Streaming giant Netflix has been making movie night easier since 2007. Its user-friendly interface, reasonable pricing and abundance of great content has been a game changer for film buffs and casual viewers alike. If you have a Netflix subscription, there are some tips and tricks you can use to really get your money’s worth — these are called Netflix hacks.
- You can access hidden content in a wide variety of genres on Netflix by using secret codes. You add these codes to the end of the Netflix URL.
- A VPN allows you to bypass regional restrictions and unlock Netflix libraries around the world.
- Netflix has a range of useful tools and settings that are often overlooked. This post explores these tools and explains how you can use them to enhance and optimize your Netflix experience.
Maybe you’re intrigued by seeing what Netflix’s secret menu — yep, that really is a thing — has to offer, or perhaps you’d like to find out how to watch geoblocked content or search Netflix for movies with titles you’ve forgotten? Whatever the case, pull up a seat and get ready to unlock a whole new streaming experience.
Updated to add more up-to-date hacks and provide more tips and tricks on how to use lesser-known or often overlooked Netflix tools to your advantage.
The 25 Best Netflix Hacks
If you feel like kicking yourself when you check out this list, you’re in good company. Many of us (guilty) are paying for a Netflix subscription without using its capabilities to the fullest. Examples include being unaware of options for better video quality and saving mobile data when streaming in-app.
Don’t fret — check out these sweet Netflix tips to learn how to optimize your streaming time. Some of these hacks are unofficial workarounds, whereas others are more general and show you how to use all of Netflix’s tools to your advantage.
1. Unblock Geoblocked Content With a VPN
By using a VPN, you can access geoblocked content from around the world. Due to copyright restrictions, the content in Netflix libraries differs by country. For example, if you’ve been catching up on Outlander season five in Canada and then travel to the U.S., you’ll find season five unavailable on Netflix there.
The story is the same if you’ve been watching Stranger Things or Ragnarok on Netflix and then you travel to a country where Netflix is blocked. You’ll need one of the best VPNs for Netflix to access your account.
You can get around this and watch Netflix content limited to other countries by connecting to a VPN server in that country. For example, if you’re in the U.S. and want to watch Outlander season five, just connect to a Canadian server before opening Netflix. Find out more on how to do this in our changing Netflix location guide.
2. Unlock the Netflix Secret Menu
Though the Netflix library is already pretty expansive, with a bit of intel, you can unlock hidden categories. There is a collection of Netflix codes you can use to access content in different categories — check out our Netflix secret codes post for more on this.
For instance, if you wanted to unlock movies in the action comedy genre, you would type in https://netflix.com/browse/genre/xx and then add the code to the end. It would look like this: https://netflix.com/browse/genre/43040.
3. Stream in HD
Standard and Premium Netflix subscriptions let you watch in HD, while Premium subscribers can also watch in Ultra HD. To make sure you’re streaming in the best video quality possible, go to playback settings by clicking “account,” selecting a profile and then navigating to “playback settings.” Here, you can adjust to “HD” or “Ultra HD” if your subscription allows for it.
4. Use the Search Bar Wisely
The search bar lets you do more than simply search for shows and movies. If you’re looking for a movie but can’t remember the name, try searching for a keyword related to the movie, like the genre or an actor’s name.
If you’re not sure what you’d like to watch but have a vague idea, you can type in something like “Academy Award-Winning” to see what’s available.
5. Boot Spongers Off Your Account
If you’ve been kind enough to share your Netflix account with former friends or exes in the past, they could still be reaping the benefits while you foot the bill. Luckily, there is a way to boot them off your account for good.
Go to your account, scroll down to “sign out of all devices” and then change your Netflix password.
6. Delete Your Viewing History
If you don’t want others to know your viewing habits, you can selectively delete shows and movies in your Netflix viewing history. Go to your account and click on your profile, then “viewing activity.” To delete something, just click on the “hide” icon to the right.
7. Binge Watch From a Distance
Using a Chrome extension is a great way to enjoy streaming Netflix with extra features. Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party Chrome extension), for example, lets you watch TV shows and movies with friends who aren’t physically present. Anyone wishing to join a Teleparty needs to have their own Netflix account.
It even includes a nifty chat feature for group discussions or for the dreaded “movie talker” in your group to indulge in while everyone else watches in peace and quiet.
8. Install IMDb Ratings for Netflix
Another cool Chrome extension is IMDb Ratings for Netflix, which shows you the Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb ratings for the movie you’re considering. This saves you from having to pull up a separate tab or window and search for ratings on individual movies or shows.
9. Take Control of Your Data Usage
Watching Netflix on the phone app can demolish your mobile data. To make sure you aren’t using up all your data unnecessarily, go to your phone’s cellular settings. Scroll down to your phone’s apps, find Netflix and toggle “WLAN” on.
This will make sure the app only streams when connected to WiFi, thereby saving your data. If you don’t have WiFi access and need to use your cellular data, toggle “WLAN & Cellular Data” on.
10. Use the Offline Playback Feature
If you’ll be flying but don’t want to miss something, you can download movies or shows for offline viewing. For this, you’ll need to download the Netflix app to your device. If a movie or show is downloadable, you’ll see a download icon (a downward-facing arrow) on the title’s description page. Some titles aren’t available for download.
