It's easy to download Netflix shows and movies to your iPad or iPhone for later viewing offline, but what if you want to do so on a Mac? There is a way, but unfortunately, it's far less straightforward.
Before we go into more detail, it's worth mentioning that the methods described in this article violates Netflix's terms and conditions, and could lead to termination of your subscription. Proceed at your own risk!
Downloading Netflix shows to your Mac requires screen recording: you'll have to let the screen recorder run while your Mac is on and playing whatever you wish to record. This might seem troublesome for some, and the results aren't perfect, but it's the most efficient way we've found to download Netflix shows and movies on Mac.
There's also Apowersoft Mac Screen Recorder, which can be downloaded as a free trial, although you don't get the full feature set. For example, you'll only be able to record three minutes at a time, which is obviously not long enough to record a TV show or movie. For that you'll need the paid version, which costs around £37.
If you would like a completely free alternative, we suggest installing Monosnap or using the screen recording feature in QuickTime, which ships on your Mac (as demonstrated in our video above).
However, you don't need to use a third party recorder at all, if you are using macOS Mojave you can simply press Command + Shift + 5 to trigger a screen recording, although with a downgrade in audio quality. We cover how to do screen recording on a Mac here.
How to download Netflix on a Mac
If you are running MacOS Mojave, the following method should work for you.
- Open a web browser - you’ll need to use Firefox or another alternative to Safari as when you try and record in Safari you will see a warning that reads “Oops, something went wrong… Display Error. Please ensure your monitor is HDCP compliant and is not mirrored using AirPlay.”
- Go to netflix.com and sign in to your account.
- Pick the show you wish to record.
- Start playing it - you can choose full screen. Once you are happy with the sound level, position and so on, pause and rewind to the beginning.
- Now press Command + Shift + 5, this brings up the new screenshot function that includes the ability to screen record.
- Choose Record Selected Portion and position the bars around the area you want to record.
- Unfortunately, this method doesn't capture built-in audio, so you'll have to record it via your microphone. Click on Options and selected Built-In Microphone - or you won't have any audio.
- Now click on Record.
- You will have to leave the program playing, with the volume on. So leave it recording and go and do something else for the duration of the show.
- Once your show has finished return and either click on the stop icon in the menu at the top of your screen, or press Command + Shift + 5 again to bring up the menu and click on the stop button.
- Your recording will save onto your Desktop - if you have Stacks selected you will find it in the Films category.
- Note, it may turn out to be a huge file!
If you record a lot of content this way expect it to take up a lot of space - and beware, as we said above, this is against the terms and conditions of Netflix, so don't share it!
How to record Netflix using QuickTime on a Mac
If you haven't installed Mojave you can still record on your Mac without a third party app. You just need to use QuickTime, the recording software that comes with a Mac.
Here's how to record Netflix on a Mac with QuickTime
- Open the QuickTime app.
- Open a web browser - you’ll need to use Firefox or another alternative to Safari as when you try and record in Safari you will see a warning that “Oops, something went wrong… Display Error. Please ensure your monitor is HDCP compliant and is not mirrored using AirPlay.”
- Go to netflix.com and sign in to your account.
- Pick the show you wish to record.
- Right-click on QuickTime icon in the Dock.
- Choose New Screen Recording.
- Click on the down arrow beside the record button and choose Internal Microphone.
- Click on the record button.
- Click to record the full screen, or drag around the area you want to record.
- Start playing the episode, with volume on.
- Wait for the episode to finish playing and right click on QuickTime in the dock again.
- Choose Stop Screen Recording.
- Now you just need to decide what to call your recording and where to save it.
As we said above, if you record a lot of content this way expect it to take up a lot of space - and beware, as we said above, this is against the terms and conditions of Netflix, so don't share it!
How to record Netflix with Apowersoft Mac Screen Recorder
An alternative to QuickTime that we have tested in the past is Apowersoft Mac Screen Recorder. You can download it from the Mac App Store here, and doesn't suffer from the same audio issue as Apple's built-in options.
Here's how to record Netflix using the Apowersoft software:
- Downloaded and installed the Apowersoft Mac Screen Recorder software.
- Open the program.
- Click on the 'Audio Input' icon to reveal a dropdown menu which will allow you to change the input. For the purpose of recording Netflix, you'll need to select 'System sound'. Once you've done this, you'll notice that the program changes the default audio output to the software, rather than your speakers.
- Go to the Options tab and select the settings you wish to include. We suggest removing the 'Show recording boundary', 'Show recording toolbar' and 'Record mouse cursor' options to get a cleaner output video.
- In this menu, you'll also be able to set a custom hotkey and check your recording options.
- As with the QuickTime Player method described above, you can't record Netflix in Safari, so you'll need to make sure you're running a different browser. Take a look at our pick of the best Safari alternatives.
- You should also unplug any external monitor that's connected to your Mac, as yet again it might prevent you from being able to record.
- Finally, you should define the Output location of the finished recording by clicking the small little dots near Open Folder. The default location will be saved under [your username] > Movies > Mac Screen Recorder.
- Now log into your Netflix account and choose the show or film you wish to record.
- Hit the Record icon on the Apowersoft software and select 'Full screen' or 'Region', depending on what suits you best. In our case, fullscreen produced a better resolution output.
- Once you hit record you should be able to see a three-second countdown (unless you disabled this option through the software's settings), and you can then hit fullscreen on your browser.
- Once you've finished recording, minimise your Netflix tab and find the Apowersoft logo at the top-righthand corner of your Mac, in order to 'Stop recording'.
- When you stop recording, you should be presented with a .MOV file which will automatically open in a separate window. Do bear in mind that if the show or film is long, it could take some time before popping up.
- After you've finished recording, you'll be able to see the file in your Apowersoft main tab, where it will show you by default the file's name, size, duration and creation date. From here you can directly edit the name, see its properties and even delete it from your Mac.
The .MOV file can now be watched offline on your Mac, meaning you can finally watch your Netflix show without the need to be connected to the internet.
How to record Netflix on a Mac using Windows
While Mac users are out in the cold - Netflix has made it possible for Windows users to download Netflix content on their PCs.
If you are running Windows 10 you can install the free Netflix app from the Windows Store here and download much of the Netflix content, just as you can on the iPad and iPhone.
If you watch Netflix through this app you will see a Download icon where it is possible to download content.
To make use of this feature on your Mac all you need to do is install a copy of Windows in Boot Camp, or use Parallels or WMware to run it.
We explain how to run Windows on a Mac here.
How to transfer your Netflix recording to iOS
If you then want to transfer the .MOV file to your iPhone or iPad, we would suggest converting it into MP4 before transferring it over. (Although it might just be easier to download the Netflix content onto your iPhone or iPad to start with).
Apowersoft provide an in-built .MOV to MP4 converter, which works very efficiently and is perfect for iOS devices.
In order to use it, simply hit the 'Convert' icon on the recorder and you'll be presented with another window. Through this other window, locate your file by navigating to your saved location and click on it to import it.
You'll then be able to convert it to MP4; remember to choose your output file location. The process might take some time if your file is large and quite long, but once it's completed you'll get a popup informing you that the process is complete. You can now enjoy the content on your iOS devices!