Password sharing could be a thing of the past for Netflix users

Netflix Party Lede
Netflix Party Lede (Image credit: Sean Endicott/Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Netflix might soon start enforcing its rules about sharing passwords.
  • Some devices now show a message to Netflix users about having to live with the account owner.
  • At the moment, the message only seems to appear on TV devices.

Netflix users might all have to actually have their own accounts soon. Password sharing is a common practice, but Netflix could soon crack down on it. The Streamable reports that some devices now see a prompt from Netflix about people having to live with the owner of a Netflix account.

"If you don't live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching," says the prompt. To verify that a person is in line with Netflix's terms, a person will have to use an email or text code.

Netflix told The Streamable, "This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so."

Netflix hasn't done much to stop password sharing up to this point. Accounts limit how many people can stream at once, but you can log into as many devices as you'd like on a single account.

Even though Netflix subscribers are only supposed to share passwords with people within their household, Netflix hasn't done much to enforce it. When I visit the U.S. and my wife is still here in the UK, we both frequently watch Netflix at the same time. We're from the same household, so I believe it's all above board, but surely that should flag something up to Netflix.

According to The Streamable, these prompts have only appeared on TV devices, so Windows 10 PCs don't seem to be affected at this time. That being said, Netflix could roll the prompts out to more devices in the future. Regardless of which devices see the prompts, it appears that Netflix will try to stop password sharing.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

11 Comments
  • Why not take the approach every other service does and just only allow a certain number of concurrent streams per account? It'll then police itself as I'm not going to share my password with multiple people if it means I'm going to risk hitting that concurrent cap.
  • They do this now. You can sign up for 1, 2 or 4 concurrent streams at different price points from $8.99 to $17.99. I don't get their issue, same as you. Their terms though say the users must live together. Seems silly. Means 4 college guys sharing an apartment is OK, but a My Son at college can' share mine.
  • So, their price gouging and constant price hikes are enough, so now that want to go after people that share accounts with their 80 year old grand parents?
  • They are well within their rights. It sucks for those of us who have friends/family willing to share, but are you really trying to use the imagery of grandparents to justify that some people just want **** for free?
  • Yes, Mom and Dad who don't live with me. Son or Daughter that are away at college. All in violation of the terms of 'for use of those that live together'. The limit the number of concurrent streams by plan and price. They should deliver that. What difference does it make if I pay for 4 streams, who is watching them, and if they live together? It's a silly restriction, given they limit by plan and price. Nobody is getting it for free. You pay for a certain number of concurrent streams. What difference does it make where those stream go?
  • The author also pointed out a completely valid use case - watching Netflix on their own profile while overseas while their partner watches Netflix back home on their profile (both under the same account).
  • This is stupid, they allow multiple users per account, it shouldn't matter where those users live. Netflix is already twenty bucks in Australia now, and now they want to start putting in restrictions like this, what a-holes.
  • Yeah Netflix is bound to falsely flag people for "illegitimate" password sharing both due to it's wide user base and the sheer number of valid reasons why people would share a single password and not be located/living at the same address.
  • Wasn't it Netflix just a few years ago that said they encourage password sharing because it gets the service out to more people? This is a complete 180 from that.
  • So if you're sharing this with a family member, surely you'd pass the code onto them straight away? I know a member of my family is sharing his account with another member and certainly, that's what will happen - you could probably set up an automatic email rule to forward those messages to everyone you've shared it with. Just found this https://themanifest.com/app-development/streaming-statistics-2020-how-co... if it's true, then presumably Netflix can see this as an easy opportunity to get more revenue, probably easier than getting the none subscribers on board.
  • Sure I'd share the code, but if it comes in as a text or e-mail, I would need to be on my device, when my legitimate family member wants to watch something, and be in a position to forward it. Say I'm in New York and my kid at UCSD wants to watch something at 9PM. I'm going to be a bit put out. This considering I pay for 4 streams in the first place.