Netflix Improves Profile Transfers for Folks Impacted by the Password Sharing Crackdown

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As its war on password sharing continues, Netflix is making it easier for secondary users to extricate themselves from a primary Netflix account without losing precious profile data.

Although the company rolled out a Profile Transfer feature last year, it’s been hampered by one significant limitation: you could only transfer your profile while setting up a brand new Netflix account. There was no way to transfer your data to an existing account.

This may not seem like a serious problem at first glance since most people leaving one family’s account to strike out on their own would presumably be setting up a new account. However, many who were suddenly cut off from their favorite shows by the password sharing crackdown rushed to set up new accounts to keep watching without being fully aware of the profile transfer feature or how it worked.

Before today, you couldn’t use the profile transfer feature after you set up a new account — at least not without scrapping that account and starting over. To make matters worse, if the previous account owner had already removed your profile, information such as your My List, viewing history, personalized recommendations, and other settings would be gone forever.

While it won’t help those who have already walked away from their old profiles, Netflix is at least making things easier going forward with an upgrade to the Profile Transfer tool that will allow transfers into any existing account.

Starting today, the profile transfer feature has been updated to allow transfers to an existing account (instead of requiring a new account).


The information was posted as a footnote to the original Profile Transfer announcement. While there’s a bit more detail to be found in the company’s Help Center, it doesn’t say what happens to any profile data that’s already in the existing destination account — whether the new data is merged in or overwrites what’s there.

The Help Center article also notes that account holders can choose to turn off profile transfers, so if you find that this option isn’t available to you, that’s likely the reason why and you’ll have to contact the primary account owner to get them to adjust that setting.

Following an early 2022 trial, Netflix officially began enforcing its “one-account-one-household” policy earlier this year, starting in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain before bringing it to the US in May. The new rules limit the use of Netflix to members of the same household, with reasonable allowances for those who travel outside the home with mobile devices.

The restrictions are loose enough that a college-aged student who comes home at least once a month should be able to continue using the household Netflix account on an iPad or iPhone; however, a smart TV or set-top box in their dorm room would likely run afoul of the location monitoring features, which look for regular use of devices from different IP addresses.

In scenarios like this, Netflix requires that either the primary account holder pays for an “Extra Member” account to cover the other person’s viewing or that the non-household member spin off into their own full-fledged Netflix account. While “Extra Member” accounts make some sense for older kids and other extended family members, since it has to be paid for by the person who manages the main account, it’s not something most folks are likely going to be eager to do for friends and colleagues who may have previously been sharing the same password.

Naturally, Netflix wants to encourage folks to set up their own accounts, and it helps to make the transition process as smooth as possible. Hence, the Profile Transfer feature. However, this feature isn’t just for those who have been pushed out of a shared household account; it’s also an easy way for kids who leave home to strike out on their own to take control by having their own account without starting over from scratch.

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