We’ve all been there before — stuck on a long car ride or a camping trip with nothing to do. And you can’t even stream anything online because you don’t have connectivity. That’s where your Plex downloads come in handy. As highlighted in our Plex review, Plex lets you download content from your Plex Media Server and save it to your device. So you can watch Plex offline no matter where you are.
That means you can effortlessly watch your favorite movies and shows on your next road trip or even on a long plane ride. The best part is you won’t have to deal with annoying buffering issues due to bad connectivity.
In this guide, we help you figure out how to download Plex content for offline viewing. We also show you how to access and manage your Plex downloads.
How to watch Plex offline
One thing to note about this feature is that it’ll save the content only to the device you’re currently using instead of in the cloud. That means you won’t be able to access it offline on another device unless you manually download it there too. But keep in mind that you’ll need the Plex Pass upgrade to get the offline download feature on mobile devices.
How to download Plex shows
Step 1: find the content you want to download
Choose the content you want to download. This could be anything from movies and TV shows to music and podcasts. For TV series, Plex even allows you to download entire shows and seasons in addition to individual episodes for offline viewing.
Step 2: initiate the download
To start the download process, select the “Download” option from the context menu of each item you want to save for offline viewing. You’ll find this menu when you hover over a poster or on the top right-hand section of pre-play screens. For individual items in list view, say a music track that’s part of an album, you’ll see this menu on the right side of each row.
If you plan on downloading an entire TV series or podcast, Plex will give you the option to limit the number of unplayed episodes to download. You can even choose whether to remove the episode from your “Downloads” library after you’ve watched/listened to it.
If you want to cancel a download that isn’t complete yet, you’ll have the option to do so from the same context menu. Or you can also select the red “X” mark next to an item in your “Downloads” library.
How to access and manage Plex downloads
All the content you’ve downloaded will show up in the Plex Downloads library. To watch a downloaded video offline or listen to podcasts and music tracks, you just need to find them in this library. The same library will also display downloads that are in progress, so you can even choose to cancel the task from here.
Here’s how to access and manage your Plex Downloads library and play your downloaded content:
Step 1: go to your Downloads library
Choose “Downloads” on the left sidebar of your Plex home screen to access your Downloads library. This will open up all the content that’s currently or has finished downloading.
Step 2: sort your downloaded titles
Plex gives you the option to sort these downloaded titles, so it’s easier to find what you want to watch. Click on the second button on the top of your screen, next to “All Downloads,” and this will display a drop-down menu of sorting options. You’ll have the option to sort these downloaded files by the date of download, size on disk and title.
Sorting your downloads by title will organize your files in alphabetical order. This makes it easier to find what you’re looking for if you know the title of the show you want to watch. Sorting them by date of download helps you find your most recent or oldest downloads, so you can quickly watch them and get rid of them to free up space.
And if you sort them by size on disk, you should be able to easily find the largest files in case you want to delete them and free up space for newer downloads.
Step 3: select the content you want to watch offline
To start playing your downloaded content, click on the poster or artwork of any title you want to watch. This will instantly initiate playback so you can sit back and relax while enjoying your favorite movies and shows or listening to a captivating podcast. If you’d like to see more information about the content or access other items under it, such as episodes, seasons and tracks, click on the title of the download.
So, for instance, let’s say you’ve downloaded one season of Fear the Walking Dead. If you click on the show artwork, Plex will immediately start playing the season from the first episode. But if you click on the name of the show, i.e., Fear the Walking Dead, it’ll open up the list of episodes, and you can select one that you want to start playing.
Step 4: delete watched titles from your library
If you want to delete the content you’ve watched to free up space in your Downloads library, select the red “X” button on the right side of each title that you want to remove. This will delete downloaded files from your Plex Downloads library. For downloads that haven’t finished, this action will stop the process.
Our hot take
The process of downloading content to play offline on Plex is pretty straightforward. Just follow the steps given above to start watching your favorite movies and shows even when there’s limited or no connectivity.
Do I need a VPN to watch Plex offline?
You don’t need a VPN to watch Plex offline.
How do I download the Plex app?
You can download the Plex app from your respective device’s app or channel store. Select the app and click on “Add,” “Download” or “Install,” depending on which device you’re using. This will instantly finish the download and installation. Don’t forget that you can also access the Plex web app using your computer browser.
How to download Plex shows on Android
To enable the download functionality on your Android mobile or tablet, you need an active Plex Pass subscription, which costs $4.99/mo. This plan comes with a Mobile Sync feature, which allows you to sync the downloaded media on your Plex Media Server from the web app to your mobile or tablet device.
Choose the content you want to download to your Android device. Then select the “Sync” icon at the bottom of the left menu bar. Choose the destination where you want to sync it (in this case, your Android mobile or tablet). Then adjust the sync settings to your liking, such as the number of items, size and whether to exclude watched episodes.
Click on “Sync” to begin the process of transcoding your chosen content. Once this process finishes, tap on the “Sync” icon on your Android device to download Plex content for offline viewing.