Streaming 101

How to watch Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney Plus, and more offline without internet

Say goodbye to that spotty cell signal and hello to streaming on the subway.

Netflix

It seems like practically every day, there’s a new streaming service to check out. But as advanced as our world may be in 2021, requiring cell service or a Wi-Fi connection can make it difficult to watch your favorite shows or movies on the go, whether that’s a short ride underground on the subway or a six-hour flight across the country.

Luckily, almost all the big players in streaming—Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon, etc —have thought about this, making it possible for you to download and view their offerings offline.

Here’s how you can watch titles offline on some of your favorite streaming services:

How to watch Netflix offline

Queen’s GambitNetflix

Netflix has made select shows and movies available offline since all the way back in 2016. Not everything on the streaming service is available to download on your phone, but considering Netflix’s massive library, you still have plenty of options.

The feature is available through the Netflix app on:

  • Apple devices with iOS 9 or later
  • Android devices running the 4.4.2 update or later
  • Computers and tablets running Windows 10.

Sorry, Mac users — you’re out of luck.

It’s simple enough to use, but here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Within your Netflix app, navigate to the Downloads menu (with the down arrow icon).
  • Select See What You Can Download, Find Something to Download, Find More to Download, or Available for Download, depending on your device.
  • From there, search for the TV show or movie you’d like and click the Download icon (again, the down arrow).

Any downloaded programs will be available via that Downloads menu. Netflix only allows for up to 100 downloads at a time. In 2019, Netflix also enabled “Smart Downloads.” If you have this feature turned on, once you finish a downloaded show, Netflix will automatically delete the episode and download the next one.

How to watch Amazon Prime offline

The BoysAmazon

Amazon was actually way ahead of Netflix — the site has offered offline streaming since 2015. Like Netflix, this feature started with only select content but has expanded to include original titles like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Boys.

Owners of Amazon’s Fire devices, who could watch offline titles long before 2015, simply need to click “Videos” on the home screen of their phone or tablet to download shows and movies. For those who don’t, the process is a little different:

  • Download the Amazon Video app, available on iOS and Androids phones and tablets
  • Click the down arrow icon next to movies and TV episodes (or entire seasons) available for download
  • To view your downloaded content, click the Downloads tab where all your downloaded content is stored.

How to Watch Disney+ Offline

The MandalorianDisney

Though a latecomer to the streaming wars, Disney+ rose quickly as a major player thanks to original stories set in the Star Wars and Marvel universes. Not only does it have the entire back catalog of Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and more, it also features critically acclaimed new works like The Mandalorian and the Emmy-nominated filming of Hamilton.

Disney+ has always had offline viewing available. Unfortunately, it is only limited to the app, meaning those not watching on mobile are not able to use the feature. Like the above, it’s extremely intuitive to use:

  • Navigate to the movie or TV episode or season you want to download
  • Click the down arrow icon (next to the play button)
  • All downloads are viewable in the Downloads menu, indicated by a down arrow icon on the ribbon at the bottom of the app.

How to Watch HBO Max Offline

The Suicide SquadWarner Bros.

WarnerMedia’s streaming service caused some confusion when it launched in 2020, specifically with the name — is it an extension of HBO, or something else entirely? But despite the confusing moniker, HBO Max has made a name for itself in the past year, particularly in the movie world. The service has debuted its film on HBO Max as well as in theaters, including big-budget superhero titles like Wonderwoman 1984 and The Suicide Squad.

Like Disney+, HBO Max has offline viewing capabilities, but only through the app on mobile and tablets. Additionally, WarnerMedia has made downloading only available to those who have the Ad-Free Plan of $14.99 a month. If you’re all set up with that, simply click the down arrow icon next to what you want to download.

To view your downloads:

  • Tap the Profile icon (bottom edge on phones, left edge on tablets).
  • Tap Downloads.

However, HBO Max has the most strict guidelines on downloads of the streaming services so far. You are limited to only 30 downloads at one time, with a maximum of five copies across all profiles/devices. Additionally, your downloads are only available for 30 days after you download them, or 48 hours once you start watching. If the time lapses before you check in on your download, you’ll have to either renew it or delete it entirely.

How to Watch Peacock Offline

Girls5evaNBCUniversal

NBCUniversal got some skin in the game with Peacock, which rolled out in 2020. It features much of the NBC back catalog, advertising itself as the only one in town that can still stream episodes of The Office in the United States (sorry, Netflix). Peacock is also one of the only streaming services that’s gotten into sports with exclusive events for the Olympics and WWE.

Peacock is surprisingly limited with its download options. The feature is only available to Premium Plus subscribers ($4.99 a month) on smartphones and tablets. If you check all those boxes, you should be able to see a download icon next to any applicable movies or TV shows.

