10 Hulu Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts Everyone Should Know

updated Sep 23, 2019
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Credit: Marisa Vitale

Welcome to Watch Week! In honor of fall TV season and the newly minted Emmy winners, we’re streaming new content daily about watching television—because after all, watching TV is one of the best parts about being at home. Catch up on all of our episodes articles here.

There are a lot of reasons to love Hulu. Along with supplying thousands of popular television and film titles at your fingertips, the streaming service also provides a slew of tricks and shortcuts to improve your viewing experience.

To help take your streaming game to the next level, we did our research and rounded up some of the smartest hacks that Hulu has to offer.

1. Manage your profiles

Every Hulu account can maintain up to six individual profiles to track your viewing history and Watchlist. Since Hulu recommends titles based on each unique profiles’ viewing habits, do yourself a favor and set up as many different ones as possible to produce different suggestions for each of your (or your friends’ and family members’) favorite television and movie genres.

2. Use your smartphone as a remote

Looking for a way to make searching for titles on Hulu a breeze? Download the Hulu app to use your smartphone as a remote instead of tediously typing out titles with your television remote. 

3. Keep track of new episodes with your Watchlist

One of the things that sets Hulu apart from other streaming services is its awesome Watchlist feature, which allows you to create a personalized list of all the shows and movies you watch (or plan to). Your watchlist also keeps track of all your favorites so that whenever new episodes are added, or something is set to expire soon, you’ll see a badge near it to notify you. 

Credit: Sandra Rojo

4. Don’t forget to manage your My Stuff

Similar to Watchlist, Hulu’s My Stuff feature allows you to track and organize titles—but only ones that you add manually. Available on the latest Hulu app, feel free to import your Watchlist to My Stuff so you can control your favorites from your smartphone. 

5. Customize your subtitles

Not only does Hulu allow you to enable or disable closed captions and subtitles while streaming, it also lets you format the appearance of the text —aka color, size, and font—too. Just click on “Select Settings” under the Account menu and pick “Subtitles & Captions” from your smartphone to personalize your subtitles however you see fit. 

6. Personalize your ads

The only thing worse than an ad interrupting your Hulu binge is an ad that you don’t like to watch. Luckily, Hulu lets you choose between different ads and advertisers, giving you choice and control over the ads that play. Look for the “Ad Selector” feature on your Account page to custom tailor your ad experience while streaming. 

Credit: Javier Díez/Stocksy

7. Clean up your Watch History

Nothing messes up your Hulu algorithm faster than an unappealing title in your Watch History. Keep your queue clean and clear of titles you don’t want in your Keep Watching feed by removing any undesirable titles from your Watch History on the Home menu or taking advantage of the Stop Suggesting feature to remove unwanted recommendations from appearing.  

8. Up your search game

Although Hulu no longer offers an advanced search option, there are plenty of specific modifiers you can use in the search query to improve your results. According to the good folks at Lifehacker, you can use quotes to search for a specific phrase or enter “episode:” to filter by episode number and bypass the need for an advanced search tool. 

9. Don’t pay for Hulu while you’re on vacation

Who knew you could temporarily pause your Hulu account so you don’t have to pay for it while you’re on a business trip or vacation? Simply locate the “Your Subscription” section on your account page and click “Pause Your Subscription” to put a hold on your Hulu account for up to 12 weeks. 

10. Or access Hulu when you’re outside the United States

Streaming Hulu titles when you’re out of the country can be tricky, especially in places like Europe where U.S. video content can’t be displayed. Fortunately, browser extensions like Hola are available to help mask your IP address so you can access your favorite streaming sites as if you were in the States.