Netflix password sharing: Here’s exactly how the company will stop it

We knew it was coming, and we knew it was coming soon: sharing Netflix passwords outside of your household is going to get a lot harder. But we had no idea exactly how Netflix plans to stop people from sharing their passwords — until now.

This is how it will work.

“To ensure uninterrupted access to Netflix, connect to WiFi at your primary location, open the Netflix app or website, and watch at least once every 31 days. This creates a trusted device that you can use to watch Netflix even when you’re not at your primary location,” the company wrote in an updated Help Center doc.


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When you’re on the go, you can watch Netflix simply by logging into your account. But if you’re away for an “excessive period of time” — believed to be more than 31 days — Netflix says “your device may be blocked from watching Netflix.” The solution to this is to require a “temporary access code to continue watching,” Netflix says.

There is a caveat to this. The updated help document(Opens in a new window)spotted by The Streamable(Opens in a new window)appears to be no longer online, although it is accessible via the Wayback Machine(Opens in a new window), which keeps old snapshots of websites on the Internet. So it’s possible that Netflix will change certain details before it starts enforcing the Wi-Fi connection rule.

With that in mind, the new rules as outlined above will likely cause some headaches for users. For example, I primarily watch Netflix on my smart TV but am logged in on a variety of other devices such as phones and tablets. Having to watch Netflix once a month on each of them just to stay logged in will be an added annoyance that I’m not particularly happy about.

Fortunately, Netflix doesn’t (yet) plan to automatically charge users for sharing their account with someone who doesn’t live with you. The company will likely tread carefully before imposing drastic measures on its users; While the company’s subscriber base grew last quarter, that’s largely thanks to Netflix’s new “Basic with Ads” subscription tier, and that’s at the end of a difficult year(Opens in a new window) for the streaming giant. Chasing away subscribers with overzealous anti-password-sharing measures is probably the last thing Netflix needs. Netflix password sharing: Here’s exactly how the company will stop it

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