If you want to start using Kodi so you too can stream your favorite shows, movies and sports games, you’re in luck: the service is available on pretty much every platform out there. There are, however, a few OSes that still have some trouble, which is why here at Cloudwards.net we’ve put together a Kodi sideloading guide.
If you’re looking for a more general overview, our full Kodi guide is where it’s at. We also have guides to the best official add-ons and best unofficial add-ons for Kodi.
We’ll talk a little more about what sideloading is in a bit, but it’s basically an unofficial way to install software on devices that don’t support it (but can still run it). As such, following these steps will void any warranty on your device, so proceed at your own risk.
What Is Sideloading?
Sideloading refers to transferring files from one device to another without the need of a wireless network. For example, you take a file from your computer and load in on an SD card and then plug that SD card into your phone.
In the case of installation, sideloading would be downloading an installer on an SD card (or any storage device) and loading it at the destination. Android is usually the target of sideloading, but for the sake of the guide, we’re using it as an umbrella term.
While it may just be a simple software block, some applications are unavailable because of how resource intensive they are. Kodi is lightweight enough that nearly any device can run it, so it’s not too much of a concern, but be mindful of that if you plan on sideloading other software.
In most cases, sideloading simply means downloading an installer one place and opening it in another. There are, however, cases where different operating systems need to be flashed onto a device in order to install certain applications.
This guide won’t cover any sort of flash installation, but, again, it’s important to be mindful of risks in doing so should you jump down the rabbit hole of sideloading.
Installing Kodi on Android
If you can’t find Kodi in the Google Play store, then you have a software block. You can still install Kodi on your Android device, though, and, thankfully, it’s relatively straightforward to do so. This is a broad look at different Android devices, so the terminology may differ from device to device.
Android has a built-in feature to prevent sideloading, so we’ll need to disable that first:
- Go to settings
- Hit “security”
- Scroll down until you find “unknown sources”
- Enable it
Again, names change between devices. For example, “security” on Android TV is actually “security & restrictions,” so use your best judgment.
Now, onto the actual installation. You’ll need a web browser to complete it, so make sure you Chrome or something similar installed, especially on Android TV.
- Open your browser and go to “http://kodi.tv/download/”
- Scroll down and click on “Android”
- Select either “ARM” installer depending on your hardware
- Wait for the file to finish, click on it and select “package installer”
- The installation will begin
This works for nearly every Android device available. If you’re still having issues, download the .apk file onto an SD card, plug it into your device and install from there.
Installing Kodi on Amazon Fire TV
Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick both run forked versions of Android, so the installation process is slightly different.
You don’t need to root your device, but you do need to open it up and dig around.
- Select “settings” from the home screen
- Follow “system > developer options” (it may be “device > developer options” on some systems)
- Enable “ADB debugging” and “apps from unknown sources”
- Head back and following “system > about > network” and note your device’s IP address
Installing via Downloader
Typically, you’d need to install Kodi onto a Fire TV manually, but a piece of donationware called “Downloader” makes the install simpler. It’s available in the Amazon app store for free and speeds up the process significantly.
- Go to the Amazon App Store and install “Downloader”
- Launch the application and enter “bit.ly/kodi176” for Kodi 17.6
- Click “download” and wait for it to finish
- You’ll automatically be asked to install, so select “install”
- Once that’s done you can either hit “delete” to remove the .apk or “done” to exit
The shortened URL above is for the most recent version of Kodi at time of writing. However, you can use the browser built into Downloader to go to the Kodi website and install from there.
Installing via apps2fire
Another handy utility, apps2fire allows you to transfer any application installed on another Android device to your FireTV. This networked sideloading makes it simple because, in the case of the Fire TV Stick, there is no external storage port.
In order to install, you’ll need an Android device separate from your Fire TV.
- Open up the Google Play Store and install Kodi on your second Android device
- Install apps2fire from the Play Store as well
- Open apps2fire and enter the IP address on your Fire TV
- Select Kodi from the list and install
Both your Fire TV and Android device must be connected to the same network for this to complete, so double check this is the case if you’re having issues.
Installing Kodi on iOS
You can install Kodi on any iOS device, but you must jailbreak the host first. The process is slightly different for each iteration of the OS, so make sure to double check before getting started. As always, there’s risk involved with jailbreaking, so proceed with caution.
You can install Kodi directly from Cydia, the source for applications on rooted iOS devices. However, the available installer is only for version 16, so you’ll need to take some additional steps to get the most recent edition.
- Open Cydia and install “iFile”
- Open Safari and go to “kodi.tv”
- Hit “download” and select the .deb file under “iOS”
- Wait for the download to finish without closing Safari
- Select the file and click “open in…”
- Choose “iFile”
- iFile will open with a menu and you can select “install”
- Click “done” once iFile is complete
You can swipe to delete the downloaded .deb file after install as it is no longer needed.
Installing Kodi on Apple TV
Kodi installation on Apple TV is not the only the most complex of the three, but the riskiest. You’re essentially installing Kodi through a developer backend on the device, so there’s a definite chance of bricking it if you’re not careful. We’re going to outline the steps, but you’re proceeding at your own risk.
Apple TV 1 and 2 don’t support the current version of Kodi, unofficially or otherwise, so you’re out of luck if you’re using one. Similarly, with an Apple TV 3, the device can’t be jailbroken so there is no way to install Kodi.
You can still use Kodi on an Apple TV 3 by installing it on another iOS device and using either AirPlay or AirParrot to mirror your device, though.
This tutorial is only for an Apple TV 4 as it’s the only device where you can install the most recent version of Kodi. You’ll need a few things before you begin:
- Apple Developer account
- Xcode 7.2 or higher
- The Kodi .deb file
- iOS App Signer for Mac
- A USB-C to USB-A cable
After you have all of these, grab your Apple TV and hook it up to a Mac using a USB-C to USB-A cable.
- Launch Xcode on the Mac and select “Create a new Xcode project”
- Click “application” under the tvOS section
- Select “single view application” and then “next”
- Give the project a name and click “next” again
- You’ll get an error, but it’s okay. Just select “fix issue” so Xcode can create a provisioning profile based on your developer account
- Sign into your Apple Developer account by selecting “add option” and entering your information
- Once done, select “Apple TV 4” from the drop-down menu
- Open iOS App Signer and select “signing certificate”
- Do the same with “provisioning profile” by choosing the name of the project in Xcode
- Select “Input file” and choose the .deb file downloaded earlier
- Click on “start” to get an IPA file
- Go back to Xcode and follow “windows > devices” and select the Apple TV 4
- Click the “+” button under “installed apps”
- Locate the IPA that iOS Signer created
This is the most consistent method of install, albeit a lengthy one. Kodi has a few different techniques on the official wiki so try one of those if this one is giving you trouble.
Team Kodi has worked tirelessly to get the software to every platform possible, so there’s no reason why Amazon and Apple devices should be locked out. That said, sideloading is reasonably painless and hopefully with this guide you should be on our way to streaming goodness in no time.
Before you do that, though, it’s important you sign up for a VPN when using Kodi. Questions of legality surround the platform, so a using VPN is good practice. This simple insurance policy will lock away your IP from lurking eyes and allow you to stream geoblocked content. Check out our best VPN for Kodi picks for recommendations.
Do you run an Amazon or Apple device? Let us know in the comments below how this guide has worked for you and, as always, thanks for reading.