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HBO Max Downloads: How to Watch Movies & Shows Offline

HBO Max lets you download popular movies and shows for offline playback. Here’s what you need to know.

Update 5/31/2021: Some readers have reported issues with HBO Max downloads not working on their devices. In these cases, the downloads section of the app becomes unavailable when not connected to the internet. It remains unclear what is causing the issue, but it might be specifically related to iPhone and iPad models. Due to this, it is worth enabling Airplane Mode on an iOS device after downloading any videos to check whether they can be accessed and watched when offline and without an internet connection. End of update.

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Original article: You can download HBO Max movies and shows and watch them offline, although there are some restrictions you will need to be aware of. These include limitations on how many videos you can have downloaded at once and how long downloads remain available for before they are automatically deleted by HBO Max.

HBO Max launched on May 27, 2020 and with subscriptions costing exactly the same as a standard HBO subscription, the streaming service has immediately attracted a number of existing HBO subscribers, as well as some new subscribers looking to take advantage of the varied selection of videos. Furthermore, with the service containing many fan favorite franchises, there are going to be subscribers who want to download videos so they can be watched whenever, and wherever the user is.

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Benefits of downloading videos for offline playback

One of the main benefits of downloading HBO Max videos for offline viewing is the fact that users are not restricted to an internet connection to watch their favorite movies and shows. For some users, this will simply be beneficial in terms of not having to worry about buffering or a reliable enough connection to ensure smooth and uninterrupted playback.

For others, downloading videos can help to ensure they don’t need to worry about any data caps placed on their plan by their provider. Instead, users can download videos when connected to home Wi-Fi and then access them locally on the device.

How to download HBO Max videos

Downloading a HBO Max movie or show episodes is fairly easy to do. This is a feature the company actively promotes and the Android and iOS apps are designed to makes it as easy as possible to download content. While the screenshots below demonstrate the process using an Android phone, they are largely the same for iPhone and iPad users.

How to download HBO Max movies and shows:

  1. Open the app
  2. Search for the movie or show episode to download
  3. Tap on the movie or show episode details
  4. Tap on the “Download” button
  5. Allow the download to finish

The instructions above works for any video on HBO Max that’s allowed to be downloaded. The actual “download” button is predominantly displayed on title pages and can be seen below the play and ‘add to list’ options.

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How to downloads HBO Max videos 1
HBO Max “Download” button in app

Once selected, HBO Max will queue the video to be downloaded. How long it takes for the video to start downloading will depend on the internet connection and how many other videos the subscriber has set to download.

Likewise, once the download actually begins, how long it will take for the download to complete will vary, based on length of the video and the download speed available at the time. As an example, a random episode of Westworld took just over four minutes to fully download.

HBO Max app video listing
Downloads can take a few minutes to complete

During the download process, users will see a notification on their phone indicating the download is still in progress, the percentage of the download that’s complete, and how long the download has taken so far.

To find and access downloaded HBO Max movies and shows, tap on the profile icon and then select the “Downloads” tab for a list of all videos available to watch offline.

HBO Max app Downloads section
Downloads can be found under profile

General download restrictions and caveats

Before downloading, there are some general restrictions and caveats to be aware of, and these will vary depending on the subscriber’s individual circumstances. The most obvious of these is that downloaded files consume local storage on a device. Therefore, some users may find that depending on their smartphone or tablet’s storage limit, and how much of that limit has already been used, they may be limited in how many movies and shows they can download from services like HBO Max.

Another caveat is that while a downloaded show or movie can be watched offline and without consuming data, these downloads do consume data during the download process. Again, this will depend on length of show and video quality, but users will want to keep in mind any data limits when downloading.

To ensure mobile data limits are not impacted by downloads, the HBO Max app by default, is set to only allow downloads when connected to Wi-Fi. Subscribers can change this in the app’s settings menu to allow downloading videos over a mobile network.

How to download HBO Max videos over a mobile network:

  1. Open the HBO Max app
  2. Tap the Profile icon
  3. Tap the Settings icon (cog) in the upper-left corner
  4. Select “Video Options” from the list
  5. Toggle “Download Over WiFi Only” to off

One of the best ways to limit the amount of data consumed over Wi-Fi or a mobile network is to reduce the video quality of the download. This will not only result in the same videos using less data, but may also speed up the process of downloading videos to begin with.

