23 Feb 2021: Netflix mobile will automatically download recommended content for offline viewing
On Monday, Netflix announced a new Downloads For You feature for its Android and iOS applications. The streaming giant will automatically download recommended TV shows and movies based on your taste.
It is already being rolled out on Android, and testing on iOS will begin soon. The feature is being marketed as an extension to the Smart Downloads feature from three years ago.
On the go: Feature fills up pre-allocated space with content tailored for you
Netflix's Downloads For You will allocate up to 5GB of storage space on your mobile device, which will then be automatically populated by downloading TV shows and movies as per your Netflix viewing habits.
The feature aims to provide content that is ready to view and based on your tastes, even when you are on the move and devoid of reliable internet connectivity.
Toggle switch: Recommended movies and shows will be downloaded only over Wi-Fi
The new feature can be enabled by navigating to the Downloads tab on your mobile device and using the toggle switch/slider for Downloads For You.
The feature description from the screenshots Netflix shared says that content will be downloaded only over the Wi-Fi connection.
It also clarifies that space allocated for downloading recommended content is separate from space used by titles downloaded manually.
Licensing restrictions: Netflix's entire catalogue probably won't work with Downloads For You
The Downloads For You feature is touted as an addition to the existing Smart Downloads feature from 2018. The feature automatically deletes downloads which have been watched, and starts downloading the next episode of a show you are watching.
While Netflix says its entire catalogue is available, TechCrunch reports that some downloads will be limited due to licensing restrictions.
Emerging markets: New feature available worldwide on Android; timeline uncertain for iOS
Although the new feature is aimed at emerging markets such as Brazil and India, Netflix noted high usage in the US during testing. The feature will be a boon for people who travel frequently or are plagued by unreliable internet connections.
There is no concrete timeline for the feature's deployment on iOS, but it is already available worldwide on Android devices.