10 Smart Hacks Every Netflix User Should Know
Is there anyone who doesn’t love Netflix? The on-demand TV and movie service has brought us Netflix-original gems like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Orange Is The New Black, it gave us the phrase “Netflix and chill” and it’s provided us endless options of things to binge watch.
At least 75 million people worldwide are Netflix subscribers, but are they really getting the most out of the service? There’s a wide variety of tips and tricks out there to make your Netflix experience even better. Here are some hacks only the Netflix-binging pros know and that will improve your binge experience dramatically. May you never leave your house again.
Request a show or movie
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Put in a Netflix request for shows and movie you want to see added to the streaming service. You can enter up to three titles at a time and, if Netflix ends up adding any of your requests, it will notify you via email.
Hide activity from your history
Whether it’s because you promised your partner that you wouldn’t watch the new season of Love without them (and did it anyways) or you just don’t want a rogue viewing to disturb your recommendations algorithm, there’s a way to hide activity from your watch history. Go to Netflix.com/WiViewingActivity to see a chronological list of every TV show episode or movie you’ve ever watched on your account. Click the “X” to the right of each title you’d like to remove from your history. It’s like it never ever happened!
Browse with search codes
You can find dozens of categories that won’t appear on your home screen by using specific search codes in the URL field. Just type in www.netflix.com/browse/genre/ and add the search code at the end of the link. The URL for Disney movies, for example, would be www.netflix.com/browse/genre/67673. You can get the full list of categories at whatsonnetflix.com.
Stop the buffering
Just because your WiFi connection is weak, doesn’t mean your buffering game should be. On Chrome, press Ctrl, Shift and Alt/Opt+S at the same time to open the secret “Stream Manager” menu. This gives you a selection of buffering fixes to choose from. You can also access this menu by pressing Shift and Opt (or Shift and Alt on a Windows PC) and left clicking.
Control your data usage
An hour of streaming Netflix in HD can use up to 3 GB of your data plan. At that rate, you can expect to have a pricey internet bill. Control your data usage by going to Your Account, My Profile, Playback Settings. There, you can choose from the Auto, Low (about 0.3 GB per hour), Medium (about 0.7 GB per hour) or High (3 GB per hour) data usage categories. This is especially useful if you’re streaming on your phone.
Customize subtitle font
If those yellow and white fonts cause you to go cross-eyed, there’s a hack for that. To adjust the font go to Your Account, My Profile, Subtitle Appearance. There you can customize subtitle appearances by changing the font type, color, size, shadow and background
Use multiple profiles for viewing moods
Having a profile for everyone sharing one Netflix subscription is great for keeping everyone’ s movie tastes separate. Each profile will have movie and TV suggestions based on its Recently Watched list along with any ratings given to programs. But you can also use multiple profiles for your viewing moods. Set up a “Back From the Bar” profile to indulge in silly comedies, or a “Girls Night” profile as an easy way to access the rom-coms you love but don’t necessarily want to influence your Netflix stats.
Refuse Netflix’s episode-binge enabling
Although spending an entire Sunday rewatching Friends is great, sometimes we don’t want to get sucked into a binge. You can disable this feature (called Post-Play) by heading to Your Account, Playback Settings and unchecking Play Next Episode Automatically.
Fast forward and rewind without a mouse or trackpad
If you’re watching Netflix on your desktop, you don’t have to move your hands off the keyboard to fast forward or rewind. Hit the Shift Key and the Right Arrow if you want to fast forward, or Shift and the Left Arrow to rewind.
Find out what the critics think
If you never know what to watch, it might be time to get some advice from the critics. The Chrome extension Enhancer adds valuable information to Netflix listings like IMDb credits and Rotten Tomatoes ratings to help you decide what to watch.
Which Netflix hack is your favourite? Share with us in the comment section.
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Brooklyn is a Toronto-based journalist and if she isn’t writing, you can find her enjoying a nice glass of merlot. She is a lover of good books, Sunday brunches and running around the city with her girl gang. She’s your basic Blair Waldorf in a world of Jenny Humphrey’s. You can follow her on Twitter @BNeustaeter.