How to change HBO Max download quality:

  1. Open the HBO Max app
  2. Tap the Profile icon
  3. Tap the Settings icon (cog) in the upper-left corner
  4. Select “Video Options” from the list
  5. Tap on the “Download Quality” option
  6. Select “Fastest download”

HBO Max download restrictions

Generally speaking, most of the limitations mentioned above are not going to be specific to HBO Max and will apply to most streaming services that offer downloads. However, there are some restrictions that are specific to HBO Max. The two most important ones to be aware of is how many videos can be downloaded and how long they remain downloaded for.

How many HBO Max videos can be downloaded

HBO Max only allows accounts to download a maximum of 30 videos. While that is likely to be enough for the average user at any one time, it is important to understand this restriction applies to an entire account. For example, if a single subscription is being shared with other family members, and each of those members have their own profile, the 30 downloads applies to the account as a whole and not each profile.

Once the 30-download limit is reached, subscribers will need to delete existing downloads before the option to add new ones becomes available again.

How to delete HBO Max downloads:

  1. Open the HBO Max app
  2. Tap the Profile icon
  3. Select the “Downloads” tab
  4. Tap “Edit”.
  5. Tap “X” next to a specific download to delete the single download
  6. Alternatively, tap “Clear all” to delete all downloads at the same time.
  7. Select “Done” when finished

How long HBO Max videos can remain downloaded for

HBO Max not only limits how many shows can be downloaded at one time, but also how long those videos can remain downloaded for before they are automatically deleted by the app. In general, there are three main limitations that can affect the length of how long a video remains available for offline playback.

  • Unwatched downloads expire after 30 days
  • Watched or part-watched videos expire 48 hours after starting playback.
  • Movies and shows are automatically deleted when removed from HBO Max

With the exception of movies and shows leaving HBO Max, each time a download is automatically deleted by the service, the subscriber is able to renew the download again so it remains available offline.

How to renew expired downloads:

  1. Open the HBO Max app
  2. Tap the Profile icon
  3. Select the “Downloads” tab
  4. Tap the expired download
  5. Tap “Renew for 30 Days”

HBO Max downloads summary

HBO Max provides subscribers with an easy way to download movies and shows for offline viewing, as well as selecting the quality of the recording and whether downloads can take place over mobile networks. However, the subscription services only allow unwatched downloads to remain available offline for 30 days, or for 48 hours once playback has started. Once either of these time-limits are reached, HBO Max will automatically delete the movie or show episode.

HBO Max subscribers can renew an expired download as many times as they like, as long as the movie or show remains available to stream through the service.

Read more: HBO Max Compatible Smart TVs & Streaming Players

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By John Finn

John started Streaming Clarity to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingclarity.com or on Twitter

18 replies on “HBO Max Downloads: How to Watch Movies & Shows Offline”

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Short answer: no! I watch downloaded movies on my TV successfully with Netflix and Amazon prime using a simple dongle, but HBO max doesn’t work.

Downloading and watching off line is really hit or miss (might show might not) Don’t count on it, have a back up from a company that knows how to develop a workable app.

On a plane. Downloaded multiple movies. They all fail and max won’t open with out a internet connection so I can’t access the movies I downloaded.

Hey Stephen, that’s strange. Works fine when tested. When totally offline (flight mode) the app automatically launches the Downloads section and playback works.

Which device are you using?

Just got off a 12 hour flight and was planning on binging on GoT season 6. No internet connection to open the app so those episodes took up space for no reason. Straight trash.

Downloading to view offline on HBOMax is a joke, the downloads aren’t saving to your device so you would still need an internet connection to watch. So misleading and disingenuous.

Hey Jermaine,

Seems to work fine when tested. When using flight mode the app automatically launches the Downloads section, lists downloads and they are able to be played.

Which device are you using?

Your download and watch offline instructions are just simply incorrect. The app will not open without an internet connection, so you cannot access the items you downloaded. Ridiculous.

Hi Sam,

Not sure why the issue is happening, but you are not alone. Others have commented on the same problem.

For what it’s worth, the feature works when I’ve tested it. Using flight mode, the app automatically opens up the Downloads section and videos play.

Which device are you using?

The feature was tested on Android, so this may be an issue that’s specific to the iOS app.

The HBO team knows since last year that the downloads don’t work for IOS and they don’t care at all, showing a complete lack of interest for their suscribers. Amazing.

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