Kodi is a free, open-source media center for just about any device imaginable. Created back in 2004 for a modified Xbox, the platform has grown to accommodate those on many different operating systems, as well as bring developers in to create and distribute their own add-ons. While questions of legality still linger, it’s completely safe to download Kodi and try it out right now.
This guide is entry point, showing you how to install Kodi and perform some basic setup. Make sure to check out our Kodi archive if you want more advanced tutorials or check out our full Kodi guide for an overview.
Most platforms allow a Kodi installation, but some are most difficult than others. Let’s run through all major installations Team Kodi offers.
Installing on Windows & Mac
The easiest way to install Kodi is on Windows or Mac. There is an additional install method on Windows, but it’s still as simple as clicking a button. To download Kodi, take the following steps:
- Go to kodi.tv and click on “download”
- Scroll down and click either “Windows” or “MacOS”
- Select “installer”
- Following the on-screen prompts once the download finishes
MacOS offers both 32- and 64-bit installers while Windows only provides a 32-bit one. While it will work on 64-bit systems, you can also get a dedicated installer. All you need to do is head to the Windows store, search for Kodi and find the 64-bit version.
The same is true for any device with a Windows OS, including Xbox One and Windows tablets. Kodi officially supports all of them, so there’s nothing weird or special going on.
Installing on Android
Android installation is just as simple, barring software limitations put in by the manufacturer. The list of devices is small, so it’s best just attempt the install normally and see if it fails to know if there’s a block.
As a note, this process applies to all devices running Android, not just smartphones and tablets. If you have a Smart TV, for example, that runs some version of Android, then the process is still applicable.
Take the following steps to install Kodi on most Android devices:
- Go to the Google Play store
- Search “Kodi”
- Click “install”
You’ll need to load it on yourself if either Kodi doesn’t show up or won’t install. This is due your device being loaded with an Arm processor over an Intel or AMD one in most cases, but that’s not a hard rule. The process isn’t too complicated but requires a bit more attention.
It’s important to check the processor inside of your device before moving forward, as it will determine which installer you need. You can usually find this under the device information in the settings menu.
First you must allow installation from unknown sources. Every device has a slightly different naming scheme for this, so use your best judgment. The general process works like this:
- Go to “settings”
- Select “security”
- Enable “unknown sources” or anything similarly named
Open a web browser on your Android device once that’s done, and head to the Kodi website:
- Click “download”
- Select “Android”
- Click either “ARMV7A” or “ARMV8A” depending on your CPU
- Let the downloaded finish and select the .apk file
- Click or tap it and run the installer
Your Android device may not have a download manager where you can quickly select the .apk file. In that case, simply go to any file manager and choose it from there.
Installing on iOS
There is no official installation for iOS. Kodi isn’t available in the App Store and, as iOS users know, that means there is no other way to install it unless you have a jailbroken device.
We’re not going to dive into jailbreaking here, but we’ll still give you the install method if you already have a jailbroken device. Those of you who do will be familiar with Cydia, the unofficial source for applications, and you can get Kodi from here, but only up to version 15. There are some additional steps to get the latest version.
- Go to Cydia and install iFile
- Open Safari and head to the Kodi website, selecting “download” once it loads
- Click iOS and select the appropriate .deb file
- Wait for the download to finish without closing Safari
- Once completed, select “Open in…” and then “iFile”
- iFile will open and select “install” from the action menu
Installing on Linux
Linux has one of the more intimidating installation processes when compared to the others on this list. For most Linux users, though, it should prove pretty easy (hey, if you can handle our best VPN for Linux, you can handle anything).
If you don’t have an OS yet, you can use KODIbuntu which packages Ubuntu and Kodi in a single installer. The XBMC Foundation doesn’t have an official installer for the current version of KODIbuntu, so you’ll need to dig around for an archived one.
You can install the latest version of Kodi without KODIbuntu, though. It involves the terminal, so most members of Team Penguin will feel right at home. Open it up and enter the following lines:
- sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
- sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa
- sudo apt-get update
- sudo apt-get install kodi
This is the only official installation method on Linux, but there are other ways not supported by Team Kodi. There’s an extensive write up on the Kodi wiki if you want to try something else.
Installing on Raspberry Pi
A Raspberry Pi is a mini, Arm-based computer focused on providing flexibility in many contexts, one of those being a dedicated Kodi box. This is probably the most cost-effective way to get Kodi in a single unit.
Outside of the Raspberry Pi board, a power supply and a case, all you’ll need is a fast memory card. As video decoding is more resource intensive than many other processes, this will help everything run smoothly while streaming.
