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Netflix just fixed a problem you didn’t realize you had

Published Apr 21st, 2020 6:50AM EDT
Netflix App Features
Image: XanderSt/Shutterstock

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  • Netflix quietly rolled out a small user interface change for its mobile app that will make accidental screen taps a thing of the past.
  • Called Screen Lock, the new feature will help you avoid accidental touches, and could come in handy in a variety of instances.
  • The screen lock button is not available on the iPhone and iPad for the time being.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Netflix has just rolled out a new feature for its mobile app that fixes a problem you may not have realized you had. The video interface now comes with a handy button called Screen Lock that does exactly what you suspect. Tap it and continue watching content without worrying about accidental taps that would pause the clip or scrub the video. The feature might be targeting a special set of Netflix users, the ones who’re most likely to touch the display by mistake or intentionally. That’s young children, who’re not trained on using phones, and who’re more likely than ever to want to touch the screen while their favorite cartoon is playing.

The featured rolled out to the Android version of Netflix and can be spotted in the animation below from 9to5Google. The screen lock button eliminates all other buttons from the screen, and the only way to unlock the screen is to tap twice on the lock icon. Android navigation gestures still work, so you’ll always be able to move between apps if you need to.

Image source: 9to5Google

The feature can be very useful if you let your children watch Netflix shows on your phone or tablet, especially toddlers kids who can’t read. You won’t have to worry about them touching the display, pausing playback, or skipping ahead. Having young kids watch content on a mobile device may not be advised in the first place, but that’s one way to keep them entertained when not at home. And it’s an entirely different discussion. Still, having to deal with issues resulting from accidental touches can be distracting, if you also have to drive your car while your kids are watching their favorite show, and that’s where Screen Lock can come in handy.

The feature can be useful to adults watching Netflix shows on mobile devices as well. The screen lock feature can prevent accidental taps on the go if you’re still commuting to work during the lockdown, and even at home. The more people are at home at the same time, the more likely it is that some of them will want to binge on their favorite shows, and sometimes that calls for the use of a mobile device.

The new feature is only available on Android and was rolled out as a server-side change, per 9to5Google. But it will probably roll out to iPhone and iPad in the near future.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.