Netflix tips and tricks: 12 ways to get the most out of your Netflix subscription

Shayanne Gal/Business InsiderNetflix is the most popular streaming service in the world.
  • Using Netflix is straightforward, but there are tips and tricks to make your viewing experience even better.
  • Once you’ve picked the best Netflix plan, and made sure you’re watching in the best quality possible, try setting up profiles to personalise your account.
  • Netflix is available on dozens of different devices, and each app has its own features and secrets.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

If you’re interested in good, old-fashioned entertainment, chances are you watch Netflix often. With over 183 million paying members streaming from nearly every country on Earth, Netflix is by far the biggest streaming service in the world.

Sure, a big part of Netflix’s popularity comes from its extensive catalogue, which includes a growing library of original programming available nowhere else. But Netflix’s ability to attract eyeballs is also due in large part to its ease-of-use. Netflix is available on just about every popular platform, and has tons of extra features that let you watch however you want.

If you’re a subscriber who’s looking to take your streaming experience to the next level, here are over a dozen tips and tricks to help make you a Netflix master.

1. Choose the best plan for your viewing habits

NetflixYuqing Liu/Business InsiderThe Netflix plan you pick will depend on how you like to watch, and how many people use your account.

Although most users are subscribed to Netflix’s Standard plan,Netflix actually offers five different subscription tiers, each with their own price and features.

Anyone who remembers the early days when Netflix was a DVD-by-mail rental service (with no late fees!) will be tickled to know the streaming giant is still offering that. Alongside the streaming plans are two DVD & Blu-ray plans, which let you rent shows and movies on physical discs.

If you’re interested in switching up your plan, you can change your subscription at any time. And if you ever need to change your payment method, you can do that, too.

2. Personalise your account with profiles

Netflix profiles pageWilliam Antonelli/Business InsiderEach profile has its own name, picture, and settings.

Netflix’s personalised recommendation technology, which decides what titles appear on your Netflix homepage, is one of the most advanced in the industry. Every single row is organised and curated based on what you watch, click on, and search for.

This sort of personalisation is an exceptional feature if you’re the sole user, but it goes out the window if you share your account with friends and family. This is where profiles come in. Every Netflix account can have up to five different profiles, which helps keep everyone’s preferences separate.

In other words, if you love telenovelas, but your wife only watches sitcoms, you can each make a profile and receive recommendations tailored to your specific tastes.

Here is our guide to adding a profile to your Netflix account.

Every time you log into Netflix, you’ll be able to choose which proile you want to open, and it’s simple enough to switch between profiles. And if you later decide that you don’t need a profile,you can delete a profile from any device.

3. Manage your Continue Watching list

Netflix continue watchingWilliam Antonelli/Business InsiderThe lines underneath the Continue Watching list will show how far along you are in any given episode or movie.

One thing that everyone associates with Netflix is binge-watching. And one way that Netflix makes binge-watching easy is with the Continue Watching list.

Whenever you watch a show or movie, but then turn it off without finishing, it’s added to your Continue Watching list. This list makes it easy to start again when you eventually return – just click the title you want, and it will resume exactly where you left off.

But the Continue Watching list doesn’t have to be totally automated. If there’s a show or two on your Continue Watching list that you know you’re never going to return to, you can delete items from it at any time.

4. Download shows and movies to watch offline

NetflixShutterstockIf you’re using a phone or tablet, you can download any show or movie.

Netflix is called a “streaming service” because movies and shows are streamed to your device via the internet. But did you know that you can watch Netflix, even without an internet connection?

Here’s how you can download Netfix shows and movies for offline viewing. It’s important to note that this feature is only available for some titles, and for mobile devices only. The option to download movies and shows is especially useful if you’re planning on going somewhere that doesn’t have a stable internet connection. A loon a long flight, perhaps, or camping.

However, your downloads don’t last forever. Most downloads will last on your device for a week before “expiring,” which means you’ll have to download them again. The exact amount of time that each show or movie will last depends on the title.

5. Find obscure titles using Netflix codes

The Netflix logo is shown in this illustration photograph in Encinitas, California October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake ReutersThe Netflix logo is shown in this illustration photograph in Encinitas, California

When you open Netflix, you see a selection of titles that you’ve watched recently, or that Netflix thinks you’ll like.

But Netflix has thousands of shows and movies, most of them so obscure that you’ll never see them on your homepage. So how can you find new titles to watch, without going through your homepage? If you’re using Netflix on your computer, you’re in luck: you can use Netflix codes to find nearly anything you want to watch.

Netflix codes are short strings of numbers that are assigned to every single genre and subgenre of show or movie. When you enter these codes into your browser’s URL bar, you’ll be taken to a page that lists every title in that genre.

For example, to see every action comedy (43040), you’ll go to https://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/43040. While there’s no comprehensive list of all the Netflix codes, we’ve compiled some our favourites. These include:

  • Wine and beverage appreciation: 1458
  • Cerebral Scandanavian movies: 995
  • Korean crime thrillers: 434
  • Creature features: 6895
  • Campy movies: 1252
  • Satires: 4922
  • Tearjerkers: 6384
  • Westerns: 7700
  • Screwball comedies: 9702
  • Cult TV shows: 74652
  • Goofy courtroom movies: 285

6. Get Netflix on your favourite devices

Netflix ipadDenys Prykhodov/ShutterstockNetflix is available on all sorts of devices.

