How to download Netflix shows on Mac, iPhone, and iPad

8 min read

First things first: every Netflix app lets you download movies and series for offline watching. But can you download Netflix shows on a Mac? Directly – no. There is no Netflix app for Mac, and you can't download from a browser either. It's confusing, but it's true. Today, we'll explore how to save shows on your iPhone and iPad and discover several workarounds to watch them offline on your Mac.

Download movies from Netflix: General rules

Let's be clear right away: Netflix has gone to great lengths to protect its content from illegal copying. Even if you want to keep a copy of a movie on your hard drive for your own collection, it is unlikely that you will be able to easily download it. Netflix blocks attempts to record the screen or use programs to save videos from the internet. Moreover, all videos downloaded from the Netflix app are stored in encrypted form, and these files cannot be transferred to another device.

So, let's quickly review the general rules and knowledge about downloading from Netflix.

  • You need a suitable device. An iPhone or iPad, Android phone or tablet, Windows 10 or Windows 11 computer, Amazon Fire tablet, or Google Chromebook will do. (Yes, no Mac here). Your device should have the latest version of the operating system (as some older ones may not support downloads) and the newest version of the Netflix app.
  • You always need a subscription. To download Netflix movies, you need an active subscription. If you cancel or don't renew it, the saved files will be deleted, and you'll have to download them again.
  • Not every movie or show is available for download. More on this later, but in short, this is usually due to legal issues.
  • Your plan has limits. There's a cap on the number of videos you can download. We'll talk more about the limits below.

These are the general rules you should know before taking the next step.

How to download movies from Netflix

Now, let's look at the steps you need to take so that you can download Netflix movies on a laptop, iPhone, or iPad.

How to download Netflix shows on Mac

While there is no app for Mac, and you can't download Netflix content from a browser, there are two legal workarounds.

Streaming from your iPhone or iPad

Here are the steps:

  1. Download the official Netflix app.
  2. Open the movie or show you want to stream. It can be a downloaded video or an online one.
  3. Click the AirPlay icon and choose the device for streaming.

This way, you can watch movies on devices that support AirPlay.

Installing Windows on your Mac

Since Netflix has an app for Windows, this opens up the possibility of downloading content directly to your Mac, albeit through a different operating system. Check out the guide to installing Windows on a Mac and also the instructions for owners of newer Macs. Remember, Windows is a paid OS, so this method involves additional costs. 

Here's how to download Netflix movies on Mac if you've installed Windows.

  1. Download, open, and log in to the official Netflix app.
  2. Open the video and press the ↓Download button.
  3. Find the video in the My Downloads section in the left menu.

Netflix app for Windows

Other methods will probably not work. If you try to record the screen, you will most likely see only a black image on the capture.

You may also wonder if you can save a movie from Netflix using programs that download videos from the internet, such as Pulltube or Downie. The answer is no. Netflix blocks such attempts. However, these apps can easily save files from YouTube and dozens of other websites. If you need content for your personal viewing, for example, while you travel, this could be the solution.

And if you're looking to transfer videos saved from the internet to your iPhone or iPad, consider AnyTrans for iOS. It's an excellent tool for easily exporting and copying content by categories in a single tap.

Please note: Saving content from Netflix using non-original apps may be considered unethical or illegal. Before doing it, please read Netflix's terms of service. For more information on offline viewing, check out our article.

How to save Netflix movies on iPhone and iPad

For iPhone and iPad users, downloading content from Netflix is a breeze thanks to the native app. To download Netflix episodes or a specific movie, follow these steps.

  1. Download, open, and sign in to the Netflix app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Select a movie or show.
  3. Click the ↓ icon next to it.

Download Netflix episodes to iPhone

Note that not all content is available for download. To explore all downloadable options, go to My Netflix > Downloads > See What You Can Download.

Not everyone knows that Netflix downloads can be easily customized. Here are a few tips:

  • Turn on the next episode downloads. Go to My Netflix > sandwich button > App Settings > Smart Downloads > Download Next Episode. This means that you only need to download the first episode. After you watch it, your device will automatically delete it and download another one once you have access to Wi-Fi.
  • Turn on Downloads for You. Based on your interests, Netflix periodically saves content for you to watch offline. You can set it up here: My Netflix > sandwich button > App Settings > Smart Downloads > Downloads for You.
  • Set the video quality. By default, videos are downloaded in standard quality. If you plan to stream to a big screen, consider high quality. Go to My Netflix > sandwich button > App Settings > Download Video Quality.

And, of course, rate the movies you watch so Netflix can download more relevant content for you.

Why isn't a movie or TV show available for download?

If you're an active Netflix user, sooner or later, you'll run into a situation where you can't download a TV show or movie. That's all right – not all Netflix content is available for download, often due to copyright restrictions. If another company holds exclusive rights to a movie or show, they might restrict downloads while allowing streaming. Sometimes, even Netflix originals face restrictions, especially if they're co-produced with another rights-holding company. Netflix also considers "local factors" like a show's popularity or seasonal trends.

Moreover, the list of shows to watch also varies by country, depending on local demand and distribution rights. If another company owns exclusive streaming rights in a particular region, Netflix cannot offer that content there.

This can be a real pain for people traveling for business or pleasure. For example, a US resident might miss out on their preferred content while in France. In this case, we recommend using a VPN, an app that changes the IP address of your connection and tricks the browser into thinking you are in another country. 

For connecting to Netflix, ClearVPN is the best option. All you have to do is install the app and select the platform you want to use (Netflix USA, Netflix UK) in the Streaming section. In a few seconds, you will have access to your usual content.

Open Netflix US

Which Netflix plans allow for downloads

Another thing you should know is that every Netflix plan in the US allows you to download shows for offline viewing. However, you may receive an error notification: "You have downloads on too many devices." 

The thing is, each of Netflix's plans allows you to upload videos to a certain number of devices. For the US, it's 2 devices for Standard with Ads and Standard and 6 for Premium. Rules for other countries may differ.

That notification means that you're trying to save videos to more devices than your plan allows. If you wish, you can remove downloads from one of the devices or upgrade your plan in the Change Plan section in your account or through the support.

The number of downloads allowed also varies. The plan with ads allows 15 downloads per device per billing cycle. Other plans allow 100. Rules may vary for other countries.

Another error you may encounter is when Netflix says, "Download Failed". What should you do? Click on the notification icon (!), find the error code, and enter it in the search here. Try to fix the error, and if it doesn't work or you have other trouble downloading from the Netflix app, contact support. If there is no error code, try updating the app. This should help.

Improve your Netflix viewing experience with Setapp

As you can see, your options for downloading videos from Netflix are almost entirely limited to using the standard apps created by Netflix. However, you can improve your viewing experience with a few tricks. For example, if you travel to a country where your usual content is unavailable, use ClearVPN. It allows you to watch and download movies as if you were at home. 

If you need to download content from other sources, try PullTube or Downie. And to move any files from Mac to iPhone or vice versa, use AnyTrans for iOS.

You can try them all – ClearVPN, AnyTrans for iOS, and PullTube – absolutely free for seven days through the trial of Setapp, a platform with dozens of top-rated apps for Mac and iOS across any category you can imagine. Try every Setapp app at no cost and do more with the Apple devices you already own.

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