Netflix could be about to push a change to its Android app that would allow you to watch partially downloaded content. At the moment, you have to completely download a whole episode or movie in order to begin offline playback.
The feature, available for mobile devices since 2016, is popular for air travel as it means you can temporarily save stuff to watch when you’re in the air without a data or Wi-Fi connection.
A new APK teardown by
XDA Developers of Netflix v7.58.0 shows code snippets with the label “partial download” and phrases like “You need to download a bit more to start watching” and “You’ve reached the end of what’s been downloaded so far. Please connect to the internet to continue watching”.
This could help if you want to watch twenty minutes of an hour’s show on the bus but don’t have any data left and only have two minutes before you have to leave. The whole episode might not download in time, but if the first twenty minutes has then you’ll be covered.
Other user benefits could be to save data or to download something partially to avoid buffering if your connection is dropping in and out. But that’s getting into the weeds a bit here – partial downloading will be great if it means getting round the frustration of sitting down on a plane or train to watch something and seeing there’s 1MB left to download and not being able to.