What is the difference between Downloads and Mobile Sync?
“Downloads” is a replacement for our original “Mobile Sync” functionality. Downloads uses a new method for handling the downloading of content from your Plex Media server to your mobile device. It is designed to be faster, more robust, and to allow downloading without requiring the content to be transcoded in more cases.
One of the big differences is that Downloads requires an active Plex Pass subscription for the end user who is performing the download, not for the owner of the Plex Media Server, as such.
- If you run your own Plex Media Server, you will need a Plex Pass subscription on your account to use the Downloads feature.
- If a close friend shares a library with you and enables the ability to Download/Sync, then you will also need a Plex Pass subscription on your account, regardless of whether your friend has a subscription or not.
- If the admin of a Plex Home has an active Plex Pass subscription, then the members of the Plex Home that physically live together can use the Download/Sync functionality from the main Plex Media Server (if enabled for each share).
Can Managed Users use Downloads?
Yes. Managed users will be able to use Downloads as long as the admin of the Plex Home has an active Plex Pass.
Can I use Downloads from a shared server even if that owner doesn’t have a Plex Pass?
Yes. The server owner must allow the ability to Download when sharing with you and you will need an active Plex Pass subscription on your account.
Can I finally download media without having to transcode it?
Yes, that is one of the main differences with Downloads. If the device you are using can direct play a file, it can be downloaded without needing to transcode.
Not every file is guaranteed to be able to download without requiring a transcode. For instance, not every file will be capable of direct play on a device or the server might have remote streaming limitation in place (which will still apply when downloading remotely). But a much wider range of content will be able to download without requiring a transcode.
Can I still download content at a lower quality to save space?
Yes. There is a separate setting for Downloads. These are global settings that will apply to all content you download. If you change the setting, it will only affect content you Download in the future; existing content will not be changed.
Are subtitles downloaded?
Subtitles can be downloaded following your current subtitle burn-in option on your client. If the stream will currently play the subtitle without needing to be burned-in to the video, they will be downloaded as they are. If you have set your subtitles to always burn-in, then the subtitle will be burned-in prior to download and no additional subtitles will be downloaded.
Can I use ASS/SSA subtitle with my Anime videos now?
The Plex for Android app still does not fully support ASS/SSA subtitles. If you want all the formatting that comes with that format of subtitle, you will need to set your app to burn in the subtitle. If you do not burn in the subtitle, it will be downloaded and you can choose to enable it during playback, but you will only see the text with basic formatting.
Can I Download my entire library?
The Downloads feature is not designed or intended for downloading an entire library of content onto a device. You can choose specific items to download. That includes individual movies, episodes, or tracks; entire seasons, shows, albums, or artists; playlists; and more.
Can I cast/fling downloaded content to another Plex client or through Chromecast?
Casting or flinging downloaded content to another device is currently not supported.
Can managed users on the same device see content another user downloaded?
Yes. Downloaded content does not have a concept of ownership. Parental restrictions do not apply to Downloads, so managed users can see, playback, and manage all previously downloaded content.
I tried to use Downloads but the status just shows as “Initializing Downloads”.
Some downloads require obtaining information from the server before it can be downloaded. This may take many minutes, depending on the amount of content available on the server. Simple Download jobs such as a single video or a single TV show should begin almost immediately.
Does the played status for downloaded content update with the server?
Yes. The client will store and track playback progress per user. Your watched status will not be impacted by other users on the same device. The watched status will be updated with the server when the app next syncs information.
Will the app continue to download media if the device goes to sleep or the screen saver activates?
No. File transfers cannot work if the app is moved to the background such as when the screen turns off or the device goes to sleep. The app must be running in the foreground. If the app is on the “Items” tab of the “Downloads” library, the app will actively keep the device awake and continue to download media to your device.
What about users I already shared with, prior to the migration to Downloads?
Existing Plex users will be allowed to use Downloads with any shared server as long as the admin of that server has a Plex Pass. This will preserve the current behavior with Sync. New users will need their own Plex Pass, regardless of the shared server’s Plex Pass status.
When will new users need to have a Plex Pass to use Downloads?
The exact date has not yet been chosen. The date will be provided once a decision has been made. It will be a date in the future.
If I create a new share with a user that has an old Plex account, will they be able to use Downloads?
Yes if that Plex account existed before the to be determined cut off date. You do not need to already be sharing to that Plex account for them to be grandfathered into the feature.
Can I prevent users I share my server with from using Downloads.
Yes. The current “Allow Sync” option when sharing a server has been renamed to “Allow Downloads” and will cover both the old Sync and new Downloads. During our opt-in preview period, Downloads is only available from servers whose admin has a Plex Pass. Once this preview period is over, all server admins will see this option and be able to allow/disallow to use Downloads with their server. The user will then need to be grandfathered as mentioned previously or have a Plex Pass subscription.