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Change This Netflix Setting Now to Beef Up Your Account Security

Netflix's basic username and password login isn't enough, but this tool can help.

Netflix logo
If you like your Netflix profile the way it is, you should probably put a PIN on it.
Sarah Tew/CNET

You use a PIN number to help keep your bank account secure, but you probably didn't know that your Netflix account can offer the same kind of protection for your privacy. You should still update your password on a regular basis, preferably with the help of a password manager, but with the streamer getting more serious about password sharing, an extra layer of security against freeloaders never hurts.

While some streaming services like Hulu and Apple TV Plus have two-factor authentication, which pairs your password with a code sent by text message or an authentication app, Netflix does not. But the streamer began offering profile PIN protection in 2020 as part of its parental controls, and it's a good idea to use it as an added layer of protection and personalization -- whether you have kids or not.

Why should you put a PIN in it?

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Activating a Netflix profile PIN will help curb kids, roommates and parents from tampering with your recommendations, watchlist or viewing history. 

Have you ever opened the app to find a slew of kindergarten shows clogging up your Continue Watching row? Or maybe you've been caught off guard by all the new recommendations suddenly appearing in your queue "because you watched The Great British Baking Show," which you really never did, but your mom binged it. Add a PIN and block outside interference from hackers, loved ones or anyone you've shared your coveted Netflix password with. And while your 13-year-old may not like being barred from sneak-watching Bojack Horseman, the PIN code is one parental control feature that can give you peace of mind. 

Another perk of the PIN? For those who provide Netflix access as the owner of an Airbnb or other vacation rental property, locking your profile can steer visitors toward the designated guest profile. Because you can control whether additional profiles can be added to your account with a PIN, those guests may also be less inclined to try and mess with your Netflix setup.

Read more: 10 Helpful Netflix Tricks You Need to Try

How to add a PIN to your Netflix profile

Netflix allows you to add a PIN to individual profiles on an account, but it must be done through a web browser rather than the app on your TV, gaming console or phone. Once you log in to your account, navigate to Account settings. Scroll down to the Profile & Parental Controls section of your profile. As the account holder, your profile should be at the top. Navigate to Profile Lock where you'll see the word "off" if a PIN is not activated. Click "Change."

You'll be prompted to type in the account password before heading to the Profile Lock screen. Mark the box that says require a PIN to access your profile. Create a four-digit code and click Save. Now, when you use the Netflix app, you'll be asked to enter the code to stream or download content. As the account holder, you can also set it up where users must enter a PIN to add more profiles. If you're the only person who knows the code, you're the only one who can create additional profiles.

Four cubes on Netflix profile lock screen

Choose your four-digit code carefully.

Screenshot by Kourtnee Jackson/CNET

It should be noted that anyone who knows your Netflix account password can alter the PIN requirements on the main account profile, as well as any other profile. With that in mind, you can update your password to share with trustworthy adults or opt to set up PINs on each person's behalf without giving up the password. The latter is ideal if all viewers live in one household.

Certain devices won't ask for a PIN

Once you save your PIN settings and your information is updated, you will be prompted to enter the PIN code each time you open the app and tap a PIN-protected profile. However, you may find that some devices don't ask for it. Though this may occur when you click on a locked profile, according to Netflix's help page, the PIN will still be required to watch a film or TV series within that profile.