BBC iPlayer scraps offline viewing feature that MacBook and laptop owners will miss most

Changes to TV downloads coming in March

BBC iPlayer using Philips remote
(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)
Quick Summary

The BBC is to shut down its BBC iPlayer Downloads application for Mac and PC.

Users will no longer be able to download BBC programming to watch offline from 11 March.

The BBC has announced that it is restricting offline viewing on BBC iPlayer from March. However, only certain devices will be affected.

That's because it is ditching the ability to download TV shows and films on PC and Mac through their respective apps. Mobile devices, such as iPhone and Android handsets, will be unaffected.

The Beeb claims that this is to save costs as the feature is only used by a "low number of people".

"This does not affect downloads on the BBC iPlayer mobile or tablet apps and viewers can continue to stream programmes on BBC iPlayer on their PCs and Mac," said a spokesperson to the corporation's website.

PC and Mac owners may have already noticed that the dedicated BBC iPlayer Downloads app is, ironically, no longer available to download from respective app stores.

New downloads will then end on 11 March 2024, although viewers will still be able to watch previously downloaded content until April.

Then, on 8 April, the BBC iPlayer Downloads app will no longer work or be supported. You are advised to uninstall it from this date.

While many might not have used the feature in the past, those who regularly travel may have replied on the service to watch BBC TV shows on their MacBooks or laptops.

Affected users will still be able to stream BBC iPlayer programming on their computers by using a web browser, but only when they have an internet connection – which isn't likely when you're on a plane, for example.

As the BBC itself reports, one former employee has posted his bemusement on X (formerly Twitter): "This strikes me as a very bad move. Why would you want to make it harder to watch your programmes?"

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.