While streaming Netflix content is often the preferred method, enjoying media offline is surprisingly common. Unfortunately, Netflix is actively trying to make this harder, which is evident from the limitations we’ll mention shortly. For example, you have to download a Netflix title to every device you want to watch it on. The app doesn’t allow changing output locations nor transferring files to other devices manually. You’re limited in the number of redownloads, and the downloads expire after a while. And that’s just the beginning, since learning how to recover Netflix downloads involves jumping through a lot of hoops.
Can I recover Netflix downloads after my subscription ends?
By official means, no. Even if you have them downloaded fully, the Netflix app encrypts these files. They’re converted during download and use a unique extension, NFV, and the Netflix app is the only tool that can decode and play them. The files are also DRM protected and require an active Netflix subscription even though you don’t need an Internet connection.
1. Recover Netflix downloads that are gone from the app
Here are 4 common reasons Netflix titles are missing from the Downloaded section on Android:
1. Download storage is disabled
To enable download storage on Android, do this:
- Tap on Settings.
- Go to Apps/Apps manager/Apps & notification.
- Find the Netflix app.
- Tip. If you haven’t used it recently, click on View all X apps to expand the list. X represents the total number of installed apps.
- Tap on Permissions/App permissions.
- Toggle the Storage option to on.
- Check the Downloads folder again.
2. Maturity-rating limit is too low or too high
Netflix app will automatically hide downloaded titles if they’re outside of the age-restrictions. To check and change the maturity-rating limit, do this:
- Open the Netflix app. Tap on More (three-line/hamburger menu) or your Profile icon.
- Scroll down and select Account.
- A web page with your Netflix account logged in will open. If can’t sign in, check our Netflix account recovery guide.
- Find the Profile & Parental Controls section and view the limit.
- To increase or reduce the limit, tap on the Viewing Restrictions setting.
- Enter your Netflix password again.
- Set the maturity rating level and tap on Save.
- You have to sign out then sign back into Netflix for it to be applied.
3. A storage cleaning app is responsible
Because Netflix downloads are encrypted, storage cleaning apps might recognize them as cache or files that wasting precious storage space. For that reason, you might have agreed to delete them, or your cleaning app automatically did. To get them back, turn the cleaning app off, then follow method s4 or 5 below or re-download your Netflix title through the app.
4. Your SD card is malfunctioning or incompatible
This is a common problem with users who go for cheap microSD cards with a lot of storage, but terrible transfer speed. Because the SD card can’t handle the bandwidth of downloading Netflix titles, some files might end up corrupted. Besides downloading titles from Netflix or utilizing method 5, you have 2 options:
1. Reinsert your microSD card
Simply turn the phone off, remove the SD card for a second, put it back in, and turn the phone on.
2. Try a different microSD card
Use the location outlined in step 3, substep 3, to find the Netflix download. Then, copy it over to a new SD card. You might have to use a microSD card reader on your PC or Mac or copy the file to Android internal storage while you switch SD cards. Don’t forget to re-create the folders leading up to it.
What about devices using iOS, iPadOS, or Windows 10?
The issue isn’t as common or as researched for Apple devices. For now, it is known that Apple devices share 2 common reasons with Android – 2nd and 3rd. On Windows 10, you’ll mostly face reason 2. Reason 3 is only possible if you actively use storage cleaning apps for Windows 10.
2. Steps to recover Netflix downloads marked as Expired
Because Netflix signed contracts with studios, some Netflix titles are available for as little as 48 hours after you first hit play. Others can be available for 30 days, and will only give you a 7-day notice before they expire. In both cases, Netflix might set a redownload limit, after which you can no longer download a file, but you can continue to stream it. Here’s what to do to get Netflix downloads back after expiration:
To renew a Netflix title on Android, do this:
- Tap on Downloads in the menu at the bottom.
- Alternatively, tap on the hamburger menu or your profile, then My Downloads.
- Tap on Edit (pencil icon).
- Mark the title you want to renew, then tap on Delete.
- Now, you have 4 solutions:
- Redownload the file from Netflix.
- Try to transfer that tile from another device you own (method 3).
- Use someone else’s subscription to Netflix to download, then transfer the NFV file to your device (method 3).
