There’s nothing more frustrating than kicking-back to watch a movie or TV series and finding that Netflix is not working on your Mac. If Netflix won’t play on your Mac, it can be for a variety of reasons and here we show you the most common problems and solutions. Since 2014, Netflix streaming problems on Mac were reduced significantly when Netflix moved to using HTML5 instead of Microsoft’s problematic Silverlight plugin to stream movies in 1080 HD. Although initially this only worked for Safari users on OS X 10.10 Yosemite or higher, it now also works in Chrome for OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or higher, Firefox users running OS X 10.7 Lion or higher and Opera users running OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (see full system requirements for streaming Netflix in HTML5 here). However, sometimes Netflix won’t work on Macs for other reasons such as cache issues, plugin failure error messages, external monitor issues and mysterious n8151, n8010 and 2105 error codes which we look at in more detail here. Note that you can also sometimes solve all of your Netflix playback problems on Mac instantly by using an unofficial Netflix app for Mac such as Flix, iFlix or FlixMaster. These third party desktop applications don’t require your browser at all (which is usually the source of Netflix playback problems) and play Netflix inside the app. You can read more about the best Netflix apps for Mac in our article about Netflix movie viewing software for Mac. Please note that there’s no way to make Netflix work on a non-Intel Mac – even if you can find an old version of Silverlight to install on your PPC Mac, Netflix will request you to upgrade to an Intel Mac before it will play anything so it’s not even worth trying.
Use HTML5 To Play Netflix On Mac
You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle by making sure that Netflix is no longer using the unreliable Microsoft Silverlight plugin and use HTML5 streaming instead. In our experience, the best browsers for Netflix on Mac are Safari or Chrome because they were both the first to use be supported by Netflix to stream in HTML5. However, both Firefox and Opera are also now supported on Mac if you prefer to use them instead.
To start watching Netflix using HTML5, follow these instructions:
1. Newer Macs: Upgrade to the latest version of OS X and use Safari, Firefox, Chrome or Opera
If you’re already running OS X 10.10 Yosemite or above, Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Opera automatically support Netflix streaming in HTML5. To upgrade though, you must have a late 2011 Mac onwards and the latest version of your browser so make sure you’ve updated OS X and your browser to the latest version. You can check how old your Mac is and other specs by clicking on the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen and selecting About This Mac to see exactly what version of OS X you are using and when your Mac was built:
If your Mac is from late 2011 or onwards, you can upgrade to the latest version of OS X by simply opening The Mac App Store in your Dock and going to Updates in the top Menu. Or you can click on this macOS Sierra link to automatically open the App Store and upgrade to the latest version of OS X which is currently OS X 10.12 macOS Sierra.
2. Older Macs: Switch to Google Chrome
If you’re still using an older version of OS X (from OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard onwards) Google Chrome allows you to stream Netflix in HTML5 on older versions of OS X although you must “force” it to do so. Simply open Netflix in Google Chrome, go to Netflix Playback Settings and select Prefer HTML5 player instead of Silverlight:
Close Chrome and then reopen it and you should find Netflix plays using the HTML5 player instead of Silverlight.
Note that some users are still getting an Error Code S7363-1261-FFFFD000 when trying to stream Netflix using both Silverlight and HTML5 in Safari on Yosemite. There seems to be no solution to this other than to use Chrome instead until Apple or Netflix have got to the bottom of it.
Netflix Display Errors On Safari In Yosemite & El Capitan
OS X Yosemite users trying to watch Netflix in Safari with two monitors connected to their Mac may find using HTML5 doesn’t work to stream Netflix. Some users report experiencing a “Please ensure your monitor is HDCP compliant and is not mirrored using airplay” error when trying to play Netflix videos using Safari in HTML5 mode.
It seems to mostly affect those using a Thunderbolt-VGA adapters and although there is no official solution or fix for this problem, there are a few tricks that have worked for some. They are:
- Activate the Develop Menu in Safari. To do this open Safari and go to Preferences – Advanced and select “Show Develop menu in menu bar”:
The in the Develop menu in Safari, select an older version of Safari:
This basically makes Safari revert back to an older version that Netflix works properly with. Note that if you open a new tab, you’ll have to do this process again. Other fixes include:
- If you’re using DisplayLink drivers for your monitor, updating to the latest DisplayLink drivers can also help.
- Try using a a Thunderbolt-DVI adapter instead
- Switch to Chrome for Netflix streaming
- Switch back to Microsoft Silverlight to watch Netflix assuming that Silverlight is working for you. If it isn’t, read some of the suggested fixes below.
If none of these work, then you must simply unplug the second monitor until Apple or Netflix issue a fix for the problem.
Netflix Plugin Failure Error
If you’re getting a “Netflix Plugin Failure” error message when connecting an external monitor, it’s a conflict between Netflix and your graphics cards.
