How to use external storage for Netflix downloads on your Chromebook

By - Dan Millward

Updated -

Everyone loves a chance to relax and watch something on Netflix. Whether it’s a movie or a whole series it’s a great way of spending time to unwind.

Although you can stream on Netflix, which avoids having to download a movie before watching it. The ability to download a whole series on Netflix is a great way of watching without an internet connection. Even if you have an internet connection, you may like to watch Netflix in your bedroom where perhaps the WiFi connection is choppy.

Another great reason for downloading a Netflix series rather than streaming is when you’re away from home. Whether that is on the bus or train to work or on a plane to get away for a few days. Being able to watch Netflix on your Chrome OS device is a great way to pass the time when travelling.

Netflix downloads using local storage

When you install the Netflix Android app on your Chromebook it will automatically default to downloading shows to your internal storage. This is fine if you have plenty of storage space available. Not so great if storage is a little low.

If you’re going on holiday for two weeks and you like nothing better than spending the day on the beach watching Netflix. Then you may want to download many different series and movies to get you through the days.

The good news is you can change your Netflix downloads so they download onto an external storage device such as a USB stick. By doing this you can leave your local storage for everything else, and use your external storage to download your favourite TV shows.

Netflix downloads to external storage on Chrome OS

When you open Netflix on your Chromebook you may have tried to change where the downloads are stored. You can do this in the NetFlix app settings, however, you may have only been given the option to store downloads to your local storage. This would look similar to the image below.

Internal storage options Netflix

The reason for this is that you first need to let Chrome OS know that you’re happy for your external storage device to be used by Android apps. To do this insert an external storage device such as a USB stick. You’ll most likely be presented with a pop notification in the bottom right of your desktop, if so, click on manage, which will take you to your settings. If a message doesn’t appear you can find the settings easily enough.

settings>device>storage management>external storage preferences

Once you’re at the settings page you should see your external storage device showing. To the right of your external storage, you’ll see a switch, which you need to switch on. Once you’ve done this it should look similar to the image below.

Enable your external device in Chrome OS settings

Head on back to your Netflix settings

Once you’ve allowed Android apps to use your external storage by following the instructions above. You then need to go back to Netflix. The Netflix app regularly changes in appearance, so the information on how to get to your Netflix settings may change. However, at the time of writing this, you’ll find the settings by clicking on ‘More’. The image below will show you where this is located.

  • Click on ‘More’ on Netflix
Go to more settings in Netflix

Once you’ve clicked on ‘more’ you’ll be presented with a menu similar to what is shown below.

  • Left-Click on App settings
Click on App Settings in Netflix
  • From the App settings left-click on Download Location
In app settings click on Download location
  • You should now have two storage options showing. One is for your internal storage and the other is for your external storage. Click on the external storage radio button, which should then look similar to the image below.
Change the download location to SD card.
Your Netflix downloads will now be stored on your external storage rather than using up your local Chromebook storage.

Summary

The good news is your USB stick will be remembered when you insert it at a later date. Therefore, you can remove the USB stick and not worry about having to go through any of these settings again. Both Netflix and Chrome OS will remember your USB stick or any other external storage device you may have used.

If you choose to download shows on Netflix when your external storage device is not connected to your Chromebook. The downloads will default back to being installed on your local storage. Once you connect the external storage device the downloads will default back to being stored externally. This is great because it saves you from having to change the settings each time you connect your external storage to your Chromebook.

Using an external storage device such as a USB stick is a great way to save your Chrome OS internal storage. The only limitation you need to consider is how many devices you can download to when using Netflix. This will depend on the Netflix membership that you’ve signed up to.

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