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How to add a PIN to a Netflix profile and make sure it actually works

Published Apr 8th, 2020 6:50AM EDT
Netflix Profile
Image: wutzkohphoto/Shutterstock

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  • Netflix’s new parental controls include the option of locking down profiles with 4-digit PINs.
  • Setting up a PIN is very easy and can be a convenient way to restrict access to Netflix and even prevent the creation of additional profiles on a shared account.
  • However, the feature is only good as long as people who use your Netflix account on various devices don’t know your password.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Netflix on Tuesday announced a series of features meant to give parents more control over what their children watch. The move couldn’t have come at a better time, considering what’s happening with the world right now. The novel coronavirus pandemic shut down regular life. Parents and kids have to spend more time at home, and they’ll consume more entertainment than usual, with Netflix coming in handy in this regard. The streaming giant has plenty of content for all ages, and supports multiple profiles, so that family members can keep track of their favorite shows. One of the features Netflix just introduced is support for PINs, which can be used to protect profiles.

There may be various reasons to lock down a profile, and the simplest one is to restrict Netflix access to one of your children. That way, when you tell them they can’t access Netflix for a specified period, they won’t be able to access it. Well, they won’t be able to access your account, as their friends could share a different account with them. Come to think of it, Netflix PINs might not even work for older kids who already know how the internet works. What you’ll want to do in those cases is restrict internet access completely, but I digress.

What the PIN protection can also do for you is to add another layer of privacy to a profile and prevent other people who use your password from messing with your primary Netflix profile. However, there’s a huge caveat that we’ll get into soon.

What’s also important to know is that by locking down your main Netflix account with a PIN, you can also prevent others from creating other profiles on your account.

What you need to do to try out the PIN protection is log into Netflix, and then select Account from the drop-down menu next to your profile. Scroll down to Profile & Parental Controls, where you’ll see all the profiles associated with the account. Select the one you want and search for Profile Lock in the drop-down menu. You’ll see that the lock is off by default. Click on Change, and then fill in your Netflix password. This is where you’ll be asked to enter a PIN.

In addition to ticking off the Require a PIN to access profile box, you can also tick off the Require Profile’s PIN to add new profile. The four-digit PIN is something you have to remember with ease, you’ll foolishly think. But things aren’t quite as strict. Netflix will even email you the PIN for the profile, so you’ll always be able to retrieve it later.

Once you lock down a profile, the image of a lock will appear underneath it when you load Netflix again. You’ll be prompted to insert the PIN number to access the contents of the profile. To remove the PIN, you’ll have to redo the steps above.

While testing the feature, I wondered what would happen if you forgot the PIN. It turns out that all you have to do to recover it is to know the password of the Netflix account. In other words, the PIN protection is only good if you want to protect your account from people who don’t know the password but have the app installed on their devices. Anyone you’re sharing the Netflix login with will be able to remove all PINs from all profiles and create additional ones as well. Your kids included.

To actually take advantage of the feature, you’ll have to be the person who signs into Netflix on other people’s devices. Once that’s done, you could set up PINs for those profiles, and the users will not be able to use Netflix without knowing the PINs. And they won’t be able to reset the PIN either.

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.