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Netflix account sharing: Everything you need to know

Not sure if account sharing on Netflix is legal? Or how many people can watch simultaneously? Read on to learn more.
September 6, 2022
Netflix Originals next to popcorn stock photo 4

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 your favorite TV shows and movies 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. After all, you wouldn’t be able to create multiple profiles if Netflix accounts were limited to a single person.

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 at 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

In this case, Netflix account sharing was an issue that the company, until recently, didn’t have much of an issue with, even if technically it violates its terms of service. 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. A poll conducted on Android Authority also showed that many people share their digital streaming logins with others.

Also read: How to delete your Netflix history

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 as of now if one member is currently living somewhere else.

This is especially true for minors. If you’re under 18, Netflix doesn’t allow you to create your own account. You have to use a parent or guardian’s account. If you’re away at school or living with multiple guardians through shared custody, you should be okay using whichever account is most convenient for you.

However, that attitude towards Netflix account sharing is finally changing. In March 2021, the company put out a warning message telling streamers to create their own account if they’re not living with the primary account holder as part of a limited test. The company started testing a new pricing plan in a few countries that forced users to pay an additional fee if they want to offer Netflix account sharing with people outside their household. In July 2022, a new pricing plan test in some different countries offered a way to add additional homes, as opposed to additional people, to a Netflix account for an extra fee.

One thing to keep in mind is that no matter what your price plan is, every Netflix account is limited to five individual profiles only. That does not, however, mean that all five can stream at once.

Netflix icon
Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.

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 content. Your Netflix price plan will determine that. Here’s how many screens you can enjoy the service at the same time according to your plan:

  • Netflix Basic ($9.99 per month) — one screen
  • Netflix Standard ($15.49 per month) — two screens
  • Netflix Premium ($19.99 per month) — four 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 Netflix at different times of the day. Or find something to watch together on one screen.

How many devices can download Netflix content?

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

Your price plan determines the number of Netflix download devices.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t download the Netflix app on multiple smartphones and tablets and watch content on all of 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 account sharing
Adamya Sharma / Android Authority

You should also disable Smart Downloads since the app will automatically download new episodes when connected to Wi-Fi. Here is how to do it:

  • Open the Netflix app on your old device, then tap on Downloads on the bottom left of the screen.
  • You should see the status of Smart Downloads on the top of the screen.
  • Tap it and toggle it off.
  • You should now be able to download content on your new smartphone without getting an error.

Netflix account sharing – 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.
  • In the Membership & Billing section, click on Change password. You will need to enter your old password and create a new one. Make sure to choose a new password that can’t be guessed easily. Go with something different from the previous password, ideally.
  • Tick the Require all devices to sign in again with the new password option before saving.
  • Sign in with your new password and enjoy your Netflix account all to yourself!
  • It’s less important, but you can also delete the  Netflix profiles of anyone who will no longer be using your account.

If you want to make absolutely sure no one else is still hanging around even after you’ve changed the password, you can go to the Settings section and click/tap on Sign out of all devices just in case.

Netflix account sharing
Adamya Sharma / Android Authority

How to offer Netflix account sharing without your password

You might be using a password for your Netflix account that you also use for another service. While that may not be a great practice for security reasons, you might still want to keep your password private while sharing your Netflix account with a family number. You can do so by using a password manager.

Most password managers have a password-sharing feature that lets you share your password in a discreet way with your contacts. As long as the person you want to share your password with also has the same password manager installed, the software will take care of automatically logging in without showing your actual password to another party.

Other FAQs

As of March 2022, the extra pricing for up to two non-household members was being offered in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, As of July 2022, the extra home pricing plans are being tested in Argentina, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Right now, there’s no word on when or even if this extra pricing plan will be introduced to Netflix’s US subscribers or in what form it will take.

Yes. Netflix says account users can still watch the service outside the home if they are traveling and stream it on a laptop PC, smartphone or tablet.

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

Don’t miss: Why streaming services let you share your password, for now