Netflix Not Working on iPhone or Pod? Here’s a Fix

I don’t watch much TV, but as of late I started biking while re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I find it hard to watch new programs while exercising, so I wanted something familiar yet with a lot of action. After finishing the first season box set, I was going to purchase the second season (the only one I don’t own), but decided to see if Netflix offered Buffy for watching instantly. When I found out they did, I activated my free trial and set up my Wii to start watching.

Since I now had a Netflix account I wanted to try it out on my iPod Touch 4G. I downloaded the app, logged in, picked an instant movie, and it would think for a while then kick me back to the movie information page. After scouring the Neflix site and searching Google for about an hour I finally found the solution in the Apple Support Communities.

User sriramk wrote:

I spoke to Netflix support and they helped me fix this issue.

Solution: Switch from your automatic DNS settings to Google’s DNS server. General->Network->Configure TCP/IP->Manual and pick

Now, I was stumped a bit since I have an XBox 360 on the same network with no issues. The support guy said that Apple TV connects to their licensing servers a bit differently so this should fix the issue.

I was a bit skeptical when I read this, why should a different DNS server make any difference, but I was desperate to get it to work so I changed the DNS setting to in my wifi settings on my iPod. Low-and-behold a movie actually started playing when I tried it again.

I found this fix also worked on my daughter’s iPod touch 1st Gen.

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  1. The catch with using Google DNS or any other non-regional DNS provider is that CDN networks like netflix (unless they use an alternative method) use DNS to point you to the nearest server farm, by using Google, you are no longer guaranteed the nearest one. Having said that I have my DNS setup to query 8-10 providers at the same time (including Google/OpenDNS and my providers) and accept the fastest response, so in two consecutive requests for the same name I could get different responses.

  2. I’ve benchmarked all the DNS servers serving my area with GRC’s DNS Benchmark:

    I’ve found that my IPS’s DNS server is consistently faster than everyone else’s including Google. I used to use open DNS, but it can’t compare to my local one.

    How are you getting your DNS to query multiple servers at the same time? I thought it was a sequential list — it checks the first one on the list, if it times out it checks the second, etc.

    I actually use my router as my DNS server so it can resolve local hostnames, then my router forwards queries it doesn’t understand to my local ISPs DNS. I do have to say that my internet access on my iPod does seem a bit snappier now that DNS isn’t going through my router, but I can’t access my local webservers by name.

  3. Netflix only working wifi on my 4s iphone but not on cellulat 4g tried re installing several times rebooting nothing works

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