Netflix changed the world. Subscription-streaming services dominate the TV landscape nowadays — even Apple is planning to get involved — and it’s all thanks to Netflix. But as the world screams into the future, some of our devices are left behind in the dust.
Users with older devices — like the iPad 2 or the original iPad mini — are well acquainted with this feeling. Not only are they unable to run the latest software updates, but they can’t download Netflix from the App Store because it’s “not compatible” with their iPad.
It’s hard to keep up-to-date on the latest shows without Netflix. So in this post we’ve explained how you can still download Netflix to your iPad, even if it says it’s not compatible.
- 1 Why isn’t Netflix compatible with my iPad?
- 2 What software is Netflix still compatible with?
- 3 How do I download older versions of the Netflix app?
- Is your iPad compatible with iPadOS? Here’s what you should know
- How to find your purchased iPhone apps on your iPad
- Netflix app not working on iPad or iPhone — let’s fix it!
- Netflix error 139 on your Apple device? How-to fix
Why isn’t Netflix compatible with my iPad?
Your iPad is limited by the processing chip inside it. The iPad 2 launched with a 32-bit A5 chip, but this year’s iPad Pro features a 64-bit A12X Bionic chip. According to Geekbench, that’s 15 to 30 times as powerful as what was in the iPad 2!
As Apple’s technology improves, they develop new software to take advantage of it. This is great for new device owners, but it eventually means older devices can’t keep up with the new software releases.
Despite Apple planning to release iPadOS and iOS 13 later this year, the iPad 2 is still limited to iOS 9. It simply lacks the power to run software more recent than that.
Where does Netflix come in?
App developers need to keep updating their apps to work on the latest software releases. As this continues, they can’t also keep maintaining older versions of the apps for outdated software.
Over time, these older versions develop more and more problems, which don’t get fixed. Eventually, app developers remove them from circulation altogether. When this happens, the app becomes unavailable for users with older devices.
That has almost, but not quite, happened with the Netflix app.
What software is Netflix still compatible with?
The latest Netflix app currently supports iOS 11 or later. If your device is running older software than that, you can’t download the latest version of Netflix from the App Store.
However, so long as your device is running at least iOS 5, you might still be able to download an older version of Netflix that is compatible with the software your iPad
What software is running on my iPad?
It’s useful to know what software you’re currently running so you can find out if Netflix should be available to you or not. You can do this from the Settings app on your iPad.
Open the Settings app and scroll down to find the General section. In the next menu, tap About to see information about your device. Find your current software listed on this page next to “Version” or “Software Version.”
The latest version of Netflix is compatible with iOS 11 or later. Previous versions of Netflix are still available for iOS 5 or later.
How do I download older versions of the Netflix app?
Although older versions of the Netflix app are still available, when you try to download them from the App Store you might get a message saying, “Netflix is not compatible with this iPad.”
If you did download Netflix before, try to find it from the Purchased page in the App Store app. That’s the only place you can get older versions of it. Click here if Netflix is missing from your Purchased page.
When you tap the cloud icon from your Purchased page to re-download Netflix, you should see an alert offering the last compatible version of that app. Tap Download, et voila! You get an old version of Netflix working on your iPad.
Don’t worry if you never downloaded Netflix before, there are still a few things you can try.
1. Update to a Netflix-compatible software on your iPad
Almost every device released after 2012 is compatible with iOS 11 or later. If you haven’t already, try updating your iPad to iOS 11 or later. The easiest way to get Netflix on your iPad, if it’s possible, is to update it and download Netflix from the App Store.
How do I update the software on my iPad?
- Use Wi-Fi to connect your iPad to the Internet. Check it’s connected by loading a new web page in Safari or streaming a video on YouTube.
- Open the Settings app and go to General > Software Update.
- Wait for your iPad to check for new updates, download and install any that are available.
2. Download Netflix from a device running compatible software
Lots of us have multiple Apple devices: an iPad, an iPhone, and maybe even an iPod touch. If you have access to other devices running iOS 11 or later, download Netflix from that device to make it appear in the Purchased page on your older iPad.
Whatever device you use, it must be signed in to your Apple ID account when you download Netflix. Otherwise Netflix won’t appear in the Purchased list on your iPad.
Check the account you’re signed in to on each device by going to Settings > App Store. Temporarily change accounts on the newer Apple device if necessary.
3. Download Netflix using an older version of iTunes
iTunes has seen a lot of changes, and now it’s on the way out entirely. But previous versions of iTunes (12.6.5 or earlier) had the ability to download iOS apps. You can use this to download Netflix in iTunes and make it appear in the Purchased page on your iPad.
If you already have iTunes on your computer, check what version you have:
- On a Mac: Open iTunes and go to iTunes > About iTunes from the menu bar.
- On a PC: Open iTunes and go to Help > About iTunes from the menu bar.
If you’ve got iTunes 12.6.5 or earlier, click here to download Netflix with it, making it available on your incompatible iPad. Otherwise, follow the steps below to install an earlier version of iTunes.
Unfortunately, you can’t install an earlier version of iTunes if your Mac is running macOS Mojave or later. In which case, you need to stick to the other solutions we’ve suggested.
How do I install iTunes 12.6.5 or earlier on my computer?
If you already have iTunes on your computer, follow this link to create a backup of your iTunes Media library. This protects your iTunes content from being overwritten by a second version of iTunes.
You should be able to run it alongside existing versions of iTunes on your computer. But if you can’t, follow this link to uninstall iTunes altogether. It’s not possible to do this if your Mac is running macOS Mojave or later.
How do I download Netflix using iTunes 12.6.5?
Open iTunes and select Apps from the drop-down menu. Click the App Store button and search for Netflix. Make sure you’re signed in to the same Apple ID account you use on your iPad, then download the Netflix app to your computer.
After iTunes downloads Netflix, you should be able to find it from the App Store Purchased page on your iPad.
We hope this guide helped you to get Netflix working on your iPad, despite originally saying it wasn’t compatible. Let us know in the comments what worked for you, and enjoy the vast world of Netflix shows that awaits on your iPad!
Dan is a freelance writer based in South West England.
He spent two years supervising repairs as a Genius Admin for Apple Retail and uses that knowledge to keep our troubleshooting guides up to date.
Long before that, Dan turned to Apple products from a musical background. Having owned iPods for years, he bought a MacBook to learn sound recording and production. It was using those skills that he gained a first-class Bachelor of Science in Sound Technology.