Netflix was reluctant to add offline download support to their mobile application. This changed back in 2016, though, when the developers finally added the feature to their Android and iOS devices worldwide. You’ll see this feature in the application for select movies and TV shows but, many felt that it could be improved. The team at Netflix agreed and today they are rolling out the Smart Downloads feature that makes it easier to watch the next episode of a supported TV show even if you are offline.
The idea behind the Smart Download feature is to make sure you have the next episode of a show you’re watching available to you even when you’re offline. The feature is triggered when you download an episode or two of a TV show that you’re currently watching. This tells the Netflix application that you’re currently watching the season and they want to reduce the friction you may encounter from continuing the binge session. So after you have watched an episode or two of a show that you have downloaded, the application will recognize this and delete them the next time you are connected to a WiFi network.
Once deleted, the new Smart Downloads feature in the Netflix application will then download the next episode of the series in the background without prompting you about it. This whole process is done one episode at a time with Netflix’s Chief Content Officer saying it is aimed at those who enjoy watching a TV show while commuting to or from work. Stocking up on a full season of a show will still need to be done manually if you need to keep them on-hand, but those who just watch an episode or two on public transportation will likely find this new feature to be quite convenient.
The new feature is starting to roll out for Android devices today and we’re told that it will arrive on iOS devices “later this year.”