After formatting your SD card to FAT, take the following steps:
- Download NOOBS (New Out Of Box Software) onto your computer
- Extract the file and copy the contents to the formatted SD card
- Plug the SD card into the Raspberry PI and power it on
- After some loading, select either “LibreELEC” or “OSMC” from the OS list
NOOBS is a very user-friendly tool that allows Raspberry Pi users to install any OS they want. Both LibreELEC and OSMC are Kodi-centric JeOSs (Just enough Operating Systems) meaning they are purpose-built to run Kodi and nothing else.
While both are good, I’d opt for OSMC vs. LibreELEC if you just want Kodi. They’re similar, but OSMC is self-updating while LibreELEC isn’t, a process that can be more intensive than the install itself.
Setting Up Kodi
You need to set Kodi up once it’s installed. There are a few steps to take since the application is entirely empty when first loaded.
You can to add your personal media as a start. Open Kodi and do the following:
- Select the category of media
- Click “enter files section”
- From the folder options click “add videos…” or whichever media you’re attempting to add
- Select “browse”
- Navigate to the location of your media folder and click “OK”
Repeat this process with any media you have, and use the “remove from menu” option to take out any categories you don’t need.
The latest version of Kodi is far better looking than the prior ones. There is still plenty of room for customization, though. Skins completely change the look and feel of Kodi, often overhauling the UI and changing navigation entirely.
Open up Kodi and do the following to install a new skin:
- Go to the settings (cog icon)
- Select “interface settings”
- Click “skin” and then “get more…”
A list of available skins will appear. Select any one, and the install will begin immediately. You can store as many skins as you want, so feel free to download a few until you find something you like. You can change options, like color, of a skin too. Just select “skin settings” instead of “interface settings” on the setting screen, and you’ll find all of the available options.
The last step is installing add-ons. These can come either officially or unofficially and, thankfully, Kodi fully supports both. A repository of official add-ons is included with each install, and you can access them by selecting “add-ons” from the menu. Check out our list of the best official Kodi add-ons for some suggestions.
Unofficial add-ons are more tricky, but still fair game. There are two methods of installation, either via a .zip file, or downloading directly through the URL. The former is always the better option, but you may opt for the latter if you can’t extract the file on your box.
Enable Unknown Sources
You need to enable Kodi to install from unknown sources before downloading unofficial add-ons. Similar to Kodi installation on Android, this process is imperative. To do so, take the following steps:
- Click the “settings icon”
- Go to “system settings”
- Hover your cursor over “add-ons”
- Tick the “unknown sources” slider to the right
Some versions of Kodi already have this feature enabled, but it’s best to check either way. You’ll never have to do it after the first time unless you update to a new version, so there’s no need to check each time.
Installing From a Zip File
You must download a .zip locally to install from it. Just head to the URL where the repository lives and select the file you need. For example, download the Kodil repo (http://kdil.co/repo/) by going to the URL and selecting “kodil.zip”. If you need a list of repositories to install, check out our list of the best Kodi repositories.
After that completes, open up Kodi and take the following steps:
- Click “add-ons”
- Go to the “add-on browser” (open box icon)
- Click “install from zip”
- Navigate and select the saved .zip file
You’ll get an add-on enabled notification, and can then install add-ons from inside the repository. Use the “install from repository option” in the same menu and navigate to the one you installed.
Installing from URL
You don’t always have the option to install from a .zip file, though. Some setups, such as those on a Raspberry Pi, require that you install via a URL. You’re essentially doing the same thing except Kodi is installing and extracting the file instead of you doing it manually.
You have to point Kodi towards the correct URL for that to happen. Open up Kodi and do the following:
- Click the “settings icon”
- Go to “file manager”
- Select “add source” from the left column
- Click “<none>”
- Enter the “URL” for the repository you want
- Give it a name
The process after that is the same as installing from a .zip file. Use “install from repository” to browse the list of available add-ons inside of it as you would with the other installation method.
When using unofficial add-ons, you’re meddling in questionable legal areas. The only way to keep yourself protected is with a VPN, and it’s essential to use one whenever Kodi is running.
A VPN keeps you anonymous online, blocking your ISP from tracking your IP address and logging all of that data. Privacy laws aren’t the best, especially in the U.S., and a VPN is the way to combat that.
Furthermore, you watch region-locked content with one. Much of the content available won’t load based on your region, such as many live streams of sports. Since you’re anonymous, there is no way to know your region and, thus, the content unlocks.
Using a VPN is dead simple too. Many companies provide an app either on your desktop or mobile device where, at the touch of a button, you’re connecting to the internet through a secure tunnel. Read our list of the best VPN for Kodi for ideas.
Kodi is intimidating at first, but we hope this guide eased the process for you. It’s one of the best ways to organize and view media, and there’s no reason why someone shouldn’t use it merely because it requires more setup.
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Have you set up Kodi yet? Let us know in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading.