Tap the download icon next to the expiring title. Netflix will verify your subscription and refresh the content’s offline viewing period back to the full 48 hours.
Renewals essentially reset the download expiration timer, allowing you to extend viewing access indefinitely as long as you reconnect periodically. Apps like Offline Manager even automate this renewal process on certain devices.
The key caveat is that titles can only be renewed as long as they remain available in your country’s Netflix content library. Netflix occasionally loses licensing rights and must remove titles from availability.
In these cases, you obviously can no longer renew and extended those specific downloads. But as long as the show or movie is still actively licensed and streamable through Netflix, feel free to keep on downloading and renewing to your heart’s content!
With the rise of media streaming, people want access to their favourite shows whether they have an internet connection or not. Netflix makes this possible by allowing users to download movies and episodes for offline viewing.
However, these downloads eventually expire to prevent indefinite availability. The typical download remains accessible for 1-7 days before being rendered unavailable.
Fortunately, utilizing the tips in this guide can help you proactively maximize your Netflix downloads. By optimizing settings, managing device storage, utilizing Wi-Fi, and periodically renewing expiring downloads, you can enjoy your favourite shows on the go without interruption.
While downloaded content on Netflix does have an expiration date, you hold more power than you think when it comes to prolonging offline access. Next time you face a situation with limited connectivity, try these tricks to keep your Netflix downloads from expiring prematurely.
Why do my downloads expire so quickly sometimes?
If your downloads are expiring unusually fast, it may be because you are downloading over mobile data instead of Wi-Fi, or selecting the higher-definition quality tier which has a shorter 7-day expiration period. Stick to Standard Definition and Wi-Fi downloads to get the maximum 48 hours.
What happens when a download expires?
Once a download hits its expiration time limit, it will simply become unavailable to watch offline, and the episode or movie will be removed from your downloads tab. However, you can always re-download the title again as long as it is still available in your country.
Can I use TrickPlay once a download expires?
No. TrickPlay allows you to fast-forward, rewind, or pause downloads while actively watching them. But once a download expires, the content is no longer accessible at all. You would need to renew the download first before being able to leverage TrickPlay again.
Do Smart Downloads expire?
Yes. Netflix’s Smart Downloads feature automatically deletes watched downloads and replaces them with the next unwatched episode in a series. However, all downloaded content through Smart Downloads still adheres to the usual 48-hour expiration policy too.
Can I download Netflix content to watch offline forever?
Unfortunately no. Due to licensing restrictions, all downloaded Netflix content will eventually expire. The max viewing window per download is only 48 hours. However, you can continuously renew expiring downloads to indefinitely extend access as long as the title remains available in your country’s Netflix library.
Why does Netflix limit downloads?
Download limits are imposed largely due to licensing agreements with studios and networks. Offline viewing rights are time-restricted to encourage online streaming instead of indefinite offline access. Periodic download renewal prompts more frequent interactions and verification of an active Netflix account.
What devices support downloading Netflix titles?
Netflix allows downloads on Android and iOS phones and tablets. Some Windows 10 laptops and desktops also support downloading via the Netflix app from the Microsoft Store. Downloads are not possible on Chromebooks, Apple TV, game consoles or other platforms.
How many devices can download per account?
How much storage space do Netflix downloads take?
Download file size varies based on the video resolution, but generally speaking, expect approximately 500 MB of storage for 1 hour of SD quality video, and up to 3 GB per hour for HD quality. Manage your device’s storage to ensure ample room for downloads.