Top tips for better Netflix streaming on your iPhone or iPad. How to create profiles, download shows, choose the quality and more.

Is netflix the best it can be or do you sometimes have problems when watching TV shows and movies on your iPhone or iPad? Get the best from Netflix with these top tips.

Create user accounts

When you open the Netflix app and you see it is full of kids programmes, or the type of programmes your partner likes, you know it is time to create your own profile. It is a problem that afflicts the iPad more than the iPhone and those with partners and children, not single people.

You want Netflix to show only the movies and shows that you are interested in and not what your child or partner last watched.

On the opening screen, press the plus button or on the home screen press the menu button to open the sidebar and press your avatar in the top left corner.

 Select a user profileon Netflix or create a new one Create a new user profile in Netflix

Select an image to use for the user.

On the next screen, enter the person’s name or nickname and if it is for a child to use, turn on the switch FOR KIDS. Press Save.

You can select the user when the app is opened or by pressing your account picture in the top left corner.

Don’t use data

If Netflix is on your phone, you probably don’t want to watch movies over 3G/4G, which uses large amounts of mobile data. Streaming video uses far too much data and you could use up your monthly allowance just days into your billing cycle.

Open Netflix and press the menu button in the top left corner to open the sidebar. Press App Settings.

Turn on the switch, Wi-Fi only.

Configure data usage

If you do want to watch Netflix over 3G/4G, open the sidebar menu, press App Settings and turn off the Wi-Fi Only switch. Then press Mobile Data Usage.

 Choose whether to watch Netflix over mobile data or Wi-Fi Choose the Netflix quality and cellular data usage

Turn off Set automatically and select the option you want to use - Low, Medium, High or Unlimited. It shows roughly how much data each option uses and it ranges from four hours per GB of data on Low to one hour per GB on High.

Avoid Unlimited unless your mobile data is unlimited.

Smoother streaming

If your internet connection is not fast enough or smooth enough, you could experience playback problems with Netflix streaming. There are a couple of things you can do and one is to reduce the video quality.

Open the sidebar menu and press App Settings. Press Video Quality and select Standard instead of Higher.

Netflix video quality settings

If you are watching on an iPhone, the screen is so small that you will not be able to see the difference in quality, so you might as well watch in Standard quality all the time. If you use an iPad, there still isn’t much difference in quality because of the small screen.

Where the quality makes a difference is when watching Netflix on a big screen TV. The bigger the screen, the worse Standard quality looks. You may be forced to use Standard quality if your internet connection is not faster enough though.

Download Netflix shows for later

Another way to get around streaming problems is to download movies and TV shows and save them to the iPad or iPhone. This does require storage space, but setting Standard quality in the last tip reduces the space usage.

When browsing the shows, look for the download button and press it to download and save the item. To see all your downloads, press My Downloads in the sidebar menu.

A saved show is played from the iPhone or iPad’s storage and playback is therefore perfect, with no internet glitches.

There may be some items that cannot be downloaded, so you won’t see the download button on everything. In fact, there is even a menu option in the sidebar specifically to show content that can be saved.

Netflix shows that can be downloaded

Open the sidebar menu and press Available for Download. Downloaded content can be watched offline, so it’s good for car trips to keep the kids quiet for an hour or two.

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No iPad storage left?

As you download Netflix shows, the device’s storage will fill. You must keep an eye on the space used by Netflix downloads and delete items when they have been watched.

Open the sidebar menu and press App Settings. The used and free storage is shown as a bar. Press the trash can to delete all Netflix downloads and free up storage space.

See notifications

When new movies or shows debut on Netflix, or if there is a new episode to a series you are watching, a notification is displayed in the app. Once a notification has been read, it disappears. Where to?

To see a list of what’s new in Netflix, open the sidebar and press Notifications. A long list of items is displayed with titles, dates and thumbnail images. Now you won’t miss anything that is new.

Build your playlist

When browsing the shows and movies, if there is something you want to watch later, press the plus/My List button. This works with accounts, so if you have separate accounts for each person that uses Netflix, each one will have a separate My List.

Press My List in the sidebar to see all the items that have been saved.

How do you remove an item? Go to My List in the sidebar, press an item to display the info page, press the My List tick to remove it.

Play Netflix on TV with Chromecast

Playing Netflix on a big screen TV is easy when you have an Apple TV. The Apple TV can be configured to play Netflix by itself, or you can start playing on the iPhone or iPad and press the AirPlay button at the top of the screen. Select the Apple TV on the AirPlay menu.

What you may not realise is that you can also play Netflix on an iPhone or iPad and use a Google Chromecast to watch it on a TV. It works just like Apple TV and there is a Chromecast icon at the top of the screen next to AirPlay. Tap it, select the Chromecast and it starts playing on the big screen.

Netflix AirPlay and Chromecast
1 = Apple TV | 2 = Chromecast TV

I have an Apple TV on the big screen in the lounge and a Chromecast on a smaller TV in another room. Don’t forget to select the Chromecast input on the TV.

Turn off network devices

Our homes often have multiple devices that access the internet and you may be watching Netflix on your iPhone or iPad while someone else in another room is playing an online game, downloading something to their computer, Watching YouTube and so on. Even if you are on your own, other devices may be downloading app updates, checking email, and so on.

All this network activity reduces the bandwidth available for video streaming. If Netflix is not playing smoothly, check what other people or other devices are doing. Turn off other devices if necessary.

Routers are often forgotten about until there is a problem and they may be running for months or even years! Sometimes it is beneficial to turn it off, wait a minute and then turn it back on.

Talking of turning things off, it is worth turning off your iPhone or iPad and rebooting it too. It sometimes clears minor problems. Hold down the power button until the message to turn off appears. Wait a minute and then hold down the power to turn it back on.

Restart Netflix

When apps get in a muddle and won't work properly, double tap the home button to bring up the app switcher and swipe away the Netflix app. Go to the home screen and start the app again. Sometimes it helps to fix problems.