Sunday, May 29, 2011
PSA: Netflix for Android spontaneous deactivation fix
Today Netflix on my Android phone (a Nexus One) started giving me this error:
It looks like Netflix has been deactivated on this device. It could be an issue with your account or perhaps your device was deactivated on netflix.com. (2004)
Netflix only lets you have 6 devices activated per account, so at first I thought I might be bumping into the limit, but it turned out that that wasn't my problem.
The thing that eventually worked was to clear all data for the Netflix app. To do this:
- Go to the home screen.
- Press the menu button.
- Select "Manage apps" (or "Settings", then "Applications", then "Manage applications" on older versions of Android).
- Select the "Downloaded" tab.
- Select the Netflix app.
- Click on "Clear data".
The next time you open the Netflix app you'll need to sign in again, but then it should be working correctly.
I talked to Netflix customer support about this issue and apparently they had a ton of devices spontaneously deactivate in the last day or so. It sounded like they either don't really understand the cause, or just didn't want to share the details. Based on the fix it seems like some sort of authentication token either got corrupted or had the server-side rug pulled out from under it. Clearing the app data seems to force it to get a fresh token.