Netflix is cancelling an older, more affordable subscription that's only available for iPhone owners

an iphone is pictured on a table with earpods wired headphones tangled around it and netflix showing on-screen

Netflix is slowly removing the last holdouts of its grandfathered Basic plan, which offered ad-free viewing for £3 less than the current Standard subscription for new customers

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 02/03/2024

- 04:00

Six months after it stopped offering its Basic subscription, Netflix might finally close every loophole

  • iPhone users who subscribed to Netflix Basic via iOS will lose access
  • Netflix will force them to sign up on the website using a credit or debit card
  • Basic subscription is no longer available for new customers
  • Netflix replaced it with Standard with Ads and pricier Standard plan
  • It costs £3 more to watch Netflix without ad breaks in TV shows and films
  • Standard with Ads offers cheaper way to start watching ...with some caveats
  • It follows a similar move to switch Sky TV viewers from grandfathered tier

If you originally signed up for Netflix with the iPhone app, you’ve been enjoying a more affordable subscription than millions of other viewers worldwide. That’s because Netflix allowed iPhone and iPad owners to keep watching its Basic plan, which was canned last summer.

This subscription cost £7.99 per month and offered ad-free viewing of everything in the Netflix catalogue in 720p HD picture quality. Netflix pulled the subscription for new customers in July 2023, but those already with a Basic plan were allowed to keep it until they either upgraded or cancelled.

Over time, Netflix has slowly withdrawn the Basic plan from its last remaining holdouts, including Sky Stream and Sky Glass viewers and, with the announcement this week, iPhone owners.

If you’ve been paying for your Netflix subscription with the credit or debit card saved with your Apple account (previously iTunes account), you’ll soon have to wave goodbye to the Basic plan.

Netflix confirmed to The Verge that it’s winding down these legacy subscriptions. In a statement, it said subscribers who were paying for a Basic tier via iTunes "will now have to pay the company directly using a credit or a debit card”. Netflix, as well as other companies like Spotify, have blocked customers from subscribing inside iOS apps to avoid paying the 30% commission imposed by Apple.

This overhead cost has been the subject of a huge amount of controversy and lead to Apple allowing third-party app marketplaces to install software on iPhone and iPad in Europe later this year.

Since you’ll be signing-up to a new plan, you’ll have to choose between the current array of subscription options. These are...

Standard With Ads

Adverts? Yes, before and during shows and films

Full Netflix Library? No, some titles missing

Picture Quality? 1080p HD

Games? Yes, all mobile games included

Watch On Multiple Devices? Yes, up to two

Downloads? Yes, on up to two devices


Adverts? No, never

Full Netflix Library? Yes

Picture Quality? 1080p HD

Games? Yes, all mobile games included

Watch On Multiple Devices? Yes, up to two

Downloads? Yes, on up to two devices

Additional Members? Yes, up to one


Adverts? No, never

Full Netflix Library? Yes

Picture Quality? 4K Ultra HD with Spatial Audio

Games? Yes, all mobile games included

Watch On Multiple Devices? Yes, up to four

Downloads? Yes, on up to six devices

Additional Members? Yes, up to two

It’s not all bad news for longtime Netflix viewers on iPhone. With the current breakdown of Netflix subscriptions, you’ll need to choose between saving £3 each month compared to the cost of the grandfathered £7.99 Basic plan — and putting up with adverts during your favourite boxset binge or blockbuster movie. Or you’ll have to spend an extra £3 each month for the Standard plan.

Both Standard and Standard with Ads offer improved picture quality over the Basic plan. Netflix’s now-defunct subscription was limited to 720p picture quality, Netflix Standard with Ads offers full High Definition (HD) streaming at 1080p.


You can also watch and download shows and films on up to two devices at a time. That’s a doubling of the limit imposed by Netflix Basic.

Of course, if you really want to treat yourself, the £17.99 per month Netflix Premium plan offers 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, downloads on more devices, and other perks.

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