This is how the Netflix password sharing block will work

Netflix has started to reveal how its password sharing crackdown will be implemented

Netflix logo on smartphone
(Image credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images)

We know that the Netflix password crackdown is looming, but we didn't know exactly how it would work – until now. Netflix's Costa Rican help centre has posted details of the password system, and while it's not been confirmed that the procedure detailed is the same as it'll be in the US, EU and UK it's unlikely to be very different.

The details come via The Streamable, who reports that Netflix will ask you to pick a primary location. That will enable anybody in that location to use the same Netflix account.

If you want to share your account with people who don't live with you, you'll need to sign up to the extra member scheme. For a fee, this enables you to add more people to your account. 

If people try to access your account without being part of the extra member scheme, their access to your account will be blocked. And that's not the only blocking Netflix intends to do.

Netflix is having a block party

According to The Streamable, Netflix expects you to log in from your primary location's Wi-Fi (it says via the app or website, and I'm assuming app includes smart TV apps) to watch something at least every 31 days. If you don't, you might find your account blocked.

There's some good news here, though: if you're travelling, you can request a temporary code that enables you to use Netflix at another location for seven days. Presumably nobody at Netflix goes on holiday for longer than that.

It may be possible for legitimate users to get around the location-based blocking, but Netflix is clearly taking password sharing very seriously so I wouldn't be entirely surprised if we saw a similar game of whack-a-mole as we did when Netflix started cracking down on VPN users back in 2016.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (