Netflix is the biggest player in today’s streaming media world. It offers a huge library of licensed and original content, in addition to countless other features and options you can use to customize your viewing experience.
In this article, we’ll cover some of Netflix’s lesser-known features (some are even available if you don’t have an account!), as well as some things that you probably didn’t realize Netflix could do!
So sit back, relax, and enjoy this list of underrated features you should be using on your Netflix!
1. Lock Your Profile So Others Who Use the Account Can’t See or Change Your Watchlist
You can lock your profile with a PIN code to make sure no one else who has access to your account can see or change your watchlist.
This is especially useful if you share an account and want to keep kids out of your profile, or if you want to protect your saved watchlist. You can also set up the function so it’ll save all of your settings as well.
Here’s how to set up Profile Lock:
- Go to your profile and select Profile Lock
- Select Set a PIN
- Enter a 4-digit number and select Save
2. Disable Autopay So It Doesn’t Go to New Titles Automatically
You can change the default from 30 seconds to 10 seconds, or even turn it off completely. Here’s how:
- Go to your account in the upper right corner and click on “Manage Profiles”
- Click on “Account”
- Scroll down until you see “Autoplay controls” and uncheck the box that says “Autoplay next episode in a series on all devices.” That way you’re in control of what comes next!
3. Limit Data on the Mobile App
This feature is great if you want to save some data. The only downside of this feature is that the video quality will be lower and you won’t be able to download videos, but if you’re in a pinch you can turn it on temporarily.
To find this option, go to your Profile > App Settings > Cellular Data Usage. Once there, change your setting from Automatic to Save Data. You have the option of downloading in Standard (SD) or Higher (HD) Quality, depending on how much data you want to use per episode or movie. You’ll also see an estimate of how much data you’ll save based on your choice. For example, by selecting the Standard quality setting, Netflix estimates that I’ll save about 3 GB of data for every hour I watch.
4. Rate Everything You Watch
If you’re in the mood to watch something but not sure what, scroll down on the home screen and click Browse. There you’ll see a bunch of different categories like New Releases and Trending Now, but I want you to be more specific. If you’re in the mood for something funny, click on Comedies. If you want to watch something that will make you cry buckets of tears, click on Dramas. Once you’ve selected your category for browsing, it’s time for some fine-tuning:
- Click on your desired category
- Look at the top where it says Sort by Default Order
- Click Default Order
- In the dropdown menu that appears, select Rating
Closely inspecting each title isn’t necessary—we all know that if we browse enough Netflix titles, we’ll find something to watch sooner or later! However, there is one task worth doing every time after watching a show or movie: rating it. That way Netflix can improve its recommendations for you because it’ll know what kind of content most interests you. Here are some easy steps for how to rate a show or movie:
- Hover over its thumbnail
- A row of icons will appear below it; click the thumbs up icon (it looks like this: 👍) or thumbs down icon (it looks like this: 👎) depending on whether or not you liked it
5. Control the Video Quality and Speed of Playback
- Select a link to select the quality of the video. If you’re one of the many Netflix users who frequently watch shows on their phones, you know that a poor internet connection can quickly make videos unwatchable. To combat this, Netflix offers the ability to adjust your viewing settings so that they are compatible with your network speed. You can change these settings from inside a video by selecting a link on the lower right-hand side of the screen, then choosing your preferred settings from the resulting menu.
- Select the gear icon to select the speed of the video. The gear button allows you to adjust how quickly or slowly videos playback–a feature that is perfect for those who prefer either binge-watching at 1.5x speed or watching their favorite comedies in slow motion for maximum comic effect. A selection window will appear at which point you can choose whichever playback speed suits your fancy and continue watching as normal.
6. Turn on Smart Downloads for Offline Use
Smart Downloads, offered on the Netflix mobile app, is a feature that automatically deletes episodes you’ve finished watching from your device and downloads the next episode for offline use when you’re connected to WiFi. This feature can help save your cellular data when watching outside of your home network. To make sure Smart Downloads are turned on in the mobile app, go to “Profile & Parental Controls” and then select “App Settings.” If you already have downloaded episodes on your mobile device, you’ll need to delete them first before Smart Downloads will work.
7. Offline Use to Save Cellular Data
Okay, so this one isn’t new, but it’s definitely under-appreciated. The Netflix app allows you to download movies and TV shows on your mobile device to watch them later—perfect for saving your cellular data and watching on the go. To do this, make sure you are connected to WiFi then locate the title screen in the app for the show you want to save. Select Download, and it’ll be downloaded within a few minutes (depending on your connection speed). Then when you’re ready, select it under My Downloads in the menu and enjoy!
The main caveat is that downloads will expire after thirty days if they aren’t viewed during that period. If an episode or movie has expired or been removed from Netflix altogether, there will be a message displayed letting you know that when you attempt to open it.
When you’re relaxing on the couch, there’s no need to be a keyboard cowboy. Netflix has a lot of cool features under the hood, and it’s worth taking the time to explore them so that your viewing experience can be even more ideal next time—whether you’re looking for an autoplay button or parental controls.
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