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Can You Get Netflix Without Wi-Fi?

Woman watching movie in Netflix.

Netflix is one of the best things invented of all time. You can binge on hours and hours of shows without even blinking an eye. However, if you find yourself in certain situations where you don’t have Wi-Fi access, it may be hard to stream shows or movies.

How do you watch Netflix when you don’t have Wi-Fi? Is it even possible? Believe it or not, some people still don’t have the Internet. Be it due to the sheer cost of a data plan or because they’re from a country where Wi-Fi is not as widely available. It is possible and this article will show you how to accomplish this. 

The Rise of Streaming Services

Different streaming services on phone and TV.

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have changed the way people watch TV. No longer do you need to be in front of your television set at a specific time to catch your favorite show. Instead, you can watch whatever you want whenever you want — as long as you have an internet connection.

For most people, that isn’t a problem. Between Wi-Fi hotspots, free Wi-Fi at coffee shops or restaurants, and internet service at home, most people can connect their computers or mobile devices to the internet with ease.

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No Wi-Fi Availability?

Man holding a phone with no wifi signal.

But what about when you’re traveling? What if there’s no Wi-Fi available where you’re staying? Perhaps you’re traveling abroad and want to avoid massive international data charges, or you’re going somewhere remote and there’s no Wi-Fi available. Can you still watch your favorite shows? The good news is that you can still watch your favorite shows on Netflix even without a Wi-Fi connection. 

How is this possible, you ask? Netflix offers a special feature that allows users to download movies and shows to view offline. This feature is included with most Netflix plans at no additional cost, but it does require users to have up-to-date software installed on their devices. With this feature, you can watch your favorite shows and movies from anywhere.

Get the Netflix APP

Netflix app on mobile phone.

The first thing you’ll need to do is get the Netflix app if you don’t have it already. The app is available for iOS, Android phones, tablets, and PCs. Once the app is installed, you can search for shows to download. However, you must remember that these files will be large and may take some time to download.

Make sure your mobile device has enough space and it is recommended to go somewhere with free Wi-Fi to download the files so it doesn’t eat up all of your data. 

How to Download a TV Show or Movie

Man browsing movies through Netflix app on mobile phone.

Not all titles are available for download. To see whether a show can be downloaded, or filter by what is available for download, open the app and tap Downloads (downward-facing arrow). For each show, a downward-facing arrow will appear next to each available episode.

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Android users will also see a “Download Season” option to download all episodes per selected season.

You can choose to download it in standard quality or HD. You’ll find this under the app settings in the menu. Standard quality shows render at 480p, which is a slightly lower video quality than high quality.

This allows a faster download and requires less storage space on your device. High-quality shows in 1080p, take a longer time to download and require more storage space. 

To Find the Shows on Your Mobile Device

When you’re ready to watch your shows,  open the app on your device and go to the menu. Look for “My Downloads” and the shows you download will appear here. You can also save downloads to your SD card as well. 

Now that you have the content you want to watch downloaded, you just need a way to watch it. You can watch directly from your mobile device, or choose to use one of the methods listed below. 

Here are a few ways in which you can watch Netflix without Wi-Fi:

Using Your Phone as a Mobile Hotspot

Woman using her phone as a mobile hotspot.

One of the easiest ways to watch Netflix without Wi-Fi is using your smartphone as a mobile hotspot. With this method, your phone will give your other devices an Internet connection by using its cellular data plan. You can connect up to five devices — including laptops, tablets, and gaming systems — at once.

If you’re using an iPhone, go to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot (or Mobile Data > Personal Hotspot). Toggle on “Personal Hotspot” and your phone will instantly become a Wi-Fi hotspot. It won’t cost you anything extra if you already have a data plan.

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If you’re using an Android phone, go to Settings > More > Tethering & portable hotspot > Portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Toggle on “Portable Wi-Fi hotspot” and you’ll be ready to go. Connect to the hotspot from another device (TV, laptop, tablet, or PC) and watch away. The SSID of the phone will be the network name and you can choose a password for it. 

USB Tethering

 You can share your phone’s data connection via a USB cable. This sometimes works for phones without a mobile hotspot. There is a piece of software you can download to your phone to create a virtual hotspot.

Go to the app store for your phone, and search for “tethering” apps. The app creates a virtual hotspot that your other devices can connect to. Then just attach the USB cable to your phone and your tablet, PC, or laptop. 

Share Connection via Bluetooth

Man sharing internet connection via bluetooth.

Go to “Wireless & Networks” and select “Tethering & Mobile Hotspot.” Tap  “Bluetooth Tethering” and check the box to enable sharing. Make sure the other device is turned on and in discovery mode. Pair the other Bluetooth device with your Android device.

Connect With HDMI

Another method of tethering involves using an HDMI adapter to link your phone and HDMI-enabled TV or laptop. You will need to purchase a Micro USB to HDMI adapter to link your phone and TV. 

The micro USB plugs into your phone and the TV’s HDMI cable connects to the device. Then all you need to do is queue up the movie you want to watch and hit play. This is an alternative method for those phones without screen mirroring abilities.

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If you have a data connection on your laptop, attach a standard HDMI cable to connect to your TV to watch Netflix on the bigger screen. 

Screen Mirroring

Mobile screen mirroring to TV.

Most new smart TVs have a Netflix app. For those that don’t, you can use your smartphone (or tablet) as a middleman. If your TV has a built-in screen mirroring function, you can use that to display the video from your phone on the bigger screen.

If not, you’ll need an HDMI dongle that’s compatible with both your phone and your TV.

Screen mirroring works best with newer devices. If you’re using an older phone or tablet, there’s a good chance it won’t support screen mirroring. In that case, you should try one of the other methods listed.

XBOX or PS4 Gaming Console

If you have the Netflix app installed on your gaming console, you can access your downloads from there. Log into your account on the console and go to the “downloaded content,” and choose the one you want to watch. 

How Long do Netflix Downloads Stay Active?

Man watching movie on his tablet.

The answer is, it depends. It depends on the title, the licensing, etc. Some titles are only good for 48 hours after you start watching them. Generally, most downloads will remain active for 7 days. If a particular title is less than 7 days, you should see a countdown clock letting you know how much time remains. 

Renewing Downloads

After the viewing time has passed for a title, it will say “expired”. You can renew the download if you have the option. Some titles may only be renewed a certain number of times, so don’t wait too long to view that movie you’ve been wanting to see. 

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You can still watch all of your favorite shows and movies from any device and from anywhere in the world. Netflix is a great streaming service that offers something for everyone, regardless of whether or not you have Wi-Fi.