Unlike some other streaming services, you can watch Netflix on nearly any device that offers the Netflix app and can connect to the internet. In addition to watching on your desktop, other devices you can stream Netflix include:

Depending on how much you pay for Netflix, you can watch it on one, two, or four devices at once.

7. Use easy-to-remember keyboard shortcuts

Netflix keyboard shortcutsShayanne Gal/Business Insider

If you’re watching Netflix on your Mac or PC, you don’t need to use your mouse to control everything. Nearly every playback option can be selected and controlled with your keyboard.

  • To Play or Pause the video, press the Space Bar or Enter (PC)/Return (Mac).
  • To open Full Screen mode, press F. You can exit Full Screen mode with Esc.
  • Rewind 10 seconds with the left arrow key, and fast forward 10 seconds with the right arrow key.
  • Increase the volume with the up arrow key, and decrease the volume with the down arrow key.
  • Mute the audio by pressing M.
  • If you’re watching a TV show, you can skip the intro by pressing S.

8. Check and set the best video quality

Samsung smart tvSamsung TV/YouTubeWatching Netflix on a 4K TV will give you the best picture quality.

We’ve come a long way from the grainy VHS tapes of the 90s. Nowadays, you should be able to see every drop of sweat on every actor’s face – if you can’t, either they’re good at staying cool under pressure, or your video quality isn’t as high as it could be.

First, some basic tips on improving your video quality:

  • Make sure you have a strong internet connection. If your internet connection is too slow to load HD content, then Netflix will only give you standard definition video. This type of video can be blurry and pixelated, which isn’t great if you want to make out fine details.
  • Keep your battery life high, and off reduced power mode. When your battery runs low, some devices will start limiting how much power apps can use. This can cause Netflix to run with lower video quality.
  • Check that you haven’t turned off HD video in Netflix’s settings. Each Netflix profile has an “HD Toggle,” which lets you select what video quality Netflix should stream in by default. You can pick from Low, Medium, or High, or Auto, which will give you whatever video quality Netflix feels your internet can handle.

If you’re signed up for Netflix Premium, and have a device that supports it, you can also stream in 4K Ultra HD quality, which is the highest quality you can get.

9. Add captions, subtitles, and audio descriptions

William Antonelli/Business InsiderMost shows have at least two audio tracks, and subtitles in several languages.

Have you ever had trouble understanding what was being said in a movie? Luckily, Netflix offers subtitle and caption tracks on every show and movie. Most titles even have them in multiple languages.

You might also have the opposite problem – you can hear the show or movie just fine, but you can’t see it. In that case, it’s good to note that many titles also have an audio description mode. Turning on this mode will give the show or movie a narrator that describes everything happening on screen. It’s a lot like an audiobook, only with optional visuals.

You can turn on subtitles or audio descriptions through the language options menu that’s available whenever you’re watching something. And if you later decide that you don’t need these additions, you can turn them off.

10. Change the language on your account

How to use netflix tips and tricks 4William Antonelli/Business InsiderYou can choose what language Netflix displays text in, and what language you want to hear.

Netflix might be an American company, but not everyone who uses it is a native English speaker.

If you’d like to use Netflix in another language, you can change the language on your account at any time. There are over 20 languages available to choose from.

On that language page, you’ll have two choices. Firstly, you can choose what language the menus and other text is in. Secondly, you can choose what language you like to listen to and read, which effects what subtitles and audio tracks Netflix gives you by default when you launch a show or movie.

11. Turn off autoplay

NetflixNetflixYou can stop Netflix’s top show from autoplaying.

If you’ve opened up Netflix recently, you might have been greeted by a loud video preview for one of their latest shows or movies. While these autoplaying videos can be useful for finding new content to watch, they can also be incredibly annoying.

Many people do not know that you can actually turn this feature off. You can turn the autoplay feature off by navigating to your Account page. Once there, uncheck “Autoplay previews while browsing on all devices,” then click “Save” at the bottom of the page.

From this page, you can also set it so when you finish an episode of a show, Netflix won’t automatically play the next episode. To do this, uncheck “Autoplay next episode in a series on all devices.” These settings work on a profile-by-profile basis, so if you use multiple profiles, you’ll need to change the setting on all of them.

12. Keep your account secure

Netflix logo figuresReutersOnly share your Netflix account with people you trust.

To use Netflix, you have to give the company a decent amount of personal information – your name, your email, your payment details. As such, you don’t want anyone getting into your account.

Like any website, Netflix lets you change your password easily – you just need to head to the Account settings menu. And it only takes a few clicks to log out of Netflix on any device.

The bottom line

Netflix is incredibly easy to use and navigate. And no matter how you watch, you have tons of ways to customise your account. And if you’re interested in other great streaming services, check out our breakdown of the best streaming apps on the market.

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