Offline Netflix is here, and it could change how we use our phones — if we can figure out which movies and shows work with the new feature. If that’s your problem, the Unofficial Netflix Online Global Search (UNoGS) tool’s latest update is a Christmas miracle.
Finding videos that can be downloaded from Netflix’s vast catalog previously required people to dig through the service’s mobile apps. With this holiday update, however, UNoGS has made that information available in the browser to make it easier for people to find stuff that is actually worth saving.
UNoGS is a turbo-charged version of Netflix’s own search tool. It allows people to find videos based on when they were released, how well they were received, or to what oddly specific genre they belong, among other things. UNoGS also searches Netflix’s catalog in other countries to see if a movie that can’t be streamed in the United States can be watched in, say, Micronesia.
These basic parameters let people get quite specific in their searches. Need to deal with the post-election blues by finding old political thrillers? Done. Looking for something to keep everyone happy at a family gathering? Ta-da. UNoGS makes both tasks easier than ever.
Finding which of those videos can be saved to a phone is also painless. Just select the proper option — ranging from “I don’t care” to “Yes” — in the “Downloadable?” section. Not everything will appear right away, because UNoGS told Inverse on December 25 that the service was still pulling information from Netflix, but the feature currently surfaces 10,139 titles available to download so it should be good enough to satisfy most people.
UNoGS also makes it clear which videos can be downloaded in its normal search results. Movies and television shows that can be saved for offline viewing now have in their top-right corners a small cloud-and-arrow icon:
Perhaps the only problem with this update is that any movie it surfaces has to be found again in Netflix’s apps. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem, because Netflix’s built-in search tools are good at scanning titles, but it’s not as convenient as clicking UNoGS’s “Watch now” button to stream videos in the browser. And it’s not an issue with UNoGS — Netflix simply decided to restrict downloadable videos to its mobile apps instead of supporting any device.
At least now it’s easier to surface interesting videos that can be downloaded. Searching through UNoGS is also more comfortable than typing, swiping, and poking around on a smartphone. Here’s to hoping Netflix learns a thing or two from its unofficial savior and makes it easier to find the diamonds in its sometimes rough catalog.