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How to Watch Netflix on a MacBook

With no macOS Netflix app available, subscribers will need to use an alternate method for watching shows and movies on a MacBook.

There’s currently no Netflix macOS app available to download on a MacBook. As a result, subscribers will need to use an alternate method for watching Netflix shows and movies on Apple’s device, such as streaming directly through a browser. Furthermore, owners of an M1 MacBook may run into additional issues, if using Google Chrome.

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With more than 200 million subscribers globally, Netflix is arguable one of the most popular streaming services around. Which is not that surprising, considering the wide selection of shows, movies, and Netflix originals makes it a good addition to an individual or household’s streaming setup.

In spite of how popular the service is, it may surprise some to hear that a Netflix app is not available on all platforms and devices. While the service does support many of the most popular platforms, there will be times when a subscriber finds the device they are using is not supported at the app level. Using a MacBook is highly likely to be one of those times. In instances like this, a browser is going to be the best option.

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Watching Netflix though a browser

The easiest and best option to watch Netflix on a MacBook without an app is to use a web browser. By heading over to netflix.com and logging in with an email address and password, the user will be available to stream all of their favorite Netflix shows and movies directly in the browser.

Naturally, Safari is going to be the best option when using a MacBook. Netflix is compatible with Safari so subscribers should not encounter any major issues when going this route. If not using Safari, then Netflix does also support a number of other popular browsers as well, including Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

If using Google Chrome along with a newer M1 MacBook, then subscribers may find they run into an issue when attempting to stream Netflix. This is not necessarily an issue specific to Chrome or Netflix, but more so one that relates to just how new the M1 MacBook models are, and support for third-party apps and services having not been fully developed yet. In these instances, users will need to download Rosetta to bridge the support gap and allow Netflix to play videos. For reference, Rosetta is software released by Apple and is specifically designed to help in instances just like this.

Other points to be aware of

Everything is normally already set up and ready to deliver the best experience possible when watching Netflix on a smart TV or streaming player. However, MacBook, and laptops in general, may require a few additional tweaks to maximize the streaming experience. For example, if subscribed to Netflix’s 4K Ultra HD plan, then watching in 4K UHD on a MacBook will require the notebook to be running a minimum of macOS Big Sur 11.0. Likewise, streaming in HDR will require the device to be running macOS Catalina 10.15.4 or later.

It is worth noting that Netflix only officially lists 4K and HDR support through a browser on MacBook when using Safari. Due this this, subscribers may find the quality might be limited when using alternate browsers to stream Netflix. This is not necessarily a guarantee, but more of a miles may vary situation.

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Besides the browser playback quality support, if attempting to connect the MacBook to a separate monitor or display, that will also need to be capable of supporting 4K UHD, HDR or both. As will any cables connecting the MacBook and the additional screen. Of course, an internet connection capable of delivering 4K video will also be needed to avoid any playback issues in general.

Netflix on a MacBook summary

Although there is currently no dedicated app for MacBook, users can still watch Netflix shows and movies on the notebook by streaming directly through a browser. Not only does Netflix support Safari on a MacBook, but also Chrome and Firefox. If using Chrome on a newer M1 MacBook, the user may also need to download and install Rosetta, if encountering issues accessing or watching Netflix.

Once a browser is selected, Netflix subscribers will also want to make sure the rest of the setup is optimized for the best experience. This includes making sure the browser, any additional monitors (if using) and cables are capable of delivering the maximum playback quality offered by the Netflix plan a subscriber is signed up to.

Read more: How to Watch YouTube TV on a MacBook

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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

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