Netflix prepares to add an audio-only mode for background listening

Netflix prepares to add an audio-only mode for background listening

Netflix’s Android app has been steadily adding and testing new features over the past few months, including the addition of a screen lock button, playback speed controls, letting users watch partially downloaded TV shows and movies, and more. In an attempt to attract new subscribers, the streaming giant even started offering a few of its original shows and movies for free and will be hosting an event called StreamFest next month to let Indian users try out the service for free for 2 days. Now, Netflix for Android is preparing to add another nifty feature: background audio playback.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

In the Netflix app version 7.79.1, we have found evidence the app might soon let you listen to your favorite shows.

We have found the following strings in Netflix version 7.79.1:

<string name="audio_mode_intro_tooltip_message">Save your data by turning off the video and listening to your favorite shows.</string>
<string name="audio_mode_tooltip_title">New</string>
<string name="audio_mode_video_off_tooltip_message">The video is off, but you can continue listening to your show while you are busy doing other things.</string>

The background audio feature can come in handy when you can’t afford to stare at your screen but also don’t want to tune out of the interesting storyline. The feature essentially lets you listen to your Netflix shows like you would listen to podcasts, allowing you to attend to other important tasks, which require your complete attention. Another possible use case of the background audio feature is when you’re on limited mobile data. One of the strings we found mentions that users will be able to turn off the video feed and listen to just the audio, thereby saving the precious mobile data as well as battery life.

As is usually the case with in-development features, it’s unclear when, if ever, Netflix plans to roll out this background audio functionality to all users.

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Kishan Vyas
Kishan Vyas

A loyal Android user since Android 2.1 Eclair. Direct inquiries to [email protected]