When you go on an extended tv viewing session on Netflix, you’ll sometimes be interrupted by a prompt that asks if you’re still watching the show. Here’s why Netflix keeps bugging you.
“Are You Still Watching?”
Netflix, like other streaming services, seems designed for binging tv shows. For most of the titles on the platform, all of the episodes of any particular season are available all at once. Netflix automatically plays the next episode of a show once the current one finishes. They also allow users to skip the opening credits scene of each show so that you can get to the content faster.
However, there’s one feature on the service that seems to inhibit binging. When you’ve watched a few episodes of a show, the video will suddenly pause within the first few minutes of an episode. You will then be asked, “Are you still watching?” To continue the episode, you have to select “Continue Watching.” Otherwise, Netflix will stop your viewing session.
This popup appears if you have played two consecutive episodes without interacting with the controls. The question will show up two minutes into the following episode. However, if you have interacted with the video at all, such as pausing, skipping, or hovering over the window, then this prompt will not appear.
Why Netflix Asks
According to Netflix, the Netflix app asks this question to prevent users from wasting bandwidth by keeping a show playing that they’re not watching. This is especially true if you’re watching Netflix on your phone through mobile data. Every megabyte is valuable, considering that network providers impose strict data limits and may charge exorbitant rates for data used on top of your phone plan.
Of course, this saves Netflix bandwidth, too—if you fall asleep or just leave the room while watching Netflix, it will automatically stop playing rather than streaming until you stop it.
Netflix also says this helps ensure you don’t lose your position in a series when you resume it. If you fall asleep in the middle of your binging session, you might wake up to find that several hours of episodes have played since you stopped watching. It will be difficult for you to remember when you left off.
However, for some Netflix users, this feature is more annoying than it is useful. If you mostly watch television shows in the middle of the daytime, it’s much less likely that you’re going to be distracted in the middle of your binging session. It’s no surprise many people are looking for a way to turn it off.
Turning Off Autoplay
The most straightforward solution is to turn off autoplay altogether, so the following episode no longer starts without your interaction. Not only will this stop the prompt from appearing entirely, but it will also keep you awake and focused on the show you’re watching.
To disable autoplay, access your account from a web browser. Select your “Profile” icon on the upper right, and go to “Manage Profiles.” From here, click the profile that you use, and you’ll be taken to your profile settings page.
Uncheck the box at the bottom that says “Autoplay next episode in a series for all devices.” This change will automatically take effect in all devices where your Netflix account is signed in.
Take note that this setting varies by profile. If you’d like to change Autoplay settings for all the profiles in your account, you’ll have to configure them one-by-one.
Disabling the Prompt
If you watch Netflix via the desktop website, one way to disable the prompt is by using a browser extension called “Never Ending Netflix” for Google Chrome.
Once the extension is installed, access its options menu and turn on the “Don’t prompt ‘Are you still watching?’” setting.
In addition to stopping the screen from appearing, Never Ending Netflix has several useful features to enhance your viewing experience. You can select a toggle to skip all title sequences, view end credits, and stop promotional videos from playing on the menu screen. You can access all these options from the extension menu.
Unfortunately, there is no way of doing something this for Netflix on other devices, such as a smart TV, Roku, or gaming console. For those devices, you’ll have to disable autoplay or continuously interact with the screen.