BBC iPlayer turns on TV downloads for mobiles

Viewers will now be able to download and keep BBC TV content on their iOS devices for up to 30 days, with Android phones and tablets set to follow.

Fans of BBC TV shows can now download programmes to their iPhone or iPad via the iPlayer app, in addition to streaming them over 3G or Wi-Fi.

BBC iPlayer mobile downloads
Viewers can now download BBC TV programmes to their iOS devices and keep them for 30 days. Image credit: BBC

Programmes downloaded in the UK can be saved for up to 30 days, meaning people can watch them abroad on holiday. They will be available for a further seven days after the initial viewing.

The update to the iPlayer app is available for iOS devices initially, with Android set to follow.

"With mobile downloads for BBC iPlayer , you can now load up your mobile phone or tablet with hours and hours of BBC television programmes, then watch them on the road, on the tube , on a plane, without worrying about having an internet connection or running up a mobile data bill," Daniel Danker, general manager of Programmes and On-Demand for the BBC, said on Tuesday.

The download feature is simple enough to use: tapping on the Download icon adds the programme to the queue, and the video will be downloaded to the device the next time it connects to Wi-Fi.

The BBC is working to make more of its content available on mobile devices. In July 2012 alone, it received 30 million requests for iPlayer TV programmes via mobile or tablet, according to the broadcaster.

Adobe recently revealed it would bring its Flash Player app back to Android in order to support the iPlayer app, having previously announced it would end support for Flash on the OS . The company said it was working with the BBC on alternative ways of viewing content on mobiles that would not require Flash.