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How to download Netflix shows on MacBook

It's not easy, but it's possible. Check out how to do it.
By

Published onJuly 17, 2023

Something you might consider a flaw in Netflix’s product strategy is its lack of a native app for MacBooks, which can be ideal devices for watching shows and movies when you’re traveling. Right now Macs can only access Netflix via a web browser, which means you can’t download videos for offline viewing. There has to be some way to view Netflix content offline on a MacBook, right? Well, yes, but it isn’t very easy.

See also: How to record your screen on a MacBook

QUICK ANSWER

To download movies and TV shows from Netflix, you can install Windows on an Intel-based MacBook and use that version of the Netflix app. For Apple Silicon MacBooks, the only practical options are illegal.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

This tutorial was originally written with a MacBook Air with macOS Monterey 12.3.1.


Why is it so hard to download content from Netflix on a MacBook?

Netflix home on MacBook
Joe Hindy / Android Authority

The short answer is that macOS doesn’t have a native Netflix app. It’s a curious problem, because iOS, Android, and Windows all have native Netflix clients, and it’s having that local software that grants people offline support. macOS users can only stream via a web browser, which is inherently online-only.

What’s even more baffling is that Apple Silicon MacBooks (i.e. ones with M-series chips) can run iOS apps natively, so Netflix wouldn’t even have to write much in the way of new code. The company just doesn’t seem to consider Mac support a priority.


How to download movies and TV shows from Netflix on an Apple Silicon MacBook

App Store Netflix search macOS 02
Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Unfortunately, if you’re fully up to date with Apple software and hardware, there aren’t any options that are both simple and legally sanctioned by Netflix unless you’re already running some form of Windows on your Mac. Some people turn to piracy, but for obvious reasons, we won’t be covering illegal methods here.


How to download movies and TV shows from Netflix on an Intel MacBook

Manage Netflix Profiles
Adam Birney / Android Authority

The easiest way to use Netflix offline with an Intel-based MacBook is to install Windows via Boot Camp, followed by the Windows version of the Netflix app.

Things you’ll need first

  • Check here to see if your MacBook is compatible.
  • Download an ISO for Windows 11 by clicking here and following Microsoft’s instructions.
  • Make sure you have at least 64GB of free storage space that you can use for the Windows partition. You’ll likely want 128GB or more.
  • Finally, check your Secure Boot setting. If it says Full Security, you have to change it to No Security before installing Windows, and then back again, or things can go wrong.

Create the Windows partition with Boot Camp Assistant

  • Open Boot Camp Assistant from your applications folder.
  • Follow instructions. They’re 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 and ideally 128GB or more. You can’t resize this later.
  • Once done, the app will create your partition and reboot to the Windows installer.

Install Windows 11 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 11

  • Open the Microsoft Store, go to the search box, and type in Netflix.
  • Click the Install button.
  • Once it’s 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 Plus, and many apps that likewise won’t 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.

AirPlay

AirPlay Apple Music
Apple

Screen mirroring via AirPlay used to open up download options, but Netflix turned off AirPlay support in 2019, citing supposed performance concerns.

Parallels

Parallels lets you run Windows virtual machines on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs, but strangely enough, trying to use the official Netflix app to download videos results in an error code.

Run the iOS version on Mac

Up until macOS 11.2.3, it was possible for Apple Silicon Macs to use the Mac App Store to sideload the Netflix iOS app. You might still be in luck if you haven’t updated macOS since then, but that’s unlikely, and it’s not worth sacrificing features and overall security just for a little entertainment.

iMazing

iMazing is a Mac application that lets you extract apps from your iPhone or iPad and put them onto your Apple Silicon MacBook. This did work with Netflix for a long time, but lost support after macOS 11.3. You might have better luck with PlayCover if you’re comfortable with open-source project installs.