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 about to become a lot harder. But we had no idea how, exactly, Netflix plans to prevent people from sharing their passwords – until now.

Here’s how it will work.

“To ensure uninterrupted access to Netflix, connect to the Wi-Fi at your primary location, open the Netflix app or website, and watch something at least once every 31 days. This creates a trusted device so you can watch Netflix, even when you’re away from your primary location,” the company wrote in an updated Help Center document.


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If you’re traveling, you’ll be able to watch Netflix simply by logging into your account. But if you’re away for an “extended period of time” — presumably, more than 31 days — Netflix says that “your device may be blocked from watching Netflix.” The solution to this is requesting a “temporary access code to continue watching,” Netflix says.

There’s a caveat to this. The updated help document(Opens in a new window), spotted by The Streamable(Opens in a new window), doesn’t appear to be online anymore, though it is accessible via 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 they’re laid out above, will likely cause some headaches to users. For example, I primarily watch Netflix on my smart TV, but I’m logged in on a variety of other devices, such as phones and tablets. Having to watch Netflix on each of them once every month just to stay logged in will be an additional annoyance that I’m not particularly happy about.

Fortunately, Netflix (still) doesn’t plan to automatically charge users for sharing their account with someone who doesn’t live with you. The company will likely tread carefully before enforcing any drastic measures upon its users; while the company’s subscriber count was up in the last quarter, that’s largely thanks to Netflix’s new “Basic with Ads” subscriber tier, and it comes at the end of a tough 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.

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