Published On: Mon, Feb 12th, 2024
Technology | 3,549 views

New BBC iPlayer block will stop you watching shows on popular devices

One of the most-used BBC iPlayer features is about to see a dramatic change that will block some UK viewers from accessing it. Downloading shows and watching them on the move is a popular function of this streaming service as it means users can take BBC programmes and view them without needing an internet connection. That’s perfect for long-haul flights, trips in the car or endless train journeys.

Currently, iPlayer fans can download content on smartphones, tablets and laptops but that’s about to change. The BBC has confirmed that it will soon stop the option for viewing offline when using Windows-powered PCs and Apple’s MacBook.

New users have already been blocked from downloading the BBC iPlayer Downloads app and existing fans will find they can no longer use it from Monday 11 March.

Any existing downloads will be available until April but after that date, they will stop working as well.


• Windows PCs including those running Windows 10 and Windows 11

• Apple MacBook devices including MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and MacBooks

“We have started the process of closing the BBC iPlayer Downloads application for PC and Mac. You can still download your favourite programmes using the iPlayer mobile/tablet app,” the BBC confirmed in a post on its website.

It’s unclear why the BBC is ending support for laptops but it could simply be not enough people were using it.

The decision is, however, proving unpopular with those who are currently accessing iPlayer on their PC being left dismayed with one named Jo saying, “BBC iPlayer downloads has been my lifeline. My internet is super unreliable, I don’t have a tablet and my phone screen is tiny, I don’t wanna watch Sherlock on that.”

Here’s the full timeline of the closure of this service

• From Friday 2 February, new users will be unable to download and install the BBC iPlayer Downloads app

• From Monday 11 March, users will no longer be able to download programmes from the web. Users will still be able to watch any existing downloads until Monday 8 April 2024.

• From Monday 8 April, the BBC iPlayer Downloads app will be closed.

Don’t forget, you can still use devices such as iPhones, Galaxy smartphones and iPads to download shows. Just launch the iPlayer app then tap “Download” underneath the episode you want to download

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