20 Netflix Tips to Boost Your Binge-Watching | by PCMag | PC Magazine | Dec, 2023

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You probably already know how to use Netflix’s core features, but we’re willing to bet you don’t know all these clever tricks and techniques for power users.

By Chandra Steele

When the so-called streaming wars first broke out, Netflix seemed like it was in real trouble for a while. The service garnered criticism for price hikes and, more recently, a password-sharing crackdown. It’s also earned a reputation for canceling beloved original shows, though compared with Max, it’s a category darling.

Netflix adds excellent content every month and is home to lots of great foreign-language shows you can’t watch elsewhere. If you’re watching what Netflix is offering, we have a list of ways to make your experience even better (including some solutions to sharing passwords).

Netflix has finally cracked down on password-sharing. We don’t know whether this will save the company from its competitors, but it’s certainly a hassle for customers.

Want to help your parents or college kids by letting them sign into your account? It will cost you. You’ll pay $7.99 a month per extra Netflix member to get far-flung family or friends on your plan. With a standard plan ($15.49 per month), you can add one extra user. And with a premium plan ($19.99 per month), you can add up to two extra members. Those with basic or ad-based plans can’t add extra members to their accounts.

But there are ways to bend the rules. If you’re going to watch Netflix only on a mobile device and not a smart TV, go to the home of the person with the account, connect to their Wi-Fi and sign in to Netflix on your device. That should let you watch on your device from wherever you are, for an unspecified period of time anyway.

Meanwhile, if the primary account holder opts out of using a streaming box or smart TV to watch Netflix, there is no primary household to associate with an account, so several people should be able to use their phones or tablets to log into the account. Of course, there’s no guarantee that either of these methods will work long-term.

If you want to be proactive about cutting off a Netflix moocher, you can do more than change your password. Go into Account settings, select Sign Out of All Devices, and confirm it on the next screen. Everyone using the account-even you!-will have to log in again, whether you’re on a phone, tablet, or game console. It can take up to eight hours for this to hit all your devices.

When multiple people are using the same Netflix account, interests will likely get mixed, making for a confusing recommendation process. To make sure users have the most personalized experience, give each one their own profile.

Each account allows up to five profiles, so your toddler won’t get a Breaking Bad recommendation, and you can relegate Never Have I Ever to your teenager’s list. Once profiles are set up, Netflix asks who’s watching every time a viewer signs on and then take them to their private start page.

To set up profiles, go to the Manage Profiles > Add Profile. You can change settings for the profile by clicking on your account, then going to Profile & Parental Controls and selecting the drop-down next to the profile you want to make changes to. You’ll be able to change the ways subtitles look, select what email alerts they receive, and more.

If you’re moving to a new account, whether because of a breakup, Netflix’s new password-sharing rules, or for any other reason, you don’t have to lose all the history you and Netflix share. Profile Transfer lets you move your list, viewing history, recommendations, games, and settings. The account holder will need to enable profile transfers, but once they do, click on your account profile image, select Transfer Profile, and follow the directions onscreen. We have a full rundown here.

In a bid to showcase its original fare, Netflix autoplays trailers when you log in. And it’s autoplay with sound, which can be annoying when you’re just trying to browse through the app. You can stop it, though:

  • Open Netflix in a browser window.
  • Click on the account name.
  • Go to Manage Profiles.
  • Click on the pencil icon over the profile name you want to change.
  • Scroll down to Autoplay Controls.
  • Uncheck the box that says Autoplay Previews While Browsing On All Devices.

“Are you still watching?” When Netflix asks this question, the answer is often a rather shameful “yes.” After a few episodes of a given show, Netflix stops playback, displays that annoying alert, and goes to sleep if you don’t respond. But some of us like to drift off to episodes of Schitt’s Creek or other comforting fare, so if you want the streaming to stop after a set amount of time, there’s no official sleep timer within Netflix, but there are workarounds for both iOS and Android.

  • Open the Clock app
  • Go to Timer, and set it for how long you would like Netflix to play.
  • Under When Timer Ends, select Stop Playing.

Download NFTimer, which does the same thing. Make sure to tap the ellipses icon on the top right and enable screen locking. Otherwise, when your timer runs out, your Netflix window just reduces to a small, picture-in-picture window. With screen-locking enabled, your screen goes to sleep, and Netflix stops playing.

  • Open your timer app.
  • Set it to how long you want Netflix to play.
  • Select When Timer Ends.
  • Scroll down until you see Stop Playing.
  • Select that, and then click Set on the upper right.
  • Open Netflix and press play. Netflix will close when the timer expires.

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Another way to avoid continuous play as you sleep (or to curb your binging) is to disable Netflix’s Post-Play feature, which automatically starts playing the next episode of a show a few seconds after the credits roll:

  • Open Netflix in a browser window.
  • Click on the account name.
  • Go to Manage Profiles.
  • Click on the pencil icon over the profile name you want to change.
  • Scroll down to Autoplay Controls.
  • Uncheck the box that says Autoplay Next Episode In a Series On All Devices.

