Netflix gives viewers the chance to completely ignore the images of shows and movies and use full audio. In an update first noticed by XDA Developers and then Android police, Netflix has started rolling out an audio-only mode for its Android app users.
When watching a video, subscribers will see a “video out” button at the top of the full screen video player. Once the video is turned off, a blank screen will appear with all the playback controls such as a scrub bar, forward and backward buttons, and speed adjustments. You can see that screen below, thanks Android police.
There is also an audio mute option in the app’s settings, which allows viewers to decide whether to always turn the audio off or only when using headphones or external speakers. It is unclear when all Android users will receive this update; two Verge staff members did not yet have access to audio-only mode.
However, this is an intriguing update, if only because audio has a moment. There’s all the buzz around the podcasting industry and Spotify’s efforts to catch up, of course, but Twitter is also launching audio tweets and apps like Clubhouse and TikTok that focus on audio as critical to their success. I didn’t expect Netflix to have an audio-only mode, but if it wants people to spend more time on the app, it means supporting them in situations where they can’t focus their full attention on a screen.