Netflix starts rolling out audio-only mode for Android

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If you’re subscribed to Netflix, you’ve probably spent a lot of time catching up and binge-watching a lot of series. Haven’t you ever felt on certain shows that things would go much faster if you could just listen to it rather than watch it? Well if you ever thought that, you’ll soon get your wish. The video streaming giant seems to be rolling out an audio-only mode for the Android app to help save on their precious data or to continue “watching” or rather, listening while multitasking.

We’ve known about the probability of this feature due to an app teardown according to Android Police. But now it has started rolling out to a few users as part of the Netflix update version 7.84.1 build 28 35243. When you’re on full screen mode, you’ll see a new Video off button and if you tap it, then you’ll be switching to the audio-only mode. The video’s audio will continue playing but you’ll be seeing a blank screen instead.

The blank screen will still have the playback controls visible including the scrub bar, forward and backward buttons, speed options, etc. Strange thing is that the brightness slider is still there but of course that’s pretty useless when you’re in an audio only mode. You can also switch to audio-only mode in the settings. When you tap the mode, a pop-up menu will let you choose other options for when you want to enable the mode: Always On, Headphones or External Speakers, and Off.

Some might be wondering why people would want to “watch” only the audio part of a movie or a TV show. Obviously it will not work for shows or videos that are more visual than aural. But if you’re trying to finish a sitcom, a stand-up comedy special, or even some documentaries, the audio-only option could work. You could use it while working and multi-tasking or moving around the house and you want the audio-only experience to keep you company.

The update seems to be server-side so there’s no way to force it to appear suddenly on your account. Just make sure you’ve updated your Android app to the latest version and wait patiently and just watch in video mode in the meantime.

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