Netflix has revealed an update to its offline downloads feature that enables the app to manage content on its own. The old offline download experience is not going anywhere, but rather Netflix is adding a second downloading option called ‘Smart Downloads’. ‘Smart Download’ ensures a user’s favorite content is always available offline without using up excess phone or tablet storage.
Existing offline download support involves the user manually downloading the content they want, watching it, then manually erasing it once finished. That’s fine in some cases, but not ideal for shows with many episodes. That’s where smart downloading comes in. When enabled, the Netflix app will automatically download the next episode in a user’s preferred show while connected to WiFi, replacing the most recently watched episode with it. Here is how ‘Smart Downloads’ works according to Netflix;
It’s worth noting here that the ‘Smart Download’ feature is currently limited only to TV shows with multiple episodes, and does not extend to movies, standup specials or other kinds of programming.
So, for example, if the user has watched Episode 1 of their selected show, the smart downloading feature will download Episode 2 from the same show and automatically delete the first episode. This way, the latest content is always available to watch and it doesn’t use up any more storage space than the last episode.
Of course, this isn’t always desirable, so it’s possible to turn off smart downloads and manually manage your offline content yourself. Nonetheless, the newly added functionality should make for a more straightforward experience for many users who don’t want to go through the trouble of managing and downloading episodes manually.