Jun 28

Netflix iPad App

You’ve settled down after a long day to watch a little Netflix on your iPad.  You open the app, select what you want to watch, and… nothing.  Tapping the Play button gives you a brief slide of the screen as though the video is getting ready to start, then you’re right back where you started without so much as a frame of video playback.  What gives?

The first thing you can try is making sure that you’re running the latest version of the Netflix app.  Go to the App Store and see if there’s an update available.  If you’re up-to-date and still no dice, you probably have a DNS problem.

DNS is a technology that translates domains (e.g. netflix.com) into an IP address.  If your wireless router uses certain technologies to speed up DNS juju, Netflix on your iPad may not work properly.  But there’s a quick fix: change the DNS address on your iPad.

Here’s how:

From the Home screen, select Settings > General.  From the General menu on the right side of the screen, select Network, then Wi-Fi, then tap the blue arrow next to the wireless network you’re connected to:

Choose a Network...

This will take you to the configuration menu for your iPad’s wireless network settings. You’ll see several IP addresses – your iPad’s IP, Subnet Mask, your wireless router’s IP and DNS:

Wi-Fi Network Configuration Screen

Tap the DNS field and change it to a third-party DNS service like Google Public DNS or OpenDNS.  Either of the DNS addresses below will work, but you can also use other services if you wish:

8.8.8.8 (Google)

208.67.222.222 (Open DNS)

After you’ve changed the DNS address, press the Home button to return to the Home screen and restart your iPad (press and hold the Screen Lock button for a few seconds, swipe to power off, then press the Screen Lock button again).  After the iPad is back up and running, re-start the Netflix app and see if the problem is fixed.

You may also notice some improvement in the time it takes Safari on the iPad to fetch new web pages if the DNS you use is faster than the one you were using by default.

Still having a problem with your Netflix playback on the iPad or iPad 2?  Let me know in the comments section.

M. Nichols, Products Editor

3 Responses to “Solution: When the Netflix iPad App Won’t Play Streaming Video”

  1. Daniel Blair-Johns Says:

    I would like to thank you. I’ve been banging my head against a wall trying to figure out why Netflix would stream from my PC and my PS3 fine within my network but I had issues on my iPod Touch. After updating the DNS, sure enough it streams now. I don’t know why it wouldn’t work using my gateway’s DNS since it works on my PC and PS3, but either way problem solved.

  2. Jill Says:

    I would also like to thank you! I have tried everything — rebooting, clearing my iPad memory, moving to different locations around my router, trying 3G only, trying in my other office, etc. I didn’t realize that Netflix app doesn’t work with iOS 5 and lo and behold, there was an update. Thank you!

  3. Sally Says:

    This problem just happened today, and it’s driving me nuts! Tried both the Google and Open DNS numbers, and restarted, but neither worked. Hoping I don’t have to take it in…

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