Netflix has started rolling out a new feature for its Android app to allow users to catch up with shows and movies in an audio-only mode. As the name of the feature suggests, the new setting plays the content in a podcast-like format, especially when users cannot stare at the screen for longer or have other tasks to do. The feature was first spotted during the APK teardown of the Netflix app for Android version 7.79.1 back in October, although its functionalities at the time remained unclear. It was assumed that the app would play movies and show even the home screen is locked, but that does not appear to be the case right now.
As reported by Android Police, the setting only disables the video playback on the app, while the audio still plays in the background. The audio-only mode can be enabled by selecting 'video on/off' toggle, available at the top of the app screen. However, the blank screen still shows all playback controls including the scrub bar, forward and backward, speed, and so on. The brightness slider remains available even when the screen is pitch dark. The report further highlights the Audio Only option in settings, and users can select between, 'always-on,' 'headphones or external speakers,' and 'off.' Many Netflix users still might prefer keeping the video on while watching movies, though the audio-only mode can be useful while watching (or in this case listening) stand up comedies, documentaries, and so on.
At the moment, the feature appears to be rolling out as a part of a server-side update and it was noted on the Netflix Android app version 7.84.1 (build 28 35243). Its availability details remain unclear in India, and the company is yet to share more information over its mass availability. In the meantime, users are advised to keep the Android app updated.