Netflix has a huge library of content that can be hard to navigate. You can drill down by genre, but to get even more specific, consult Netflix-Codes.com. For example, the Netflix app lets you drill down to Thrillers-but Netflix-Codes breaks it down further, into categories such as Spy Thrillers, Supernatural Thrillers, and Sci-Fi Thrillers.

It does so by organizing Netflix’s own secret category codes. You can also click off Netflix-Codes.com and go there directly, find the code, and type it into your browser yourself, like this-swapping out [INSERTNUMBER] for the code, of course:


You can also download the Better Browse for Netflix extension, which adds a new link to Netflix’s site navigation to reveal all the extended categories.

If you have trouble narrowing down what to watch on Netflix, head straight for the award winners. Netflix has a Celebrate the Oscars section that’s broken down by genre, popularity, and even which movies are already on your My List.

You only hurt yourself when you hate-watch. If you don’t rate what you’ve seen, Netflix is going to think you liked it and recommend more of the same. So if you really love something, the best way to discover more like it is to give it two thumbs up. You can also select one thumb if you just liked it. And hit that thumbs down if it was not for you.

Whether you’re an Instagram influencer or not, you can recommend Netflix shows and movies to followers and friends. Tap on a title and hit share to send it via a text message. You’ll also get the option to share a recommendation to Instagram Stories (as well as add emoji, text, a GIF, or a poll) and on other services including WhatsApp, Twitter, and more.

When you listen to a show without watching, you’re getting just part of the picture. The visually impaired often miss important cues that are made plain for the sighted. For the past few years, Netflix has been adding audio descriptions to titles, 2,275 as of this writing. Audio description provides voiceovers that describe what’s onscreen. You can see which titles have this feature by going to categories and selecting English-Audio Description, which shows a filtered version of your regular Netflix home screen. On a browser, see all options by going to Netflix.com/browse/audio-description.

Subtitles are available for most (if not all) of the titles on Netflix. But the yellow lettering or the typeface might not be legible for some viewers. Fortunately, you can make some changes. On Netflix.com and the Android app (the iOS app tells you to go to the web), go to Account > Profile & Parental Controls > Subtitle Appearance for an array of options: You can change the typeface, letter coloring, background color, and text size. Click Save when you’re done.

It’s easy to chew through your entire mobile-data allotment by streaming video on a mobile device, but Netflix lets you conserve cellular data use on iOS or Android gadgets:

  • Click on your profile.
  • Open App Settings.
  • Tap Cellular Data Usage, where you can toggle Netflix viewing to Wi-Fi only or choose a data-saving mode.

If you know you’ll be going without a network connection, you can download a few episodes of Bridgerton to pass the time. Most Netflix Originals are available for download, along with some other shows and movies.

Click on a title, and (if available), hit the download icon. Or tap the Downloads button on the bottom menu and find something to download. This is also where you’ll find already-downloaded content and where you can delete it. Some titles expire 48 hours after you first press play, so be aware if you’re going to be without Wi-Fi access for longer.

Android users can specify a download location (under App Settings) to store everything on an SD card. Another perk on Android: You can start watching before a download is complete. If you lose Wi-Fi partway through or hit a data limit, your downloads pause. They’ll resume later, but anything that downloaded before the interruption is viewable.

Another option on iOS and Android is called Smart Downloads. With this enabled, when you watch an episode in a series, the watched episode will be automatically deleted and the next episode will download. Turn it on or off by going to App Settings > Smart Downloads. There you’ll also be able to select Downloads for You, which saves shows and movies to your device that the Netflix algorithm thinks you’ll like.

We all have shows we feel guilty about watching. What if you don’t want dates, family members, or anyone else who you might be sitting down to watch a movie with you to know about your My Unorthodox Life marathon? You can delete items from your viewing activity like this:

  • On Netflix.com, go to your account.
  • Scroll down to Profile & Parental Controls.
  • Select the drop-down menu next to the profile name.
  • Select Viewing Activity.
  • Click the circle icon to the right of any embarrassing content to hide it from your viewing history.

If you really want a clean slate, scroll to the bottom and click Hide All. Here, you can also really take stock of your life and download your entire viewing history.

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Every month, Netflix adds dozens of new shows and TVs ( while removing others). Stay on top of what’s coming and going by clicking New & Popular (desktop) or New & Hot (mobile). To add a title to your list when it comes out, click the “Remind me” bell icon.

To preview Netflix features before they get a wide release:

  • Go to Account.
  • Scroll down to Settings.
  • Select Test Participation, and set the slider to On.

What if the show or movie you really, really want to watch isn’t available on Netflix? Ask the company to add it by going to the Request TV Shows or Movies page and entering your suggestions there.

You’re traveling while you’re in the middle of watching a favorite show on Netflix. A new episode drops and that’s how you find out that the show is not available to watch in the country you’re visiting. That’s where a VPN comes in. You don’t have to avoid spoilers online until you’re back home if you use a VPN that’s suited for Netflix. PCMag has a guide to unblocking Netflix with a VPN.

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