If you’ve got a newer MacBook Pro, it has two graphics cards – an integrated HD Graphics 4000 card and a more powerful discreet Nvidia GT 650M card. Your Mac switches between the two silently in the background depending on the demands of your Mac. Silverlight will not work if your Mac is using the discreet graphics card which it often switches to if you plug-in an external monitor. To fix this, all you have to do is close down all other apps (including your browser) and unplug the external monitor to make your Mac switch to the default Integrated graphics card. Restart your browser and open Netflix and start watching a movie or show. You can then re-attach the external monitor and it will work. You can download a useful app called gfx which tells you which graphics card your Mac is using and allows you to force your Mac to use either the integrated or discreet graphics card (although not if you’ve got an external monitor attached).
How To Fix Silverlight Netflix Problems On Mac
If you don’t want to or can’t use HTML5 for whatever reason, then you must fix Silverlight. Silverlight is a plugin by Microsoft which Netflix used to deliver video to users although as we’ve already made clear, it’s now been replaced by the more reliable HTML5 standard. Silverlight can be notoriously problematic and unreliable and a nightmare to diagnose what the problem is.
The first thing to do is to make sure you definitely have Silverlight installed. Silverlight is a Microsoft plugin that allows you to watch video in Microsoft’s Silverlight format on your Mac. There are two ways to install it – either via Microsoft’s site or by trying to play a video in Netflix which will prompt you to perform the installation automatically. Netflix also provide full instructions how to install Silverlight on a Mac.
If you’ve already got Silverlight installed, then it’s likely the problem is to do with the installation. The real problems start when this plugin starts to malfunction so if you’re experiencing problems with Silverlight, there are various fixes and solutions you can try described below.
Common Silverlight Problems On Mac
The problems are usually related to bugs in the Microsoft Silverlight plugin (Microsoft software on Apple products often never ends happily). Signs that something is wrong with Silverlight on Mac are errors such as:
- Being constantly prompted to reinstall Silverlight (known as “install looping”)
- Getting an error code such as error 2104, error 2015, error n8151 or error n8010
- Videos not loading
- Blank or black screens
- Silverlight keeps crashing
- Videos keeps freezing
- Netflix is choppy
- Netflix full screen mode is not working
- “Netflix plugin failure” error message
If you’re experiencing any of the above, here is a complete list of steps how to fix them. There are also specific problems with Netflix in Firefox on Mac, which we’ve gone into more detail further down.
- If this doesn’t work, first check to see if Silverlight is working with your other browsers such as Firefox, Chrome or Safari by opening Netflix in them depending on which one you are using. If Netflix is working, then the problem is simply with your browser. Clean both the cache and cookies which in Chrome you can do by going to Preferences, Settings scroll down to Show Advanced Settings and then click Clear browsing data….Then try using Incognito or Private Browsing mode by going to File and New Incognito Window and try Netflix again.
- If Netflix keeps asking you to reinstall Silverlight even though it’s already installed, it may be because your browser is trying to access an outdated or corrupted cookie file. To fix this, make sure you are logged-into Netflix and go to https://www.netflix.com/clearcookies. You will then be automatically logged-out of Netflix. Go to Netflix Home then Member Sign In to log back in and try to play a movie or TV show again.
- If this doesn’t work and you’re using Chrome, check that Silverlight is definitely installed by typing: chrome://plugins/ into the Chrome URL bar and scroll down the list to see if Silverlight is installed and enabled
- If you have the HTTPS Everywhere plugin installed, disable it by clicking on the HTTPS Everywhere icon.
- Disable any antivirus software you may be using.
Netflix Safari Problems With Silverlight
If you’re using Safari 6.1 or later, you must ensure that Safari isn’t blocking Netflix access to the Silverlight plugin. To do this:
- Go to “Preferences” in Safari in the top Menu bar
- Click the “Security” tab and then go down to “Manage Website Settings…”
- Select “Silverlight” in the plugins list. If you see the critical security issue warning, make sure you update the plugin first.
- If everything is OK, select the Silverlight plugin on the left, and make sure that “Allow” or “Always Allow” is selected. You can also select “Ask” if you prefer to be asked before Silverlight is accessed by Netflix. You can read more on Safari plugin settings here.
If none of this works, then it’s definitely a problem with your Silverlight plugins folder and you need to completely uninstall Silverlight. The problem is that Silverlight is notoriously hard to remove properly on Mac and you need to perform some manual removal. Here’s how to completely uninstall Silverlight on a Mac.
How To Uninstall Silverlight On Mac
- If you have more than one user account on your Mac, the Silverlight plugin is duplicated in both your Root Library folder and User Library folder. You must therefore go to: ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins in your local folder and clear out old versions of the plugin which are causing the problem. The problem is that Netflix has probably been constantly trying to access the outdated local user version rather than the root version. The solution is to fully uninstall and reinstall the Silverlight for Netflix plugin by following these instructions:
- Close any browsers that are open e.g. Firefox, Safari, Chrome etc.
