Bottom line: Smart Downloads build on Netflix's already popular offline viewing mode, eliminating yet another friction point between eyes and content.
Netflix introduced offline downloads in 2016, allowing subscribers to take shows and movies with them on the go where Internet access may be expensive, spotty or non-existent. Now, it’s improving the perk with a new feature that seamlessly manages downloads.
When you finish watching a downloaded episode of a series, Smart Downloads will delete it and automatically download the next episode in the series. Say you download episodes 1-3 of season one. When you finish watching episode one, it’ll automatically delete that episode and download the next in line – in this example, episode four.
Smart Downloads only work on Android devices running the latest version of the Netflix app and only when connected to Wi-Fi as to not gobble through your wireless plan’s data allotment. It also doesn’t yet work with movies as Netflix isn’t smart enough to figure out which flick you want to watch next (although logically, it could be employed on a limited basis for films with sequels).
The feature won’t be all that useful if you don’t download a couple of episodes in advance. If for any reason you want to disable Smart Downloads, you can do so from the download section or settings menu within the Netflix app. The feature won’t have a major impact on device storage as it deletes the last watched episode before downloading the next one.
Look for Smart Downloads to land on iOS devices later this year.