Using Amazon’s Prime Video App

Are you an Amazon Prime subscriber? One of the benefits is access to Amazon’s video streaming service called Prime Video. You can watch Prime Videos in a web browser on your computer or using the Prime Video app on your iOS device, such as an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. This Tech Tip will give you an introduction to using the Prime Video App on your iOS device.

I assume you know how to visit the iTunes App Store to get and install the Amazon Prime Video app. When you open Prime Video you’ll need to login to your Amazon account. Then you’ll see 5 buttons across the bottom. These are the 5 main sections of the app:

  1. Browse
  2. Watchlist
  3. Library
  5. Settings

Start by clicking on the Browse button. Here you’ll see the videos that you can watch. Please note the row of buttons that appears across the top. The buttons are TV, Movies, Originals and Kids. The Originals section is where you’ll find videos created by Amazon, such as House of Cards. Click on a specific video and you’ll see these buttons: Watch Now, Download and Add to Watchlist.

These buttons are pretty self-explanatory.

  • Clicking Watch Now will cause the video to start to stream to your device.
  • Clicking the Download button will download the video to your device so you can watch it later, even if your device does not have an Internet connection at that later date. Thus, you could watch the video while on a plane trip. The downloaded video will, of course, appear in the Downloads section.
  • Clicking Add To Watchlist will add the video to the Watchlist section so you can stream it at a future date. Streaming requires an Internet connection, unlike downloaded videos.

The Settings section isn’t very exciting. You will be unlikely to use it frequently. The primary reason to visit Settings is to adjust some steaming and download options if you want to make changes. If you ever need to sign-out of your Amazon account you can do so in Settings.

We’ve covered four of the five sections. Only the mysterious Library section remains. Its name does not immediately indicate its purpose. If you click on the Library button you’ll see that it is likely empty. So, what is its role? Let me take a step back before I answer this question.

It’s important to point out that Amazon has a large collection of videos available and only a subset of those TV shows and movies are available to Prime subscribers, for free viewing. The Prime Video app let’s you watch this subset of videos. It also lets you view other videos, which I’ll call non-Prime TV shows and movies, but you have to buy these shows or movies on your Mac. This is one of the confusing, or at least, non-obvious things. Amazon could let you buy TV shows and movies within the Prime Video app, but if they did this then they would have to a give some of the sale price to Apple. Amazon doesn’t want to do this, so you have know to purchase non-Prime movies and TV shows on your Mac at Amazon’s web site. If you find and purchase a non-Prime movie, for example, then when you return to the Prime Video app on your iPad you’d find this purchased movie in the Library section. Thus, the Library section displays all non-Prime TV shows and movies that you’ve purchased at the Amazon web site.

It’s also really useful to know that the subset of videos that are available to Prime subscribers changes over time. For example, around the end of 2016, Amazon made all James Bond movies available as Prime videos, but only for a week or two. As far as I know there’s no easy way to know when a video will move into or out of the Prime video realm. I know that I’ve added Prime TV shows or movies to my Watchlist. Then weeks or months later I review my Watchlist and discover that they are no longer available to Prime subscribers.

I hope this article helps you to use and understand the Prime Video app.


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