Netflix is bringing smart downloads to its iOS app: The streaming service’s iPhone and iPad apps will now automatically download the next episode of a show when users have finished watching a downloaded episode.
“The faster our members can get to the next episode of their favorite stories, the better,” a Netflix spokesperson said Thursday. “Now, fans on the Netflix iOS app can get in on the fun and convenience of smart downloads, spending less time managing their downloads and more time watching.”
Netflix rolled out smart downloads for Android in July of 2018. The feature also automatically deletes a downloaded episode after it has been watched, alleviating storage problems on mobile devices.
The streaming service first introduced the ability to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing in late 2016. Back then, downloading was still limited to a smaller subsection of Netflix’s catalog, with studios like Disney initially not making their titles available for download. However, the growth of Netflix’s original content efforts has also resulted in a lot more content being available for downloads, in addition to streaming.
What’s more, Netflix has also invested a significant amount of work into optimizing its video quality for bandwidth savings. As part of these efforts, Netflix has been analyzing videos scene by scene, and tweaking its encoding settings accordingly. Now, action scenes are encoded at higher bit rates than slow segments without many visual changes, which allows the company to deliver high-quality downloads while eating up less bandwidth.