Netflix's password crackdown is really happening – what you need to know

Netflix on a TV screen with a remote control pointing at it
Netflix's password sharing crackdown is coming into effect very soon. (Image credit: Freestocks/Unsplash)

Still sharing your Netflix password with people who don't live with you? You won't be for much longer.

In its Q1 2023 shareholder letter, the world's best streaming service confirmed it'll commence a "broad roll out" of its Netflix password sharing crackdown plan in Q2 2023. In short: any 'Netflix freeloaders' – individuals who use a friend or family member's Netflix account for free and, most importantly, live in another household – won't be able to access that account after June 30.

The announcement comes a few months after Netflix trialled its password sharing crackdown plan in Canada, New Zealand, Spain, and Portugal in Q1 2023. In its most recent shareholder letter, Netflix confirmed that, as with its crackdown trial in Latin America in 2022, users in these four nations initially cancelled their subscription once Netflix's password sharing clampdown scheme was introduced.

However, Netflix claims it saw an uptick in new paying subscribers, as well as a surge in its "extra members" subscription package (which we explain in our 'how Netflix will stop you sharing passwords' article), once the initial furore died down. In Netflix's eyes, these trials have been a huge success, and have given it the confidence to launch the scheme globally.

Peter Sutherland looks concerned in The Night Agent on Netflix

You'll need to get your own Netflix account to watch smash hits like The Night Agent very soon (Image credit: Dan Power/Netflix)

This isn't the first time we've reported on Netflix's attempts to crackdown on password sharing between households. In April 2022, we revealed Netflix's plan to monetize account sharing, with the streaming giant looking to increase its revenue streams after a tough Q1 2022 period put it on the back foot financially.

Since then, Netflix has routinely updated its shareholders and customers about when the plan would take effect. Originally, Netflix was set to outline its timeline for password sharing before the end of 2022. However, it pushed that deadline back to the end of Q1 2023 in January. Now, Netflix has delayed implementing its strategy again, with the company eyeing the end of the current quarter to roll out its crackdown strategy.

With Netflix delaying the inevitable twice, there's no guarantee that it'll officially stop password sharing before the end of June. However, the company's broad Q2 2023 launch window means it could officially introduce this new measure before June 30, too. Essentially, expect to start paying more – or, for those without an account, to have to sign up for one – to watch the best Netflix shows and best Netflix movies around.

New Netflix features to soften the blow

Netflix auto-play feature happening on OLED TV showing Still Game

Netflix is introducing new perks to its ads-based tier to convince you to sign up. (Image credit: Future)

As Netflix explained, the roll out of its password sharing crackdown scheme initially doesn't sit well with current users, especially those who have freely used another person's account. Netflix, though, is hoping that the introduction of new features for its cheapest subscription – the ads-supported tier, which Netflix promised to grow after its slow uptake – will persuade new users to sign up for their own account.

In its Q1 2023 shareholder letter, Netflix revealed it'll be upgrading the features set of its ads-based tier in the coming weeks. So, what will subscribers on this plan get now? Basically, a hike in video quality – from 720p to 1080p – and the ability to stream concurrently on two separate devices instead of one. These features were made available to ads-based tier subscribers in Canada and Spain as of yesterday (April 18), while the feature set will be rolled out in the 10 other ads-supported tier markets very soon.

So Netflix is clearly trying to entice new users to sign up to its cheapest subscription tier with these new, seemingly flashy features. Based on the increase in sign ups it's seen in Canada and company recently, plus the fact Netflix doesn't want you to sign up to its ads-free basic tier, it's a strategy that could work in other territories, such as the US and UK, once its password sharing clampdown plan is introduced worldwide.

The Hawkins gang make a plan to stop Vecna in Stranger Things season 4 volume 2

Right, so these are all of the Netflix subscription tier details you need to know about... (Image credit: Netflix)

Of course, there's no guarantee that'll happen, especially with a number of other streamers – Hulu, Disney Plus, and Paramount Plus – arguably offering more value for money (depending on the tier you sign up to). Even Warner Bros. Discovery's newly-announced super streamer Max – read more about it in our 7 things HBO Max fans need to know about Max article – could be more financially viable for streaming aficionados in markets where Max will be available (it launches on May 23, FYI) than Netflix.

Netflix, then, is clearly hoping its newfound strategies will give it several advantages in the never-ending race to be crowned king of the streamers. Only time will tell if it's truly successful in that endeavor.

For more Netflix coverage, read our comprehensive Netflix password sharing guide. Alternatively, find out when Netflix will finally stop shipping DVDs, or learn how to sign up to Netflix if you're considering purchasing a subscription.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.