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11 Netflix tips and tricks that will completely change the way you binge

Netflix Tips And Tricks

Netflix has completely transformed the way we watch and enjoy TV, a feat made all the more remarkable given that the streaming giant was nothing more than a purveyor of DVDs by mail just a few years ago. These days, Netflix is churning out content faster than most people can keep up with. In April alone, Netflix has plans to roll out 25 new original programs, including a highly anticipated new stand-up special from Louis C.K. And in case you missed it, Netflix late last week rolled out 13 Reasons Why, a gripping drama based on the book of the same name that has already garnered a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Now if this all old news to you and you fancy yourself something of a Netflix connoisseur, we’ve put together a long list of Netflix tips and tricks to help you take your game to the next level. So whether you’re curious about exploring some of Netflix’s hidden subcategories or are interested in exploring new Netflix features before they roll out to the masses, we’ve got you covered. So as much as it pains me to say it, now might be a good time to pause whatever you’re currently watching and check out some of the coolest Netflix features lurking right beneath the site’s surface.

Secret Netflix codes and hidden subcategories

With Netflix doubling down on original content, not to mention the fact that the list of available content is constantly changing on a monthly basis, figuring out what to watch next can sometimes be an exercise in frustration. While Netflix in recent months has made it much easier to search for content across genres and sub-genres, there are tons of secret Netflix codes you can use to really explore the full breadth of Netflix’s content library.

Here’s how it all works.

Every genre of content in the Netflix library has its own unique code. So, for example, the following URL will take you to Netflix’s documentary page as 6839 is the code Netflix uses for documentaries. Seems simple enough, but if you start playing around with different numerical strings, you can really start having some fun.

An unofficial list of genre codes can be found over here. It’s a long list, but if you’re looking for something completely random, such as a list of critically acclaimed feel-good movies from the 1980s or Exciting Japanese movies, you can use the codes from the list above to really make your search for new content much more efficient. As a quick example, the list above relays that the special code for “British Independent Crime Movies” is 2962. That being the case, you can access films that fall under that category by going to

Manage your data usage when viewing from a mobile device

Given how popular Netflix on mobile is, you might want to be aware of an app setting which can let you choose how much data you want to use per hour of programming. To do so, open up your Netflix app and go to App Settings > Cellular Data usage. Here, users can opt to have their streaming quality set automatically or pick between low and high. As laid out by Netflix, here’s how different video quality settings can impact your data usage.

  • Low: 4 hours per GB of data
  • Medium: 2 hours per GB of data
  • High: 1 hour per GB of data

Request your favorite movies and TV shows

If you have a particular movie or TV show that you’d like to become available, Netflix not only allows user suggestions, it encourages it. If you’d like to make a request, you can do so by checking out this page on Netflix’s website. A request is obviously no guarantee that Netflix will grant you your wish, but it certainly never hurts to try.

Download shows for offline viewing

Netflix was slow to roll out this feature, but we’re definitely glad that it’s finally here. If you’re headed on a trip or simply want to have some content at the ready in case you get stuck in a place with limited reception, Netflix will let you download certain programs to your device for later viewing.

To see what shows are available, go to the Netflix menu on your mobile device and select “Available for Download.” You’ll be taken to a page where you can search for a particular title or simply scroll through a list of recommended programs.

There are two points worth adding: One, the number of devices under your account that can have downloaded content concurrently may be limited by the type of Netflix subscription you have. Two, if you want to delete all of your downloaded Netflix content in one fell swoop, you can go to Menu > App Settings > Delete all downloads.

Save storage space when downloading shows

If space is a premium on your device, or if you simply want to shorten your download times, you can opt to download shows in either standard def or HD. To toggle between these two settings, go to App Settings > Video quality. To be fair, standard definition video on a screen as small as the iPhone isn’t too shabby so you might want to avoid HD downloads unless you’ve got the space and bandwidth to spare.

See or delete everything you’ve ever watched or rated

If you ever have a need to browse through your entire Netflix viewing history, you can simply check out Netflix’s My Activity page here. Aside from taking a bizarre trip down memory lane, the feature is a godsend if, for example, you’re trying to remember the name of a documentary you watched 4 years ago whose title you can’t remember.

To see a list of the shows you’ve given ratings to before, simply go to the My Activity page linked above and hit the “Rating” option on the right-hand side of the page.

Bonus tip: You can delete select titles from your viewing history simply by hitting the ‘x’ to the right of each listing

Check if anyone is using your account without permission

It’s pretty common for users of various streaming sites to share passwords, but sometimes you never know just how far a shared password of yours has travelled. That said, if you want to check in on where your account is being used, or even if you just want to make sure you haven’t been hacked, you can check out a list of all the IPs that logged into your account via Netflix’s Recent Account Access page. You’ll also see information about the city where each login originated and which logins came via a desktop computer, a mobile device or a set-top box.

Play Netflix Roulette

If you’re bad at making decisions or simply want to have a little fun and dance with the devil, you might want to play a little Netflix Roulette. As the name implies, the website (which is not affiliated with Netflix) spits out a random movie or TV show once a user inputs a specific genre and a desired ratings range. You can also filter on keywords such as a specific actor’s name.

Test new Netflix features before they become available to everyone

Netflix is a big fan of A/B testing and the company is always experimenting with new layouts, recommendation algorithms and more. If you wanna get in on this, go to your Account page and then scroll all the way down to the bottom and select “Test Participation.” As Netflix describes it, toggling this feature on will enable users to “help improve the Netflix experience and see potential changes before they are available to all members.”

Kick any moochers off your account

If you forgot to log off of a particular device, you can kick all signed-in accounts off-line with a single, swift blow. To do so, go to your Account section and then select “Sign out of all devices” located in the Settings portion of the page.

Change how Subtitles appear

If you ever happen to watch a show with subtitles (subtext: watch Narcos), you can change the way subtitles appear on the screen. It may sound trivial, but if you’re reading quite a bit during a program, you may have strong feelings as to whether or not the translated text appears in white or yellow. To get things just to your liking, head on over to Netflix’s Subtitle Appearance section.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.