Netflix’s new smart downloads will keep pace with your binging habits

Netflix has unveiled a new feature today that will help you better manage your downloaded TV series. 

The feature, which will be exclusive to Android devices at launch, is appropriately called ‘smart downloads’ and its purpose is to delete any episode you’ve already watched, plus automatically download the next episode in the series the next time you’re connected to Wi-Fi - i.e. if you download the first episode of Stranger Things and watch it, smart downloads will delete that first episode and download the second automatically next time you're connected to Wi-Fi.  

Smart downloads will only queue up shows you’ve already downloaded in the past - it won’t randomly download a suggested show, thankfully - and the automatic deletion of old episodes will free up space on your device.

Interestingly, during a video released to explain the feature, Netflix says that newly downloaded episodes will only take up as much space as an episode it’s just deleted, which should help allay any fears you have of Netflix chewing through your phone or tablet’s storage space.

“We know how annoying it can be to go through all your apps and delete files you no longer need; we also understand that when it comes to Netflix, the faster you can get to the next episode you want to watch, the better,” writes Cameron Johnson, Director of Product Innovation at Netflix on Netflix’s press blog. “Whether it is smart downloading or viewing a mobile preview, we realize the best part of Netflix is connecting with the stories you will love in an easier and more fun way.”

The full video explaining smart downloads is posted below, and you could use the service for yourself starting on July 10 on Android devices. 

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.