The US version of Netflix has hundreds of movies and TV shows that are often unavailable in other territories. However, there is a way to watch US Netflix in the UK.
If you try to log into US Netflix in the UK or elsewhere, you'll find that many shows will say something like "This title isn't available in your location" when you try to watch them. There is a way around it, but only if you're willing to break Netflix's terms and conditions (we'll explain more on this below).
Here, we show you how to change the country on your Netflix account, to help you access American Netflix from outside the US on your Mac, iPad or iPhone. This method is accomplished by using a VPN, which can also give you access to any Netflix library from any country or region in the world.
If you're on a PC or Android phone, visit our sister site Tech Advisor's guide to accessing US Netflix on a PC.
What is a VPN?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is software that works like a second internet sitting between you and the larger internet. Your computer connects to the VPN, which then in turn connects to the internet. You ask it for the website, it sends the website to you. It's designed to protect your privacy online, as it's an excellent tool for preventing people or programs being able to track your behaviour or location online.
The latter part is important, because one of the features of a VPN is its ability to make servers think you're logging in from one country when you're actually in another. This is how it can fool Netflix into serving you up content from the American version of the service even when you're in the UK or anywhere else in the world.
There are free VPNs available, but to properly preserve your privacy we recommend you use a paid version, such as those found in our guide to the best VPN services.
How to watch US Netflix on Mac
Using a VPN it is very easy to access US Netflix content when outside of America. We'll use NordVPN for this example, as it's an excellent service, but you could easily get the same results with the equally good Surfshark or others in the article linked above.
Here's what to do:
- Open your browser and visit NordVPN's website.
- Click Get NordVPN and choose your plan.
- Create your account and make a payment to complete the sign-up process.
- Install NordVPN on your Mac.
- Open the app and login, then click List.
- Scroll to America and click it to connect.
- Once connected, you should see a green pin on the map and the power icon on the switch at the top of the application should be green too.
- Now browse to Netflix.com and log in using your usual account details to access US Netflix and watch as normal.
How to watch US Netflix on iPad or iPhone
You can also use a similar method to watch American Netflix on your iOS device. You can find out which apps we would recommend in our best VPN for iPhone and best VPN for iPad guides. If you've already signed up to a service on your Mac, then that should cover your mobile devices too. So, all you need to do is download your chosen VPN's app on your phone or tablet and login.
For step-by-step instructions you can read our full guide on how to use a VPN on an iPhone, and the steps in that tutorial also work for iPad.
As a general guide, these are the steps you'll need to take:
- Download the VPN app and set up your account.
- Launch the app and use Quick Connect to enable the VPN.
- Go to the Map and tap on the icon displayed in the middle of the US.
- Pick a server from those offered.
- Launch the Netflix app or navigate to the site on Safari and you should see the US content is now available.
Is it legal to watch US Netflix content in the UK?
All you need to do to watch US Netflix content is trick Netflix into thinking you're currently in the US. This is, as we've demonstrated above, remarkably easy to do. But it's important to note that this goes against the terms and conditions you signed up to when you made a Netflix account.
The Netflix terms and conditions explicitly state: "You may view the Netflix content primarily within the country in which you have established your account and only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such content."
So be warned that this is against the rules and the company does have the right to suspend your service. Plus, Netflix has been blocking many VPN services, which means you might run into more difficulty accessing US Netflix than you used to.
Free VPNs such as Hola used to be the most popular way of watching US Netflix in the UK but it is now strongly recommended to pay for a better VPN service if you want to stay connected to US Netflix.
Whether it's legal or not to use a VPN is more of a grey area, and varies depending on local laws, but it's hard to imagine anyone pursuing a case for copyright infringement. Indeed, many observers would argue that Netflix is technically broadcasting to the US, for which territory it obviously owns the broadcasting rights.
As with anything like this, use your own judgement on whether you want to take this route. If you do then you may also be interested in how to watch HBO Max in the UK.