Netflix is making offline viewing better for people more inclined to watch shows on the move and their Internet connection is spotty enough to only allow video streaming intermittently. While the company introduced the offline saving feature roughly two years back, it has now released a new feature called Smart Downloads. The Netflix Smart Downloads feature essentially downloads the next episode of the show after you are done with the previous one.
Currently available on Android, the Netflix Smart Downloads will replace the previously downloaded episode that you have caught up on with the next episode that you will likely watch. Netflix will download the next episodes of only a series, not special shows or movies, which, of course, won’t have episodes practically. The Android phone needs to be connected to the Wi-Fi connection when the Smart Downloads feature is activated. This will make sure that your cellular data isn’t exhausted.
The Smart Downloads feature can be found in the app settings, with the toggle turned off by default. You will have to enable it if you want to use the feature. For example, if you have watched episode 1 of a series – eligible for offline viewing – and have the Smart Downloads feature enabled, Netflix will automatically detect if you have finished viewing the episode and will begin saving the next episode, given that your phone is connected to Wi-Fi.
This will be a respite to those who bulk download Netflix shows on their phones, which is when Netflix begins to show an error and stops any further downloading. With Smart Downloads, the next episode will be downloaded and the previous one will be deleted at the same time, basically using about the same storage on the phone. This feature will make sure you do not reach the maximum limit for the downloads.
“Whether it is smart downloading or viewing a mobile preview, we realize the best part of Netflix is connecting with the stories you will love in an easier and more fun way,” said Cameron Johnson, Director of Product Innovation at Netflix in a blog post. He added further, “We also want to emphasize that giving consumers more control over their entertainment experience is at the heart of everything we do, and members can choose when they want to use Smart Downloads.”