How to fix these 6 Netflix download problems

Before I went on vacation last month, I downloaded a couple of Netflix shows to watch on the flight. On my return trip, I opened Netflix to watch Monsters, Inc. only to notice a big yellow warning that said Expired. He left me flabbergasted. I rarely face any issues while streaming Netflix, but the Expired message took me by surprise.

Streaming is great, but things change when it comes to Netflix offline downloads. If you frequently download shows from Netflix, the chances of having a similar problem are high. So we decided to talk about the most common problems and their solutions. Let's start.


Before we troubleshoot, let's take a look at Netflix's download limits. While the streaming service offers a lot of original content, its massive library also has titles (like Pearl Harbor, Elementary) licensed from the original creators. Then, depending on the title and the length of the license rights, Netflix sets a specific download limit for each movie or show.

So to answer your question, yes, Netflix sets a download limit. The streaming service allows you to download up to 100 titles per device. Netflix will generate a "There is a problem ..." error if you exceed this limit. Hitting a number like this on a single device is a rare occurrence.

Netflix allows you to download up to 100 titles per device

But if you use Netflix on multiple devices, these numbers may vary. Fortunately, in such cases, it will notify you, so that you can remove the old titles. The best option is to delete the downloads altogether, instead of removing them one by one.

All you need to do is go to More> App Settings in the Netflix mobile app and tap on the Delete all downloads option.

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However, there are no hard rules or guidelines. Depending on the title, the download limit and availability time may change.

So, is there a download limit per title? Yes there is. Sadly, Netflix doesn't reveal the limit set on each title. This means that you have to resort to the tried and tested method of downloading the title and checking it.

Now that we've established the cause, let's look at some of the more common download problems.

1. How to remove too many devices on Netflix

The “Too Many Devices” error occurs when you have downloaded titles on multiple devices or profiles. This is because Netflix allows video downloads on one device per account.

To remove this error, you need to delete old files from your other devices. To do this, tap the Exclamation icon next to the title and select Delete Download.

Also, the app may need to be restarted.

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2. Downloaded titles showing Expired Tags

Downloaded shows don't stay on your phone forever. Some titles are only available for offline viewing for a few weeks. Of course, when a show runs out of time, the Expired tag will appear next to the content thumbnail.

While many titles allow you to easily renew your download, this doesn't apply to everyone. Some only allow a fixed number of downloads. If in any case you are unable to do so, the only solution is to stream online.

3. Annual download limit error

This error is related to the one above. As mentioned above, some content rights holders allow a fixed number of downloads for their creations. In this case, the manufacturers put a restriction on the number of downloads per year.

Again, there is no viable solution to this error except to wait a few months or to stream online.

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4. Netflix downloads not displayed / disappeared

If your downloaded TV shows start disappearing, it is likely that the Smart Download feature is enabled. This feature deletes the episode you watched only to replace it with the next one.

I was puzzled the first time this happened to me. Thankfully, I got it and will explain it in detail at the end of this post.

5. Netflix downloads that are not available

This error mainly occurs with old downloaded files. If you haven't watched any of the downloaded content, you'll see the Unavailable error.

Worst of all, the thumbnail doesn't even show an exclamation point or any warning. Only when you click on the thumbnail to look at it will you see the error appear.

Thankfully, you can fix it easily. Just tap the Download Again button. The normal rule applies: Restart the app if the download doesn't resume.

6. Titles not in download

Sometimes downloads fail, even when you tap the Download button multiple times. Or in some cases, downloads simply don't even resume when you tap the Update Downloads button.

In such a scenario, a wise thing to do is to restart the app and start the process from scratch.

At the end of the day, keep in mind that not all titles on Netflix are waiting for downloads. The downloaded files are also huge and will most likely take up the space and consume your phone data. So, if you are someone like me who often forgets to watch downloaded shows, the Smart Downloads feature is meant for you.

What are Smart Downloads and How to Use Them - Smart Downloads

Netflix Smart Downloads are all about automatic downloads. Created for extended series such as The Crown or The Stranger Things, this feature, when activated, will automatically download the next episode in the series. Not only that, the app is smart enough to delete the old episode from your phone.

You can enable Smart Downloads for Netflix from the settings section (More> App Settings). Once done, you will see the option at the top of the downloads page.

People using Netflix with a limited cellular data plan need not worry as this feature is only activated when their phone or tablet is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

What's more, Smart Download also allows you to easily delete shows. From the Downloads page, tap any title to activate the selection, then select the titles you want to remove followed by tapping the trash can icon. Also, you can easily disable the feature by tapping the I icon.

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