Netflix has a hidden limit on the number of times you can download certain programmes

The streaming service is known for keeping its cards close to its chest


Netflix announced back in November that it would finally allow users to download shows for offline viewing, a godsend to anyone facing a long flight or commute. Now, though, it has come to light that there are only a certain number of times you can download an episode or film before hitting a limit.


The downloads have always been regulated: shows could only be saved on your device for a short period of time, the length dictated by the licence Netflix as agreed with rights holders. Some titles expire 48 hours after you first press play.

But many were not explicitly aware that on top of this there is also a quota of how many times you can download certain titles.

What does this mean? Well, if for some ungodly reason, you’ve downloaded The Cobbler a number of times in the past, there may come a time when you are no longer able to save it to your device, depriving you of Adam Sandler’s wacky humour for a while (possibly a year after the initial download). The good news is, you will be notified when you are coming close to your limit.

A spokesperson for Netflix pointed out to that this information has kind of been available on Netflix’s ‘help’ feature all along, directing us to this website about download expiry, which says that users will only be able to download certain titles a limited number of times. Like the varying expiration dates, this relates to whatever deal Netflix has struck with specific rights holders, as the service does not own the majority of its content.

It seems as if the service wants you to feel as if your subscription is like a share in the ownership of a product, but in reality it’s just a rental.

Sadly, we are still none-the-wiser as to which content these limits apply to, or any specific information on the number of downloads, or the length of time that you will be banned from downloading it for.


Surely it couldn’t hurt for Netflix to put a little disclaimer on each programme letting us know about this? And, while they’re at it, perhaps sending us a notification when shows on our lists are leaving the service?