netflix account sharing

In the past decade, Netflix and services like it have become the primary source of entertainment for cord-cutters. However, even to this day many myths about account sharing on Netflix persist. We are here to dispel them once and for all, so you can watch the latest season of Stranger Things in peace. Let’s get into it!

How does Netflix account sharing work?

First, let’s address a frequently asked question that often pops up on Google and websites like Quora. Is Netflix account sharing legal? Yes, it is. Afterall, you wouldn’t be able to create multiple profiles if Netflix accounts were limited to use by a single person. The streaming service company has also clarified that it has no plans to strictly clamp down on users who share their accounts, despite rumors to the contrary circulating earlier this year.

However, some terms apply. According to Netflix’s ToS your account is for “personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household”. This is where things get a bit tricky. Members of your household can be understood as family members or roommates that currently live on the same address as you and presumably use the same internet connection. But what happens if you want to share your account with your partner or a family member if they live in another city?

Marvel Netflix Search Results

Sharing your passion for Marvel movies with friends or family outside of your household is technically against TOS.

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Although technically against terms of service, this is a common occurrence that Netflix doesn’t seem to take issue with. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of users sharing accounts with partners or family members that live in different cities or even in different countries without problems.

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Netflix Chief Product Manager Neil Hunt himself has said that the streaming service is not “obsessed with enforcing compliance with a one-household-per-account constraint”. So, our advice is to try to stick to the one household rule if possible, but not to worry too much if one member is currently living somewhere else.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that no matter what your price plan is, every Netflix account is limited to five individual profiles only.

How many devices can stream Netflix simultaneously?

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, the number of profiles you can create per account does not correlate with the number of devices that can simultaneously stream Netflix. That is determined by how much you pay. Here’s how many screens you can enjoy it on at the same time according to your plan:

  • Netflix Basic ($8.99 per month) — 1 screen
  • Netflix Standard ($12.99 per month) — 2 screens
  • Netflix Premium ($14.99 per month) — 4 screens

If you have a Basic plan, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t share it with a family member or a friend. You will just have to watch at different times of the day.

How many devices can download Netflix content?

One of the best features of Netflix is that you can download content for offline viewing. However, the number of devices which can use the function is limited. Just like the simultaneous streams, Netflix Basic can have one device with downloads, Standard has a slight upgrade with two and Premium offers four.

The number of Netflix download devices depends on your price plan.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t download the Netflix app on multiple smartphones and tablets and watch content on them. But you will need to have designated download devices. If you want to swap from one to another, for example when you buy a new phone, all you need to do is delete downloaded content from the old phone. You can also remove it by going to Account and clicking Manage Download Devices in the Settings section.

Netflix download and sharing devices

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You should also disable Smart Downloads, since the app will automatically download new available episodes when connected to Wi-Fi. Here is how to do it. Open the Netflix app on your old device then tap on Downloads in the bottom left of the screen. On the top you should see the status of Smart Downloads. Tap it and toggle it off. You should now be able to download content on your new smartphone without getting an error.

Removing freeloaders from your account

Do you suspect that an ex is still covertly using your account? Or that a family member has shared your password with someone else? Then it’s time for an account purge! Here is what you can do if you are the Netflix account owner.

  • Open Netflix and click or tap on your profile icon. Select Account from the dropdown menu.
  • Go to the Settings section and click/tap on Sign out of all devices.
  • Once that is done, log back into Netflix and visit your Account once more.
  • From the Membership & Billing section, click on Change password. Make sure it’s not something similar to your previous one or something that can be guessed easily — like your birth date.

Netflix account management and sharing

All that’s left to do after is to give out your new password only to those you want to have access. Make sure to warn them not to share it with others without asking you in the future.

These our tips on Netflix account sharing! We hope we covered everything you wanted to know, but if we haven’t, feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Read next: What’s new on Netflix in July 2019

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