There are a few things you’ll need while planning your next trip: earplugs in case you’re seated next to a toddler on an airplane; a neck pillow if you have the ability to rest on flights; and distractions from the doldrums inherent to any travel experience that doesn’t go awry. For most people, those helpful items include a book or a podcast, some music or a Nintendo Switch, or maybe just a bit of work. Since you don’t typically have excellent access to WiFi on a plane or train, a downloaded TV show or movie (or several) could also prove helpful.

Outside of travel, of course, there are plenty of times watching Netflix is simply easier if you have the shows or movies downloaded so you can view them offline whenever you want. Note: Netflix’s terms are, “Ad-free plans can have up to 100 active downloads at a time per device based on the number of devices included in your Netflix plan.” On plans with ads, it’s 15 downloads per device per month.

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Here’s how to do it.

How to download Netflix movies and shows for offline viewing

What You Need

  • Netflix app
  • iPhone or iPad
  • Android phone or tablet
  • Amazon Fire tablet
  • Windows 10 or 11 tablet
  • Chromebook

Step 1:
Download the Netflix app.

In order to download movies and TV shows from the Netflix app, you’ll first need the latest version of the app. You can get it on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 16 or later, on your Android phone or tablet running Android 5.0 or later, on your Amazon Fire tablet running Fire OS 5.0 or later, on your Windows 10 or 11 tablet or computer (only on ad-free Netflix plans), and on Chromebook through Google Play Store. Make sure you keep the app updated for it to work the best. To see if your app needs to be updated, navigate to your App Store and tap updates.

Screenshot of The App Store displaying the Netflix app page.

Credit: Apple screenshot

Step 2:
Choose your TV show or movie.

Once you’re in the app, you’ll find that not all movies or TV shows are available to download on Netflix. Some of them will not have the little down arrow download button. Netflix says this is because content rights are exclusive to another company, the rights aren’t available for Netflix to purchase, or a whole host of other reasons, like popularity, cost, availability, or seasonal and other localized factors. To find a movie or TV show that is downloadable, tap on your choice and look for the Downloads icon — a downward-facing arrow located near the play button. On a Windows 10 device, you’ll need to open the Netflix app and select Menu, then navigate to See What You Can Download, Find Something to Download, Find More to Download, or Available for Download, depending on your device. You can also filter for shows by what is available for download.

Screenshot of the Netflix app.

Credit: Apple screenshot

Step 3:
Download your TV show or movie.

On your device, click the Download button — that downward-facing arrow again — next to a TV show episode or a movie. It’ll download the fastest, and with the least data usage, if you’re on good WiFi. Once the show is downloaded, you’ll have access to it in your Downloads menu. All you have to do now is find the title you want to watch and press play. Downloads will expire after a period of time, and some have a limit on how many times they can be downloaded per year. Once you’re done watching, delete downloads from your device to make more room for — you guessed it — more downloads.

About to take a flight and looking for a Netflix show to download? Here’s 75 TV shows you can watch from start to finish, depending on how long your flight is.

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