- Download the file via third-party software (method 5).
Here’s how renewing a title on Netflix works on iOS:
- Follow steps 1-3 above.
- Find the Netflix download you want to renew.
- Then tap on the X icon next to its name to remove it.
- Once again, you have 4 options to proceed.
3. Windows 10
Follow these instructions to renew a Netflix title on Windows 10:
- Launch the Netflix app for Windows 10.
- Tap on the three-line menu.
- Go to My Downloads.
- Find the Netflix title and tap on the Alert (exclamation mark icon) next to it.
- Tap on Renew Download.
- If that doesn’t work, copy the NFV file that corresponds to the title or download a media file directly (method 5).
3. Where are Netflix downloads stored?
Before we get into the location Netflix downloads are stored in, know that you should never rename them, because all Netflix titles are saved in form of a unique ID. So, even though renaming them is convenient, doing so makes them unplayable until you restore the original name. For example, the file for the Love Actually movie on Netflix was named “60031262” on our storage. Unfortunately, if you downloaded a lot of files, you’re in for a lot of trial and error. Now, follow these file paths to find Netflix downloads:
1. Windows 10
The folder in question is hidden by the operating system. To make it appear, follow either of the first 2 methods in our “recover hidden files from pendrive” article. With that done, you’ll find Netflix downloads on Windows 10 here:
- Open This PC/My Computer/Windows Explorer.
- In the address bar at the top, paste this file path:
- Replace <USERNAME> with the username of your Windows 10 user account.
Due to the Apple restrictions, it’s impossible to find a Netflix downloads folder normally. However, some users who decided to jailbreak their iPhone and used a Filza app manager managed to find them under/var/containers/Bundle/Application/Netflix/Argo.app. For some users, the name of the Netflix folder was replaced by a string of numbers, typically 5 digits-6 digits, such as 12345-654321, or didn’t exist at all. It’s not worth the hassle in any case, and you should use method 5 instead.
Here’s where Netflix stores download titles on Android:
- Open a File Manager app of your choice.
- Depending on where you chose to store the files in the Netflix app, go to Internal storage (often listed as storage/emulated/0/) or SD card.
- Visit this location:
- If you don’t see the .of folder, it’s hidden on your Android device. Find an option to show folders in your File Manager app for Android.
4. Recover Netflix downloads through data recovery software
Keep in mind that even if you manage to find the required files in full, Netflix might still refuse to play them if they expired. With that said, since Netflix works on both Windows and Android/iOS/iPad, you have 2 options:
To perform this, you’ll need data recovery software for Windows. We demonstrated how it works with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard in our Windows photo recovery guide. Check the last headline, and instead of looking through photos in step 6, look for videos.
For more details, check our Android deleted video recovery and recovering deleted videos for iPhone articles. You can also connect your mobile device to your PC, and follow method 4 in our WhatsApp video recovery guide. The only difference is that you shouldn’t select WhatsApp/WhatsApp Attachments in step 6, but Videos. You can also run a deep scan if you have the time.
5. Recover Netflix downloads via third-party download software
We know that the limitations above sound unfair, and trust us, you’re not the only one that thinks that. It’s even worse when you’re paying for it. Lucky for you, we also have a solution that comes at a slight privacy risk. Also, we can’t say whether this is illegal. Yes, you’ll be using the official Netflix download. But you’ll also get to keep your files in a nice media format even after Netflix forbids access. But if you’re tired of the Netflix restrictions, download software such as Sidify’s Netflix Video Downloader (Windows/Mac), or FlixiCam (Mac/Windows). Here’s how easy downloading Netflix titles with FlixiCam is:
- Run FlixiCam.
- In the Settings (gears icon in the top right corner) configure Video Quality, Audio Type, Audio Language, Subtitle Language, output folder, etc.
- Under Account settings, sign in with your Netflix account with an active subscription.
- In the Download tab, search for the title.
- Tip. If you have a direct link to Netflix Web Player, you can also paste that.
- When it lists search results, either click on the Download icon.
- You can change default settings as well as configure resolution, bitrate, and see estimated download size based on your configuration.
- Click on Download and wait for it to finish.
- The Netflix titles are in an MP4/MKV format and can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime, with any media player of your choice.