- Using Netflix is relatively straightforward, but there are tips and tricks you can use to improve your viewing experience.
- Once you’ve picked the best Netflix plan, and made sure you’re watching in the best quality possible, try setting up profiles to personalize your account.
- Netflix is available on dozens of different devices, and each app has its own features and secrets.
- For instance, you can use keyboard shortcuts for playback or apply codes to access obscure genres.
- Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.
If you’re interested in good, old-fashioned entertainment, chances are you watch Netflix often. With over 183 million paying members streaming from nearly every country on Earth, Netflix is by far the biggest streaming service in the world.
Sure, a big part of Netflix’s popularity comes from its extensive catalog, which includes a growing library of original programming available nowhere else. But Netflix’s ability to attract eyeballs is also due in large part to its ease-of-use. Netflix is available on just about every popular platform, and has tons of extra features that let you watch however you want.
If you’re a subscriber who’s looking to take your streaming experience to the next level, here are over a dozen tips and tricks to help make you a Netflix master.
1. Choose the best plan for your viewing habits
Although most users are subscribed to Netflix’s Standard plan, Netflix actually offers five different subscription tiers, each with their own price and features.
Anyone who remembers the early days when Netflix was a DVD-by-mail rental service (with no late fees!) will be tickled to know the streaming giant is still offering that. Alongside the streaming plans are two DVD & Blu-ray plans, which let you rent shows and movies on physical discs.
2. Personalize your account with profiles
Netflix’s personalized recommendation technology, which decides what titles appear on your Netflix homepage, is one of the most advanced in the industry. Every single row is organized and curated based on what you watch, click on, and search for.
This sort of personalization is an exceptional feature if you’re the sole user, but it goes out the window if you share your account with friends and family. This is where profiles come in. Every Netflix account can have up to five different profiles, which helps keep everyone’s preferences separate.
In other words, if you love telenovelas, but your wife only watches sitcoms, you can each make a profile and receive recommendations tailored to your specific tastes.
Here is our guide to adding a profile to your Netflix account.
Each profile has its own settings and profile picture, which can be changed in minutes.
Every time you log into Netflix, you’ll be able to choose which proile you want to open, and it’s simple enough to switch between profiles – you can usually do it fastest by closing Netflix and reopening it. And if you later decide that you don’t need a profile, you can delete a profile from any device.
3. Manage your Continue Watching list
One thing that everyone associates with Netflix is binge-watching. And one way that Netflix makes binge-watching easy is with the Continue Watching list.
Whenever you watch a show or movie, but then turn it off without finishing, it’s added to your Continue Watching list. This list makes it easy to start again when you eventually return – just click the title you want, and it’ll resume exactly where you left off.
But the Continue Watching list doesn’t have to be totally automated. If there’s a show or two on your Continue Watching list that you know you’re never going to return to, you can delete items from it at any time.
4. Download shows and movies to watch offline
Netflix is called a “streaming service” because movies and shows are streamed to your device via the internet. But did you know that you can watch Netflix, even without an internet connection?
Here’s how you can download Netfix shows and movies for offline viewing. It’s important to note that this feature is only available for some titles, and for mobile devices only. The option to download movies and shows is especially useful if you’re planning on going somewhere that doesn’t have a stable internet connection. A loon a long flight, perhaps, or camping.
However, your downloads don’t last forever. Most downloads will last on your device for a week before “expiring,” which means you’ll have to download them again. The exact amount of time that each show or movie will last depends on the title.
5. Find obscure titles using Netflix codes
When you open Netflix, you see a selection of titles that you’ve watched recently, or that Netflix thinks you’ll like.
But Netflix has thousands of shows and movies, most of them so obscure that you’ll never see them on your homepage. So how can you find new titles to watch, without going through your homepage? If you’re using Netflix on your computer, you’re in luck: you can use Netflix codes to find nearly anything you want to watch.
Netflix codes are short strings of numbers that are assigned to every single genre and subgenre of show or movie. When you enter these codes into your browser’s URL bar, you’ll be taken to a page that lists every title in that genre.
For example, to see every action comedy (43040), you’ll go to https://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/43040. While there’s no comprehensive list of all the Netflix codes, we’ve compiled some our favorites. These include:
- Wine and beverage appreciation: 1458
- Cerebral Scandanavian movies: 995
- Korean crime thrillers: 434
- Creature features: 6895
- Campy movies: 1252
- Satires: 4922
- Tearjerkers: 6384
- Westerns: 7700
- Screwball comedies: 9702
- Cult TV shows: 74652
- Goofy courtroom movies: 285
6. Get Netflix on your favorite devices
Unlike some other streaming services, you can watch Netflix on nearly any device that offers the Netflix app and can connect to the internet. In addition to watching on your desktop, other devices you can stream Netflix include:
- Smart TVs: You can watch Netflix on your TV via a streaming device like a Roku or Apple TV. Most smart TVs have a Netflix app built in as well.
