Netflix has introduced a long-awaited feature that makes it much easier for people to watch films and series offline.

Smart Downloads allows users to automatically download content to their iOS devices, while simultaneously deleting shows that have already been viewed.

Netflix announced the new feature in a company blog post, saying that it was finally coming to iPhone and iPad owners after launching for Android users last summer.

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“We are excited to introduce Smart Downloads. Now, when you finish watching a downloaded episode, Smart Downloads will delete it, and then automatically download the next episode,” Cameron Johnson, director of product innovation at Netflix, wrote in the blog.

“We know how annoying it can be to go through all your apps and delete files you no longer need; we also understand that when it comes to Netflix, the faster you can get to the next episode you want to watch, the better.”

The Smart Downloads feature is designed to not only make using the Netflix app more efficient but also make it easier and cheaper for people who may be commuting through places with expensive or spotty internet access.

It is also particularly useful for people in developing markets, where patchy internet is seen as a barrier for growth for the internet giant.

With a saturated market in the US, Netflix is looking to other markets to continue its expansion, with 83 per cent of all new subscribers coming from outside the US in the last quarter.

A page on Netflix’s website explains how users can enable the Smart Downloads feature on their iOS, Android or Windows 10 device. 

“The Smart Downloads feature only turns on when you’re connected to Wi-Fi, so your data plan will never be used, and it won’t impact your device storage, because it will always delete the last watched episode before downloading the next one,” the site explains.

For users of the iOS app, people can enable Smart Downloads by tapping the Downloads icon and selecting the Smart Downloads option in the My Downloads section.

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