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How to download Netflix shows on MacBook
One of the biggest flaws in Netflix’s product strategy is its lack of a native app for MacBooks. Right now, you can only access Netflix via a web browser. Unfortunately, you can’t download shows or movies for offline use from a web browser. AirPlay used to be an option. However, Netflix disabled that in 2019. So there has to be a way to view offline Netflix content on a MacBook, right? Well, yes, but it isn’t very easy.
Read more: How to record your screen on a MacBook
To download movies and TV shows from Netflix, you'll need to install Windows 10 on an Intel-based MacBook and use the Windows version of the Netflix app. For Apple M1 MacBooks, there is no legal way to do this right now.
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This tutorial was written with a MacBook Air with macOS Monterey 12.3.1.
Why is it so hard to download content from Netflix on a MacBook?
The short answer is that macOS doesn’t have a native Netflix app. It’s a curious problem because iOS and iPad, Android, and Windows all have native Netflix apps. It’s the app that gives users offline download capabilities. You can’t do it with a web browser. Unfortunately, macOS users can only use a web browser to access Netflix.
It’s honestly a mystery. Netflix hasn’t talked about it. What’s even more baffling is that Apple silicon MacBooks can run iOS apps natively, so Netflix wouldn’t even have to write a new app at this point. A popular solution was to use AirPlay. However, Netflix shut down support for that in 2019, and it no longer works.
Apple's silicon and Netflix's policies are why it's so hard to get offline Netflix support.
The final solution was to install Windows with virtualization software like Parallels or Boot Camp. Then you download the Netflix app on Windows and use its offline support. Apple’s new M1 chips don’t work well with this method. People who have tried have run into many problems, including low-quality streams, downloads that won’t open, and sometimes it just doesn’t work.
So, in short, Netflix spent a lot of time, effort, and money to block macOS users from legally downloading and accessing offline content from Netflix. It left users with morally ambiguous solutions or a Windows virtual machine if you have an Intel-based MacBook.
How to download movies and TV shows from Netflix on an M1 MacBook
Unfortunately, there are no Netflix-approved methods to download movies and TV shows from Netflix with an M1 MacBook. There are, however, some morally ambiguous ways. Some folks have found success using online video downloaders, while others have made do with screen recording their iPhone or iPad using their MacBooks. Others still have turned to piracy.
We obviously won’t be writing about how to do that stuff because we don’t want to encourage readers to do bad things. However, this is obviously Netflix’s fault, so it’s out of our hands. It’s not our fault Netflix makes macOS users default to these methods to get a feature they pay full price for.
How to download movies and TV shows from Netflix on an Intel MacBook
The easiest way to use Netflix offline with an Intel-based MacBook is to install Windows with Boot Camp and use the Windows version of the app. Unfortunately, M1 MacBooks can’t do this method, so we only recommend it for Intel-based MacBooks.
Things you’ll need first
- Check here to see if your MacBook is compatible.
- Download an ISO for Windows 10 by clicking here and following Microsoft’s instructions. You do not need a premium copy of Windows. The free, unactivated version works fine.
- Make sure you have at least 64GB of free storage space that you can use for the Windows partition.
- Finally, check your Secure Boot setting. If it says Full Security, you have to change it to No Security and then Full Security again before installing Windows, or things can go wrong.
Create the Windows partition with Boot Camp Assistant
- Open Boot Camp Assistant from your applications folder.
- Follow the instructions. They are pretty linear, so you shouldn’t get lost as long as you read each step.
- When you get to the part where it asks what size you want for your Windows partition, remember that you need at least 64GB.
- Once done, the app will create your partition and reboot to the Windows installer.
Install Windows 10 on Mac
- The Windows installer is pretty easy to navigate. Simply follow each step.
- Select the BOOTCAMP partition and tap the Format button if the installer asks which partition you want to use. If it doesn’t ask, the Installer selected the proper partition on its own.
- Once Windows is done installing, it’ll reboot back to the Boot Camp installer window. Just keep following the instructions until you’re done.
Download Netflix on Windows 10
- Open the Microsoft Store, go to the search box, and type in Netflix.
- Tap the Install button.
- Once installed, open Netflix and log in with your credentials.
- You’re all done! You can now download shows for offline use and play them.
To switch from Mac to Windows and back again, reboot your MacBook and hold the Option (or Alt) ⌥ key during startup. You’ll be given the option to boot from Windows or macOS.
This is a little complex, but you can also get other streaming services this way, like Disney+ and other apps that might not work on macOS.
Commonly misunderstood methods that don’t work
Here are a collection of old tricks that used to work but don’t anymore.
- Connect your iPhone or iPad to the same Wi-Fi network as your MacBook.
- Open the Control Center and tap the Screen Mirroring option. Select your MacBook from the list.
- Open Netflix, find the movie or show you want, and download it for offline use.
- Go to your offline library and select the video you want.
- Netflix turned off support for AirPlay in 2019, citing performance concerns that we honestly don’t believe.
Parallels is desktop virtualization software for Mac. You can still use this with your Windows 10 ISO on Intel-based machines without creating a whole partition.
- You can purchase the app for $79.99 or $99.99 per year. Once done, download the app and install it on your MacBook.
- You would open it, follow the instructions, use your Windows 10 ISO during the process, and you could run Windows on your MacBook without needing to reboot.
- It technically works with M1 MacBooks. However, streaming services like Disney+, Netflix, and others don’t let you use offline viewing due to some error that nobody seems to be able to get past. Netflix says their app isn’t built for virtual machines, and that’s likely why it doesn’t work.
Run the iOS version on Mac
The M1 versions of MacBooks have the distinct advantage of running iPhone and iPad apps directly without mirroring. This works for many apps, but not for all of them. This should theoretically be the easiest method.
- When you open the App Store on a MacBook, you can search for Netflix and then tap the iPhone & iPad Apps option at the top.
- In a perfect world, you would be able to download the Netflix app here.
- Netflix has, unfortunately, opted out of this functionality, and you can’t download it that way.
iMazing is a Mac application that lets you extract apps from your iPhone or iPad and put them onto your M1 MacBook. This did work with Netflix for a long time, but lost support after macOS 11.3. If you run a MacBook with newer software than 11.3, the app no longer works.
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