To access downloaded content:

  • On the app, select the Download icon on the Trending screen next to Channels.
  • You’ll be able to play or delete your downloaded shows and movies.

How to Watch Hulu Offline

Handmaid’s TaleHulu

Hulu is one of the earliest streaming services still around, having launched in 2007. Now a subsidy of Disney, it has provided loads of premium originals, including The Handmaid’s Tale. Hulu also changed the game in 2017 with a Live TV add-on, one of the first big shots across the bow at cable providers.

While Hulu also has an offline watching feature, it’s limited to those who are subscribed to a “No Ads” plan ($11.99 a month, or $70.99 a month with Live TV). In the app on mobile or tablet, you can search for downloadable content in two ways:

  • Click the Search button and select Downloadable to browse.
  • Click the Download icon on the bottom of the app and click See What’s Downloadable.
  • As with the other services, click the down-facing arrow to download the content.

Hulu accounts are limited to 25 downloads on five supported mobile devices at one time. Additionally, like HBO Max, downloads will expire after 30 days for unwatched content, and 48 hours for watched content.

Despite the number of add-ons Hulu has set up (including HBO, Showtime, and STARZ), you won’t have the ability to download anything from those libraries. Instead, the download feature is limited only to those directly in the Hulu library.

How to Watch Paramount+ Offline

PicardParamount+

Part of the giant CBS/Viacom merger in 2019 was to rebrand CBS All Access into something new. In March 2021, Paramount+ debuted featuring original programmings like The Good Fight and Star Trek: Picard along with a massive back catalog from Viacom properties like MTV, VH1, and Nickelodeon.

Much like the services above, offline viewing is only available to subscribers at the commercial-free Premium level ($9.99 a month or one payment of $99.99). According to the Paramount+ website, “the majority of shows and select movies are available for download.”

To download:

  • If it’s available for download, simply click the down arrow icon.
  • Downloads are visible in the app menu under More, then Downloads.

Downloads will expire after 30 days for unwatched shows and movies, and 48 hours once you watch something. Offline viewing is only available for Paramount+ users who are running iOS 11+ or Android 5+.

How to Watch Apple TV+ Offline

Ted LassoApple

As one of the biggest companies in the world, it’s only natural that Apple got in on streaming. The oddly named Apple TV+ rolled out in 2019, and while it didn’t immediately make a splash despite some major names and high production value, the platform found its first big hit with Ted Lasso (Mythic Quest is pretty good too).

Offline viewing is only available in the Apple TV+ app which, given the parent company, is only available on iOS devices. Within the app:

  • Go to the channel’s page or search for a show or movie you’d like to download.
  • Tap the Download icon (cloud with a down arrow) to download it.
  • To find and play your downloads, go to the Library tab and tap Downloaded.

How to Watch YouTube Premium Offline

WayneYouTube

As a free video hosting site that has been the source of viral videos for decades, YouTube has pretty much defined a generation. In 2014, the company rolled out YouTube Premium, which provides the benefit of no ads on its videos. The service has also dipped its toes into original content, though nothing has stuck. (The service’s biggest hit, Cobra Kai, only took off after making the move to Netflix.)

Those subscribed to YouTube Premium are able to download videos to watch offline, but only on the app, not on a computer. Here’s how it works:

  • To download a video, click the Download icon (grey circle with the down arrow) below the video player.
  • Select the video quality.
  • Once downloaded, the video will show with a blue checkmark below it.
  • Downloaded videos can be accessed via the Library and Account tabs.

How to Watch Discovery+ Offline

AloneHistory Channel

As the name indicates, Discovery+ is a streaming platform that houses original and previous content from the Discovery channel and its sibling networks. That includes a wealth of programs from HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Asian Food Network, Animal Planet, and the Travel Channel.

Unfortunately, if you want to download episodes of Fixer Upper or 90 Day Fiance to watch on the go, you’re out of luck. Discovery+ is one of the rare streaming services to not offer an offline download option. You’ll have to rely on a strong enough signal if you want to finish that episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives before you reach your subway stop.

How to Watch ESPN+ Offline

UFCESPN

For decades, ESPN has been the go-to for all things sports. But in 2018, it expanded into streaming with ESPN+. The service focuses specifically on overflow content from the ESPN3 network, with probably its most featured content focused around combat sports like UFC and Top Rank boxing.

Offline viewing of ESPN+ programming is viewable via the ESPN app on mobile or tablet:

  • Log into your ESPN+ account via the Settings icon on the right side.
  • Once you’re logged in click the ESPN+ icon at the bottom of the screen.
  • Either search for content to download, or click the download button at the top left corner of the app to view everything that’s downloadable.

It should be noted, though, that live sports games are not downloadable in ESPN+. So if you want to check out programs like 30 for 30, you’re in luck. If you want to check out the Stanley Cup? Not so much.

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