Netflix has become the go-to destination for people to catch up on their favorite TV shows and movies, but it can be tough to find exactly what you’re looking for without spending hours scrolling through their vast library of content. That’s why these Netflix hacks are here to save the day, turning the service into your one-stop-shop for the entertainment you need and want. Whether you just want to binge-watch your favorite show again or are looking to scratch that cinematic itch, try one of these 8 brilliant Netflix hacks, and enjoy your next Netflix binge like never before!
- Table of Content
- 1. Create Your Own Categories
- 2. Use the Netflix genre codes for better results
- 3. See What Friends Are Watching
- 4. Skip opening credits and trailer
- 5. Use a keyboard shortcut to close captions faster
- 6. View an episode list with zero spoilers
- 7. Multitask by watching TV while doing other things online
- 8. Share your account with friends, safely!
1. Create Your Own Categories
One of my favorite features of Netflix is how it automatically creates categories for you based on your viewing history. This makes it super easy to add new shows to a queue or sort through recommendations without wasting time browsing through titles. If you want to get fancy, you can go in and create your own custom categories so that when you’re watching on-demand episodes, they’re categorized even further into topics that are important to you. Try creating at least five—one for each day of your week (so one called Saturday Night Comedy would apply every time Saturday Night Live is available on-demand). This way, no matter what day of the week it is, there’s always something good waiting for you. Plus, now you have an excuse to binge-watch from Sunday night through Friday night!
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2. Use the Netflix genre codes for better results
When searching for a show on Netflix, remember that you can use genre codes to search more efficiently. Instead of just entering NCIS, for example, try typing in NCIS followed by a space and then action. The title will be auto-suggested and then you can simply click on it. To see a full list of all genres, go here and check out some of your favorites! One quick tip: By default, Netflix includes 10 genres in its results; however, if you type action followed by another word (such as the show), you’ll receive 15 new options. From there, simply click on whatever best fits your needs. Here are some examples This is also true when using an actor’s name or director’s name. For example, typing in Sandra Bullock and then drama will give you far more suggestions than just clicking on her name directly.
If you’re looking for movies directed by Steven Spielberg, type Steven Spielberg and then director. This trick works with any combination of words—just make sure to separate them with spaces! This one is particularly helpful when trying to find a film starring someone whose last name isn’t well known or immediately recognizable (think stars from other countries).
- Here are some additional tips
- 01. Use colons between two different terms. If you’re looking for romantic comedies starring Ryan Gosling, try typing in Ryan Gosling: the romantic comedy.
- 02. Using quotes around a term will return only titles that contain that exact phrase.
- 03. Putting quotes around quotes will return titles containing both phrases (e.g., Ryan Gosling romantic comedy).
- 04. A plus sign indicates language variations of a single title (e.g., +English +Spanish).
3. See What Friends Are Watching
Okay, so you probably don’t need a hack to see what your friends are watching on Netflix. But if you like to binge-watch with a few pals (or if you’re looking for something new to watch) it’s worth noting that you can compare your queues with friends and sort by date added or ratings. Also, if you use Instapaper as an RSS reader (so, most of us here at Lifehacker), check out their integration with your Netflix account; it lets you add any item in your Instant Queue directly to Instapaper with one click. In other words, no more copying URLs from your browser window and then switching apps! A few extra clicks is still two fewer than several of our first life hacks were. If you want even more life hacks for Netflix, check out how to get recommendations based on IMDB ratings, how to share an account with your significant other, and how to streamline queue management using LastPass. For more tips about streaming video services beyond Netflix—like Hulu Plus—check out all of our Streaming Video Services guides.
4. Skip opening credits and trailer
While you wait for your show to start, most streaming services make it so you can skip ahead. Hulu’s Skip Intro and Amazon Prime Video’s X-Ray options let you bypass opening credits and trailers. And if you’re watching a show on Amazon or iTunes, there’s an option called Play from Beginning. This is great when you want to get through an episode as quickly as possible—but it’s even better when there’s a commercial break that slows down your viewing. It eliminates all that dead time in between breaks so you can just go straight to watching your show without looking at a clock counting down how long until your show starts again. No more staring at a blank screen while commercials play!
Play From Beginning isn’t available on every service. To see if yours has it, check out TV Time’s list of streaming services with instant playback (meaning no commercials). If yours isn’t listed, ask about Play From Beginning in its support section.
5. Use a keyboard shortcut to close captions faster
Even if you have a remote, you can still close subtitles on Netflix faster with a keyboard shortcut. All you need to do is use your right-arrow key. Not only does it not rely on having a remote in hand, but it’s also easy to remember and much quicker than using a remote. It’s especially useful when it’s late at night and there are people sleeping around you. That won’t stop some people from being too lazy to even push down one button…but that’s okay because we don’t want them watching our favorite shows anyway. If they could make it through Game of Thrones without skipping ahead every time an episode ended then they deserve to watch whatever they want. But for those of us who aren’t willing to wait through commercials or keep fumbling for a remote—we thank you for these hacks! That’s how I manage my subscriptions! Hopefully, you found something helpful above!
6. View an episode list with zero spoilers
Wondering if a TV show is worth watching or if it’s been canceled? Wondering what an episode of your favorite show is going to be about? Turn to Wikipedia. Find a list of episodes and then sort them by air date, with the most recent first. That way you won’t spoil any future episodes for yourself and you can view an episode list without any spoilers. For example, here’s one for Community. Just look for the List of Episodes. This trick works with lots of other TV shows too, from Breaking Bad to Parks and Recreation. It even works with movies like Fargo and True Detective! If there isn’t a List of Episodes on Wikipedia, try searching Google using the name of movie + wiki episode list. It should return links to fan-made lists that have been archived on Wikipedia. (For example the name of the movie + wiki page.) Once you find a link, click-through and follow those instructions to find an episode list. Then just sort it in reverse chronological order so that newer episodes are at the top—and boom! No spoilers.
7. Multitask by watching TV while doing other things online
It’s not like you need an excuse to multitask, but watching TV on your computer makes it way easier to snack, surf and do laundry all at once. Also, most new flatscreen TVs come with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity — no wires needed. Bonus: No more finding a place for your laptop! With one screen you can use multiple applications without clutter. Bonus bonus: Netflix keeps track of where you left off if you start watching something on your phone or tablet, so everything’s ready when you want to continue watching on a bigger screen. It’s life hacking at its finest. If you have family members who don’t have their own account, they can sign in using yours while they watch.
8. Share your account with friends, safely!
Sharing your account with friends is as easy as changing your Netflix password—and you should! Make sure you include a friend code in every text message and email. That way, when they share their login info with you, all they have to do is change their password, too. Easy peasy. You can also add profiles to streamline family viewing—your kids’ profiles can have access to kid-friendly content while keeping adult or sensitive material out of reach. Finally, if you use multiple devices (e.g., one at home and one on vacation), create an account for each device so that only certain shows are available to watch on each device. This will help you avoid accidentally burning through your data cap during a binge session!