Called Downloads for You, the feature is now available globally on Android (should users opt in to automatic downloads) and will be tested on iOS in the coming months.In a statement announcing the feature, Patrick Flemming, Director of Product Innovation at Netflix, said Downloads for You intends “to make it even easier for members to discover and enjoy new series and films.”
“Whether you’re a comedy fan stuck on a long car ride or a rom com lover without internet,” he added, “we do the work so there is always something new waiting to entertain and delight you.”
When using the Netflix app for the first time since being updated with the new feature, users can toggle it on or off in the Downloads tab. Subscribers will then be able to select the amount of storage space they want to dedicate to saving these recommended downloads on a given device (which the streamer specifies as 1GB, 3GB or 5GB). The more space you allow, the more recommendations Netflix will download for you.
Don’t worry, though – content will only be downloaded when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, and will be limited to, say, the first few episodes of a TV show (rather than adding the whole lot to your library immediately).
Once you’ve watched (or decided against) the recommendations, you’ll be able to delete them from the device to free up more space for further content suggestions. As you watch, delete or ignore them, Netflix will learn from your viewing habits in an effort to improve the recommendations it makes in the future, much like it does with the regular Netflix library.
Anything you can currently download for offline viewing from Netflix will be supported by the new feature.
Not entirely new
The feature is intended as an addition to Netflix’s existing downloads option, Smart Downloads, which allows users to save content for offline viewing.
First launched in 2018, Smart Downloads was intended to benefit the viewing tendencies of Netflix users in emerging countries as much as it was to commuters and travellers using the service on flights and underground trains.
Now, Netflix users across the world who enable Downloads for You will enjoy a curated library of pre-downloaded recommendations ready for whenever the internet might prove less-than-stable.