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Netflix profile transfer feature is in testing

Published Mar 17th, 2022 7:31AM EDT
Elite on Netflix
Image: JorgeEduardo/Adobe

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Netflix is finally testing a feature that many users might have been asking for. But it appears to be tied to the Netflix feature you’ve been dreading. Netflix wants to make password-sharing more difficult, and it’s running a brand new test where it’ll charge users an extra fee for users accessing the same account from a different location. Here’s where the exciting Netflix feature comes in: support for profile transfers between accounts.

Is it possible to migrate a Netflix profile?

If you’ve ever tried to transfer your Netflix profile from one account to another, you’ve probably discovered there’s no way to do it. Netflix doesn’t support profile migration, which can be the kind of feature that will encourage people to stop sharing passwords.

Each Netflix profile has its own history, preferences, and lists, so it’s easy to understand why one might want to move the entire profile to a different account. You might have started your profile while still a kid, and you might want to create your own Netflix account. You can’t take your existing profile with you.

Or maybe you’re just tired of sharing your friend’s account. Perhaps you broke up with your significant other and want to transfer your Netflix profile to a new account. Or you’re getting married and simply want to merge your Netflix accounts.

All of that isn’t possible right now. Sure, you can always ditch your existing Netflix profile and start another one. However, you won’t get to transfer your history, preferences, and list to the new property.

an old man holds a photograph
Footage from the new Netflix docuseries, “Worst Roommate Ever.” Image source: Netflix

How the profile transfer feature might work

That’s why Netflix’s profile transfer feature is so exciting. It’ll give you the freedom to move to a new account, assuming that Netflix is happy with the results of this limited test. And you’ll be able to do it over and over.

However, the way the streamer formulates the feature, for the time being, indicates that it might be somewhat restrictive. Here’s how Netflix describes it:

Transfer Profile to a New Account: Members on our Basic, Standard, and Premium plans can enable people who share their account to transfer profile information either to a new account or an Extra Member sub account – keeping the viewing history, My List, and personalized recommendations.

What’s missing from that paragraph is support for transferring to an existing Netflix account.

Say that two people want to create a joint Netflix account for their new family, but they already have a separate profile they want to keep. It’s unclear if both of them will be able to transfer their profile to a brand new account. According to the paragraph above, one of them could transfer their profile to a sub-account. But in this case, the two people would live together.

Again, this is just a test, and there’s no telling if Netflix will introduce the feature to all subscribers anytime soon. And it could see changes down the road if Netflix enables the feature globally. But Netflix might consider lifting any sort of restrictions about Netflix profile transfers. This could actually fix the problem that Netflix wants to solve.

James Adomian as Rowdy in the Netflix animated special "Cat Burglar."
James Adomian as Rowdy in the Netflix animated special “Cat Burglar.” Image source: Netflix

The password-sharing aspect

Allowing people to transfer their Netflix profiles to new accounts, whether new or existing ones, would also help Netflix solve the password-sharing issue. We’ve known for a while that Netflix will not keep ignoring it forever, and the new feature test indicates the streamer is finally ready to curb the practice.

As it is now, the transfer profile feature is tied to the extra member fee. It seems unlikely that Netflix will go forward with the profile transfer feature without also implementing the new anti-password-sharing price. Again, this is just speculation.

With all that in mind, supporting profile transfers is something all streamers should consider, not just Netflix.

More Netflix coverage: For more Netflix news, check out our coverage of the latest new Netflix movies and series to watch.

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.