Netflix offers an audio-only mode to some users

The next time you do a job or go to the grocery store, don’t activate your preferred streaming service. Instead, try using Netflix’s new audio-only mode.

After finding evidence of an audio-only mode in the Android app back in October, it appears that Netflix has started rolling out the user selection feature. It appears to be part of a server-side rollout in version 7.84.1 Build 28 35243 (via) Android police). If the feature is available to you, a new Video Off button will appear when viewing a video in full screen mode. By activating the new mode, Netflix subscribers can listen to their favorite show without video.

Netflix audio only

Image credit: AndroidPolice

You will still see the same playback controls that allow you to change the speed of the video, rewind, fast forward, play and pause. It’s exactly the same experience, just without the video accompanying the audio.

It may seem strange to use an audio-only mode for a service that streams video. But sometimes it’s difficult to detach yourself from the story of a movie or a TV show. How often do you have a show in the background because it’s comforting? I do all the time. Netflix’s audio-only mode might not make sense at home, but it can be useful on the go.

Netflix’s audio-only mode may also be a way for some users to save cellular data. It’s like a podcast, but not. For many movies and shows, video isn’t critical to the plot anyway, especially if you’re enjoying a stand-up routine or family sitcom. So next time you want to hear background noise while you work, don’t throw up an album and check out Netflix’s audio-only mode.

It doesn’t sound like the new Netflix mode is still widespread, but it should be available on your device in time for the holidays. So keep your ears open.