Netflix is rolling out an audio-only mode to some users
The next time you run an errand or go to the grocery store, don’t put on your favorite streaming service. Try using Netflix’s new audio-only mode instead.
After we uncovered evidence for an audio-only mode in the Android app back in October, Netflix has seemingly begun to roll out the feature to select users; it appears to be part of a server-side rollout in version 7.84.1 build 28 35243 (via Android Police). When the feature does become available for you, you’ll see a new “Video off” button when a video is in full screen. Enabling the new mode will allow Netflix subscribers to listen to their favorite show without video.
You’ll still see the same playback controls to change the video’s speed, rewind and fast forward, and play and pause. It’s the same exact experience, just without the video to accompany the audio.
It might seem odd to take advantage of an audio-only mode for a service that streams video. But sometimes it’s tough to break away from a movie or TV show’s story. How often do you have a show on in the background because it’s comforting? I do all the time. Netflix’s audio-only mode may not make sense at home, but it could become useful while you’re on the go.
Netflix’s audio-only mode could also be a way for some users to save mobile data. It’s like a podcast, but not. For a lot of movies and shows, video isn’t critical to the storyline anyway, especially if you’re enjoying a stand-up routine or a family sitcom. So the next time you want comforting background noise while you work, don’t throw on an album, check out Netflix’s audio-only mode.
It doesn’t sound like Netflix’s new mode is widely available just yet, but it should hit your device just in time for the holidays, so keep your ears peeled.