Older readers may remember Must-See TV, a period in the 1990s when NBC’s weeknight lineups (particularly on Thursdays) had achieved a level of dominance rarely seen in the broadcast and cable TV eras. Today the powerhouse is undoubtedly Netflix, the world’s premier streaming service and creator of half the oddball shows in the creative universe.
Whether you’re looking for films, television shows, or Netflix Originals, Netflix has content for everyone. That universality means that it’s all too easy to start sharing your account with friends and family. Account sharing is a lovely way to build closer relationships with your friends, family, and neighbors. It’s also a great way to watch your favorite Netflix shows without having to pay for a subscription.
But what happens when you come home from work, kick off your shoes, grab something to eat, and fire up Netflix, only to be greeted with an error message alerting you that too many people are using your Netflix account? Or, what do you do if you notice some suspicious activity on your Netflix account?
In this article, I will show you how to deal with exactly this situation. (First, are you sure someone’s piggybacking? Check out of our article on how to detect Netflix intruders.)
Netflix has a tiered service model with levels that permit one, two, or four streams at a time on your account. However, if you try to pull down more streams than your subscription tier allows, Netflix will immediately put a stop to your shenanigans.
Netflix is pretty generous with their streaming allowances and is pretty flexible about letting people piggyback on their friends’ or family members’ subscriptions, so although there are people who will try to teach you how to beat their system and get more streams than you’re paying for, you won’t find that information here.
Instead, we’re going to talk about what to do if you’ve permitted too large a population of “passive viewers” to gather at your Netflix watering hole.
How Can I See What Devices Are Using my Netflix?
If you’re curious about who exactly is using your account, it’s very simple to get a report of what IP addresses and what devices are associated with your Netflix account.
In older versions of Netflix, there used to be the option to “See recent account access” from within the “Viewing Activity” section. However, this option is now gone.
Instead, there is an entry called “Recent device streaming activity” under “Settings.” This shows what device has accessed a Netflix account, when they logged in, and where they accessed your account from. If you see a text link for “See recent account access” at the top of your Viewing Activity, select it. It will show you what devices have used your Netflix account and when. It also lists IP address but the device type is typically more useful.
You should be able to identify which family member or roommate is using your account from the type of device they are using to access it.
If you don’t see “See recent account access” or “Recent device streaming activity,” then you need to look through your viewing history for anything you have not watched recently. If you see multiple entries for The Crown and you know you haven’t watched it because you would definitely fall asleep, you now know someone else is using your account.
Another sign of a “Netflix Intruder” can come if you see odd suggestions on the main screen. If you begin seeing random or completely irrelevant suggestions, especially Nicholas Sparks movies, chances are someone else is using your profile and influencing your Netflix suggestion algorithm.
Lastly, if you notice that someone logged into your account from Maine, for example, but you don’t know anyone who lives there, then your account may have been compromised. (Be sure to check with your friends, though, as they might just be using a VPN.)
How Do I Kick Someone Off My Netflix Account?
If someone is using your account without your permission or you’re just tired of other people mooching off of you, then you’ll need to take the steps to kick other users off of your account.
There are three ways to kick people off of your Netflix:
- Visit their place of residence, pick up the remote, pause their show mid-stream, and log them out of the app.
- Delete their profile.
- Sign out all users from Netflix and change the account password.
Our legal department spoke to us quite firmly about recommending the first option, so now we’re mandated to tell you that it is “unwise” and “unnecessarily confrontational” to carry out such a plan. Accordingly, I will say only the first option is heavily discouraged, so only instructions for the second and third options will be displayed here. Remotely deleting a user’s profile is a little passive-aggressive, and they may ask you about it. So it is probably worth asking the person about their usage first.
Delete Their Profile
If you pay for the account and cannot get access, that isn’t fair; however, a little gentle questioning might be a good first move before kicking anybody off of your account. Ask who is using your account and perhaps ask them to log off so you can watch it. If the person respects your need for Netflix, they should comply. If they don’t, it’s time for Plan A: remote profile deletion.
- Open Netflix wherever browsers are sold.
- Click “Profile” in the upper right corner and select “Manage Profiles.”
- Select the profile you want to delete.
- Click “Delete Profile.”
Keep in mind, this won’t log them out of your account. It will just delete their personal profile, but they will still be able to use any of the other profiles on your account.
Sign Out All Users
If the person still has your username and password, they may be able to create a new profile for themselves. That’s when it’s time for Plan B: forced logout. You can forcibly log people out of your Netflix account, but it should not be done lightly. It will likely involve some kind of confrontation with whomever you log off. However, if you cannot get access to your Netflix, you have little choice.
- Log in to netflix.com.
- Select “Sign out of all devices” under Settings on the Account screen.
- Select “Change Password” at the top under Membership & Billing.
- Change the password.
- Log into Netflix using your new password.
Everyone who was using your Netflix device allocation will be logged out of the app. It should be noted, though, that it may not be instant. In some cases, it can take hours or even days for everyone to be kicked off. By changing the password immediately, they won’t be able to log back in and you will be able to binge as much as you like. Just make sure you inform all of the legitimate users of your account of the new password.
Account sharing is the reason many people are able to enjoy their favorite Netflix shows and movies, but it can be very frustrating when too many people are using your account and preventing you from watching. Sometimes, the only solution is to kick everyone off of your account.
Most households will understand your move if they have been leeching off your account for a while. Some won’t and you will have to be prepared to defend your position. At the end of the day, it’s your account and you are paying, so it is up to you how you manage it.