It remains unclear when exactly the new Screen Lock feature went live, and the Google Play Store listing does not indicate it is rolling out as part of a typical app update. However, the feature is now widely available and should be accessible the next time the app is launched.
First spotted by 9to5Google, the change adds a new Screen Lock to the app’s playback controls. Essentially, whenever a video is now playing through Netflix, tapping the screen – this time intentionally – will display the usual playback controls. Although, now there’s also the Screen Lock option as shown below.
Once tapped, this renders the phone display’s touch controls useless. Tapping the screen will continue to bring up the overlay, but instead of showing all of the playback controls, only the option to disable the Screen Lock will be visible. In spite of the playback menu still showing, the feature will ensure playback remains uninterrupted – no matter how many times the display is tapped.
The only exception to this rule is when you directly tap on the Screen Lock icon as this will activate a second prompt asking if you want to disable the feature. Tapping on the second prompt exits the Screen Lock, returning the phone back to its normal state.
Netflix lock can’t protect you from Android swipes
The feature works as expected and easily removes the likelihood of the user accidentally pausing the content, hitting further along the timeline, or worse still, pressing the “Next Ep.” control before it’s time.
However, Screen Lock does not offer complete protection as it has no influence over the controls that operate outside of the Netflix app. For example, swiping down from the top will still activate Android’s Quick Settings menu. Likewise, if gesture controls are fully enabled on a later Android version, then a swipe from the left side of the display will still back out of the video and into the Netflix menu.
For all of the Netflix controls, however, Screen Lock works exactly as intended.