11. Choose How the Interface Looks
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to how content is arranged on your screen. When you select “movies” or “TV shows,” if you navigate to the top-right corner, you’ll see two options — an icon with three lines and an icon with four boxes.
If you click the icon with three lines, Netflix will sort movies and shows into categories. If you go for the four boxes, the content won’t be categorized and you can just scroll straight through.
12. Let Netflix Pick a Title for You
If you’re not in the mood to trawl through Netflix looking for something to watch, you can let Netflix make the choice for you. Those with the Netflix TV app can select the “play something” option on the left side of the screen.
If you’re an Android user, you’ll see the icon at the bottom of your phone’s app. The “play something” option isn’t currently available on iOS.
13. Adjust Your Subtitle Settings
If you go to the speech bubble in the bottom-right corner, you can choose to show or hide subtitles. This is an especially cool feature for language learners who want to delve into the world of foreign films.
14. Adjust Audio Settings & Dubbing
In addition to turning subtitles on and off, you can also choose your audio language. If you find subtitles distracting but want to watch something in a language you don’t understand, this is a great alternative.
15. Learn a Language While You Stream
If you’re a movie fan, why not learn a new language while you’re at it? Language Reactor is a Chrome extension that offers some pretty cool features, including dual subtitles and a dictionary. At Cloudwards, we’re big on language learning, so we think this extension is pretty sweet.
16. Make Use of Streaming Guides
Streaming guides like Instant Watcher and Reel Good are useful for finding out what’s out there in the big Netflix pond. With so many titles and content being added and removed on a regular basis, streaming guides can show you what’s new, what countries shows and movies are available in and languages you can watch them in.
17. Know Your Keyboard Shortcuts
Getting to know the Netflix keyboard shortcuts can save you time you’d otherwise spend hunting down icons with your mouse. A few examples:
- Click “F’ for full-screen mode.
- Pause and play by tapping the space bar.
- Click “PgUp” and “PgDn” to control volume.
18. Set Up Multiple User Profiles
If you’re sharing your account with family or friends, there’s no need to endure recommendations for content you’re not so keen on yourself. Netflix allows you to set up separate profiles for up to five users.
This is especially useful if you have children, as you can adjust maturity settings on their individual profiles. However, this could soon change with the Netflix password sharing crackdown. Read our Netflix password sharing: Canada guide to learn more.
To set up multiple profiles, hover over your account icon in the top-right corner and a dropdown menu will appear. Go to “manage profiles” and click on “add profile.”
19. Create a PIN for Your Profile
If you don’t want other users on your account to access your profile and see the content you watch, there is a fix. Go to “account,” then select the profile you want to lock. Go down to “profile lock” and follow the instructions to create a PIN.
20. Control Playback Speed
If you navigate to the little speedometer icon in the bottom right-corner of the video, you can adjust your playback speed. This is another great tactic for language learners who can’t quite keep up with native language speeds.
21. Use “Thumbs Up” & “Thumbs Down” Buttons
For the best possible Netflix recommendations, make use of the “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” buttons by hovering over a movie or show’s thumbnail. If you indicate to Netflix that you like a certain kind of content, the algorithm becomes more attuned to your tastes and can recommend additional content that you’ll actually enjoy.
22. Tidy Up Your “Continue Watching” Row
When you stop watching a show or movie halfway, it will remain in your “continue watching” row. This can be somewhat annoying if you actually stopped watching because you didn’t like the content. You can get rid of it though — simply hover over the thumbnail and click the “X” to remove it.
23. Go With a Decent Streaming ISP
Some internet providers perform better with Netflix than others in terms of speed. Check out Netflix’s ISP speed index to see how your internet service provider measures up and find out whether it may be worth switching providers.
24. Look Into Getting Netflix Cheaper or for Free
Netflix used to offer a free trial, but unfortunately, it no longer does. There are a few tips and tricks you can use to get Netflix for free or at a reduced price, though.
That said, there’s no guarantee — whether or not you can make it happen depends on factors like your ISP and your location. Check out our how to watch Netflix for free guide for more on this.
25. Watch Netflix on the Big Screen
Streaming devices like Chromecast, Firestick and Roku let you stream Netflix and a number of other streaming services on your TV instead of on your phone or computer. You can read our guide on how to watch Netflix on TV to learn more. Now, we all know that smart TVs can be pricey.
Fortunately, many streaming devices are reasonably priced, giving you the home cinema experience with Netflix without breaking the bank.
And there we have it — 25 ways to enhance and optimize your Netflix streaming! Whether you’re planning a Netflix originals binge-watching session or just want a bit of background noise, we hope you’ve found these Netflix hacks, tips and tricks useful.
Are there any Netflix hacks that you use? Have we missed any that our readers may find useful? If so, drop them in the comments below and as always, thanks for reading!
The best way to unlock more content on Netflix is to use a VPN to change your IP address. This lets you access Netflix libraries in different countries.
With a VPN, you can trick Netflix into thinking you’re in another country, thereby allowing you to bypass regional restrictions.
Some internet service providers like T-Mobile in the U.S. offer Netflix for free as part of some packages. Kenya also offers a free Netflix plan. Please refer to our watching Netflix for free guide linked in this article to find out more.