Netflix tips and tricks: 15 hidden features from keyboard shortcuts to how to watch with friends

With more than 100 million subscribers, Netflix is now the biggest streaming platform on the planet. Its winning combination of classic TV shows, original series and films old and new has changed the way we enjoy our entertainment forever and made ‘binge-watching’ one of the most popular modern pastimes. 

But even if you’re a self-confessed Netflix addict, chances are you’re not using the service to its full potential and it’s likely you’re missing out on some useful features and great content that you didn’t even know were there. And if you’ve never subscribed to Netflix, you might not realise just how much it has to offer, beyond streaming the likes of House of Cards and The Crown. 

In this feature, we reveal our favourite tips and tricks for making the most of Netflix, and recommend five shows you must watch. 

Netflix tips and tricks

Discover what’s been added (and removed)

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New shows and films are added to Netflix on a regular basis, but with so much content to browse, it can be hard to keep up with the latest additions – especially because many titles don’t appear on the homepage. Similarly, the streaming service periodically removes content to keep things fresh, so you may wonder why you can’t find something you previously intended to watch.

To make things easier, bookmark the excellent website New on Netflix UK, which provides an unofficial guide to everything that’s available to watch on Netflix, and is updated daily. You can view the latest additions, removals and expiry dates, and browse the entire Netflix catalogue. This exhaustive list can be filtered by name, year, rating and genre, or you can search by title, actor or director.

Request specific TV shows and films

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There’s always something interesting and entertaining to watch on Netflix, but it’s disappointing when you can’t find a particular film or TV show. To remedy this, the streaming service lets you submit a request for anything you’d like to watch but which is currently unavailable. Just go to the Title Request page and enter up to three suggestions.

There’s no guarantee that the titles you’re looking for will make their way to Netflix – there could be licensing issues or your taste may just be too niche or terrible to accommodate! – but if enough people ask for the same thing, Netflix will definitely sit up and take notice, so it can’t hurt to register your interest. Bear in mind, though, that the streaming service sees itself more as a curator of content than a library of every film and TV show that’s ever been made, as this YouTube video explains:

Unlock secret sub-genres using codes

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One of the easiest ways to browse Netflix content is by genre. For example, if you’re looking for excitement, you might choose the Action category, then drill down to specific sub-genres such as Action Comedies, Spy Action & Adventure, Westerns and so on. What you may not realise, though, is that Netflix provides many more less accessible sub-genres, each with a unique code, to fine-tune your search.

 If you know the right code, you can see, for example, which ‘steamy romantic’ movies are available to watch right now, or explore the full selection of deep-sea horror films. All you need to do is type www.netflix.com/browse/genre and add the relevant code to the end of the URL.

In the case of political comedies (code 2700), you’d go to www.netflix.com/browse/genre/2700. You can get the codes for all available sub-genres from the Netflix ID Bible or simply click directly through to them via the Netflix Secret Categories site. Not every sub-genre is available in every country, but most links should work in the UK.

Access hidden categories in your browser 

If you can’t face the hassle of visiting a separate website to find hidden Netflix categories and codes, there are browser add-ons that put this information at your fingertips. Netflix Categories for Chrome (bit.ly/ncchrome431) and FindFlix for Firefox both let you browse the available hidden sub-genres at the click of a button and open them directly to view their content.

Search the global Netflix library

Many TV shows and movies that aren’t available on Netflix in the UK are offered by the service in one of its other 95 territories, some of which have a much bigger selection than ours. You can find out what’s available using the ‘unofficial Netflix online Global Search Tool’ (uNoGs for short, unogs.com), which lets you either browse genres or enter the name of a movie, TV show, actor or director to view matching content from across the world. You’ll be surprised how many popular films and series aren’t available on our local Netflix, including Star Wars (can be watched in 23 countries), Harry Potter (Australia only) and Lord of the Rings (70 countries).

READ NEXT: What is a VPN? 

You may be able access these regional variations using a VPN, though Netflix is clamping down on such tools and has become very good at spotting them. Some paid-for VPNs might still fool it or you could sign up for a free trial of a VPN subscription, but your success will vary depending on which country’s content you’re trying to access. Usefully, uNoGs tells you which language movies are subtitled in, and lets you view only those with English subtitles.

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