- Install a free app removal utility called AppCleaner
- Search for Silverlight and then select the installed components that AppCleaner automatically finds and delete them:
Now download and reinstall Silverlight again. If you receive the warning “Silverlight.dmg cannot be opened because it is from an unidentified developer” it’s simply because it wasn’t downloaded from the Mac App Store and Apple has not certified it. You can still install it however by right-clicking or holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on Silverlight.pkg. Select Open on the pop-up menu and then click Open on the prompt that says “Silverlight.pkg” is not from the Mac App Store. Are you sure you want to open it? Opening “Silverlight.pkg” will always allow it to run on this Mac.” You can then complete the installation of Silverlight on your Mac and Netflix movies should now play as normal.
How To Uninstall Silverlight On Mac Manually
- If this still doesn’t work you need to delete the files manually instead. Click on your Macintosh HD and select Library and then access both the Internet Plugins and Receipts folders to delete all Silverlight files. These include:
- /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/Silverlight.plugin
- /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/WPFe.plugin
- Then go back to Macintosh HD and select System and then Library, Internet Plugins and make sure any Silverlight files are deleted.
- Finally, go to back to Macintosh HD and select Library, Application Support, Microsoft and delete the entire Silverlight folder. Empty Trash and reinstall Silverlight.
How To Fix Silverlight Problems In Firefox
Firefox can be particularly fussy when it comes to Silverlight on Mac. If you’re seeing an error page or a black/blank screen when trying to watch Netflix on your Mac then again, t’s probably due to a problem with the Silverlight plugin. This can be due to various issues but sometimes its because if Silverlight is not updated regularly, Firefox automatically disables the plugin for security reasons. Make sure that Silverlight is Enabled in Firefox by going to the Tools menu and selecting Add-Ons. Click on Plugins and make sure that Silverlight is enabled.
If Silverlight is enabled and Netflix still doesn’t work, follow this checklist to fix the problem:
- Close Firefox.
- Follow the uninstall instructions above using AppCleaner to make sure you have completely removed Silverlight from your Mac.
- Open Firefox and go to the Silverlight DRM Test page. Click on the box that says Install Microsoft Silverlight.
The Silverlight installation file will be downloaded onto your Mac. Double click on it to launch the Silverlight for Mac Browser Plug-In installer.
When installation is complete, wait for around 15-20 seconds and a test video should start playing if the installation has been successful.
If you can see the video, Silverlight for Mac is working correctly in Firefox and you should be able to watch Netflix in Firefox.
If none of the above helps fix Netflix on your Mac, try the following solutions:
- Try going to the Tools menu, select Add-ons and the Extensions tab and disabling any other add-ons that may be blocking Silverlight especially ad or tracking blockers such as Ghostery.
- If you are using Lion, some folders are hidden from view and you may be receiving an N8156-6013 error, n8151 error or n8010 or error 2105. You must unhide your Library folder and delete some folders. To unhide folders in Lion, install invisibliX which allows you to easily toggle hidden files in Lion. You must then delete the PlayReady folder in your Library in both your User folder and your Macintosh HD. There’s no need to restart your Mac afterwards – Netflix should start working again.
How To Force Netflix To Play In HD On Mac
Netflix automatically chooses the bitrate to play videos on your Mac based on your connection speed and even if you have a fast connection, it doesn’t always select HD by default. To force Netflix to open in HD simply click on the video window to make sure it’s selected, hold down the Control+Shift+Option+S keys at the same time and Netflix will manually switch to HD.
Netflix For Mac Apps
Although there is no official Netflix for Mac app, there is third party Netflix movie viewer software for Mac available. In our experience, many of them either don’t work or provide little more than a browser in a desktop app experience. However there are some worth checking out. Flix For Netflix is one of the few Netflix apps for Mac that actually works but for more details read our article on the Best Netflix Movie Viewer Software For Mac.
And if all else fails on your Mac, you can always watch Netflix on your iPad instead because there is an official Netflix app for iPad and iPhone which allows you to watch Netflix movies and TV shows within the app.
Finally, if all else fails you might be best to simply buy a box to stream Netflix or a USB TV stick such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick which you can plug into your Mac and means you’ll never have any problems streaming Netflix on your Mac again. And you’ll get other benefits such as access to Hulu, ESPN and HBO Now.
Alternatively, the last resort is to install Windows on your Mac using software such as Parallels. Netflix users on Windows generally have fewer problems because the Silverlight plugin that Netflix users is developed by Microsoft. You can find more details here on how to install Windows on Mac using Parallels or how to install Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp which is a free tool included in OS X.We hope these tips have got Netflix working again on your Mac. If it has and you want to know how to record Netflix on Mac, you might also be interested in our article on How To Capture Netflix On Mac.
For any other issues or problems you are having with Netflix on your Mac, let us know in the comments below.