- Gaming consoles: If you have a PlayStation 4, you can download Netflix onto it as well. The same goes for the Xbox One. The Nintendo Switch, unfortunately, is one of the only gaming devices that doesn’t have Netflix.
- Phones and tablets: To watch Netflix on your phone or tablet, you simply need to download the Netflix app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
Depending on how much you pay for Netflix, you can watch it on one, two, or four devices at once.
7. Use easy-to-remember keyboard shortcuts
If you’re watching Netflix on your Mac or PC, you don’t need to use your mouse to control everything. Nearly every playback option can be selected and controlled with your keyboard.
- To Play or Pause the video, press the Space Bar or Enter (PC)/Return (Mac).
- To open Full Screen mode, press F. You can exit Full Screen mode with Esc.
- Rewind 10 seconds with the left arrow key, and fast forward 10 seconds with the right arrow key.
- Increase the volume with the up arrow key, and decrease the volume with the down arrow key.
- Mute the audio by pressing M.
- If you’re watching a TV show, you can skip the intro by pressing S.
8. Check and set the best video quality
We’ve come a long way from the grainy VHS tapes of the 90s. Nowadays, you should be able to see every drop of sweat on every actor’s face – if you can’t, either they’re good at staying cool under pressure, or your video quality isn’t as high as it could be.
First, some basic tips on improving your video quality:
- Make sure you have a strong internet connection. If your internet connection is too slow to load HD content, then Netflix will only give you standard definition video. This type of video can be blurry and pixelated, which isn’t great if you want to make out fine details.
- Keep your battery life high, and off reduced power mode. When your battery runs low, some devices will start limiting how much power apps can use. This can cause Netflix to run with lower video quality.
- Check that you haven’t turned off HD video in Netflix’s settings. Each Netflix profile has an “HD Toggle,” which lets you select what video quality Netflix should stream in by default. You can pick from Low, Medium, or High, or Auto, which will give you whatever video quality Netflix feels your internet can handle.
If you’re signed up for Netflix Premium, and have a device that supports it, you can also stream in 4K Ultra HD quality, which is the highest quality you can get.
9. Add captions, subtitles, and audio descriptions
Have you ever had trouble understanding what was being said in a movie? Luckily, Netflix offers subtitles and caption tracks on every show and movie. Most titles even have them in multiple languages.
You might also have the opposite problem – you can hear the show or movie just fine, but you can’t see it. In that case, it’s good to note that many titles also have an audio description mode. Turning on this mode will give the show or movie a narrator that describes everything happening on screen. It’s a lot like an audiobook, only with optional visuals.
You can turn on subtitles or audio descriptions through the language options menu that’s available whenever you’re watching something. And if you later decide that you don’t need these additions, you can turn them off.
10. Change the language on your account
Netflix might be an American company, but not everyone who uses it is a native English speaker.
If you’d like to use Netflix in another language, you can change the language on your account at any time. There are over 20 languages available to choose from.
On that language page, you’ll have two choices. Firstly, you can choose what language the menus and other text is in. Secondly, you can choose what language you like to listen to and read, which effects what subtitles and audio tracks Netflix gives you by default when you launch a show or movie.
11. Turn off autoplay
If you’ve opened up Netflix recently, you might have been greeted by a loud video preview for one of their latest shows or movies. While these autoplaying videos can be useful for finding new content to watch, they can also be incredibly annoying.
Many people do not know that you can actually turn this feature off. You can turn the autoplay feature off by navigating to your Account page. Once there, uncheck “Autoplay previews while browsing on all devices,” then click “Save” at the bottom of the page.
From this page, you can also set it so when you finish an episode of a show, Netflix won’t automatically play the next episode. To do this, uncheck “Autoplay next episode in a series on all devices.” These settings work on a profile-by-profile basis, so if you use multiple profiles, you’ll need to change the setting on all of them.
12. Keep your account secure
To use Netflix, you have to give the company a decent amount of personal information – your name, your email, your payment details. As such, you don’t want anyone getting into your account.
Like any website, Netflix lets you change your password easily – you just need to head to the Account settings menu. And it only takes a few clicks to log out of Netflix on any device.
Video: Netflix tips and tricks
The bottom line
Netflix is incredibly easy to use and navigate. And no matter how you watch, you have tons of ways to customize your account. And if you’re interested in other great streaming services, check out our breakdown of the best streaming apps on the market.