Netflix announced an updated version of its iOS app on Thursday for customers in the U.S. and Canada. The update is centered around improving the overall user experience while streaming movies and TV shows to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. One important improvement beyond that, however, is the ability to control mobile data use and avoid expensive overage fees.
Specific improvement tweaks include:
- A more consistent look and feel to onscreen controls that tie-in with the look and color scheme displayed while browsing through selections on an iOS device
- Playback controls have been optimized for touch devices – buttons and other elements are now larger and spread out more onscreen in an effort to prevent users activating the wrong control by mistake
- An improved scrub bar with thumbnails is designed to make scanning backwards and forward within a video more useful and intuitive
- Access to audio and subtitles settings along with other existing player features has been streamlined
Users in Canada that have enabled Facebook connection to the Netflix app now have an easier to use option to keep the app from sharing information on Facebook.
The biggest addition is the ability to disable video streaming when using 3G or LTE data. Streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix is very bandwidth intensive and can easily burn through the data included in most monthly smartphone and iPad data plans, particularly for owners of LTE-enabled new iPads.
In announcing the updates on the company’s blog, Michael Spiegelman and Chris Jaffe who lead Netflix’s mobile development teams noted that mobile device access to Netflix content continues to grow on a monthly basis.