Before going on vacation last month, I downloaded a couple of Netflix shows to watch on the flight. On my return journey, I opened Netflix to watch Monsters, Inc. only to notice a big yellow warning that said Expired. It left me astounded.
I seldom face any issues while streaming Netflix shows, but the Expired message caught me off guard. Streaming has its merits, but the scene is a tad different with offline downloads. If you frequently download shows, odds are you’ll run into similar issues.
So we have compiled some of the most common downloaded issues & problems along with workable solutions in this post. Let’s take a look.
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Does Netflix Have a Download Limit
Before we get down to problems, let's look at Netflix's download limits. Though the streaming service offers plenty of original content, its massive library also carries titles (like Pearl Harbor, Elementary) licensed from the original creators. Hence, depending on the title and the duration of the licensing rights, Netflix sets a specific download limit for each movie or a show.
So, to answer your question, yes Netflix does set a download limit. The streaming service lets you download up to 100 titles per device. Netflix will throw up an error of ‘There was a problem ...’ if you exceed that limit. Reaching a number as high as this on a single device is a rare occurrence.
Netflix lets you download up to 100 titles per device
But if you use Netflix across multiple devices, these numbers may vary. Thankfully, in such cases, it'll warn you, so that you can remove the old titles. The best option is to delete the downloads altogether, instead of removing them one by one.
All you need to do is head to More > App Settings in the Netflix mobile app and tap on the Delete all Downloads option.
However, there are no strict rules or guidelines. Depending on the title, the download limit and the time of availability may change.
So, is there a download limit per title? Yes, there is. Sadly, Netflix doesn't reveal the limit set on each title. That means you've to resort to the tried and tested method of downloading the title and checking it.
Now, that we have established the cause, let’s see some of the common download issues.
1. How to Remove Netflix's Too Many Devices Error
The ‘Too Many Devices’ error crops up when you have downloaded titles on multiple devices or profiles. That's because Netflix allows video downloads to one device per account.
To remove this error, you have to delete the older stuff from your other devices. To do so, tap on the Exclamation icon next to the title and select Delete Download.
Also, you might need to restart the app.
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2. Downloaded Titles Showing Expired Tag
Downloaded shows do not stay on your phone forever. Some titles are available for offline viewing for only a few weeks. Naturally, when a show passes the stipulated time, the Expired tag will appear next to the content's thumbnail.
Though many titles let you renew the download easily, it isn’t the case for all. Some studios allow only a fixed number of downloads. If in any case, you're not able to do so, the only solution is to stream it online.
Note: Shows that leave Netflix also show an Expired tag next to them.
3. Yearly Download Limit Error
This error is related to the one above. As we mentioned earlier, some content rights holders allow a fixed number of downloads for their creations. In this case, makers put a restriction on the number of downloads per year.
Again, there is no workable solution to this error except to either wait a few months or to stream it online.
4. Netflix Downloads Not Showing Up/Disappeared
If your downloaded TV shows start disappearing, the chances are that the Smart Downloads feature is enabled. This feature deletes the episode you've watched only to replace it with the next one.
I was puzzled the first time it happened with me. Thankfully, I figured it out and shall explain it in detail towards the end of this post.
5. Netflix Downloads Showing Unavailable
This error shows up mostly with old downloaded files. If you haven't watched any of the downloaded content, then you'll see the Unavailable error.
The worst thing is the thumbnail doesn't even show an exclamation sign nor any warning. Only when you click on the thumbnail to watch it, you'll see the error pop up.
Thankfully, you can solve that too easily. Just tap on the Download Again button. The usual rule applies — restart the app if the download doesn't resume.
6. Titles Not Downloading
Sometimes downloads do not initiate, even when you tap on the Download button multiple times. Or in some instances, downloads simply do not resume even when you tap on the Renew button.
In such a scenario, a wise thing to do is to restart the app and to start the process from scratch.
At the end of the day, do note that not every title on Netflix is up for downloads. Also, the downloaded files are huge and will most likely hog your phone's space and data. So, if you are someone like me who often forgets to watch downloaded shows, the Smart Downloads feature is meant for you.
Did You Know: Netflix tailors thumbnails as per your viewing activity and history.
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What Is Smart Downloads and How to Use It
Netflix's Smart Downloads is all about automatic downloads. Built for extended series such as The Crown or The Stranger Things, this feature when enabled will automatically download the next episode in the series. Not only that, the app is smart enough to delete the old episode from your phone.
You can enable Smart Downloads for Netflix from the settings section (More > App Settings). Once done, you will see the option at the top of the downloads page.
People subscribing to a limited cellular data plan need not worry since this feature kicks in only when the phone or tablet is connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Furthermore, Smart Downloads also lets you delete shows easily. From the Download page, tap on any title to activate the selection, and then check the titles that you want to remove followed by tapping on the Trash icon.
Plus, you can easily deactivate the feature by tapping on the I-icon.
Cool Tip: Some apps let you view IMDb scores of shows and movies on Netflix.
Enjoy Offline Viewing
I am a Netflix fangirl, and it is one of the most-used apps on my phone as well as on my Android TV. Whether I want to kill my time while traveling or I want to indulge in a marathon bingeing session, Netflix is my primary choice.
Next up: Annoyed by the bare bones interface of the Netflix app? Read the following post to discover some amazing Android apps to enhance your Netflix experience.