Kodi is a versatile and open-source streaming solution. As the successor to Xbox Media Center (XBMC), Kodi is an effective tool for organizing and playing back your favorite multimedia content. Like a lot of open source software, Kodi comes with a lot of documentation and extensive community support, but the setup and use of the software can still be a bit overwhelming. Our guide walks you through the basics, including installation, updates, libraries, add-ons, and customizations.
First let me clarify some common misconceptions about Kodi. Kodi's official software is completely legal. Kodi has no content; You add files that you legally own, and you can install officially approved add-ons that provide legal access to content. Kodi believes that "viewing or intercepting illegal or pirated content that would otherwise require payment is not endorsed or approved by Team Kodi."
Because the Software is Open Source Some people install modified versions of Kodi on third-party hardware and sell them as Kodi boxes. Note that Kodi does not sell hardware and does not support any of these boxes. However, it also offers its branding for hardware cases, such as the Kodi Edition Flirc case for the Raspberry Pi 4 (RPi).
Some of these Kodi boxes are legal and contain official Kodi add-ons. Others are loaded with third-party add-ons, some of which are legal and others are not. The only difference between an official Kodi add-on and a legitimate third-party vendor is that it was not submitted for approval. The use of illegal third-party add-ons in any Kodi implementation is obviously also illegal. PCMag does not tolerate illegal activities.
For more information, see our detailed explanations of Kodi.
Depending on the device, installing Kodi can be a daunting task. In any case, start on the download page of Kodi. Kodi lists all platforms supported at the time of release: Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android, Raspberry Pi and iOS (technical). Kodi is also available on the Xbox One. Click on one of the platform logos to view the available installation files. Three version options are available for each platform: Recommended, Pre Release and Development Builds (for the upcoming version 1
Kodi's Leia build focuses on improving software stability over the previous Krypton release. Further improvements (from the first version 18.0) can be found in the Kodi blog. Linux users may also be interested in seeing the Kodi Foundation join the Linux Foundation in 2019.
Kodi on Windows and MacOS
At the end of the difficulty spectrum are the uncomplicated Windows and MacOS installations. On the Windows side, Kodi offers three options: a download from the Microsoft Store, a 32-bit installer, and a 64-bit installer. For macOS, you can only choose between a 64-bit installer. When the file download is complete, just follow the installation instructions to the end.
Kodi on Linux
On Linux, open a terminal window or SSH and enter the following commands line by line:
sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt repository ppa: team-xbmc / ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install kodi
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Kodi for iOS
You can try to get Kodi on your iOS device by jailbreaking and installing Cydia, with App Signer or with Cydia Impactor, but all these methods are laborious and may not even work. If you need to have Kodi on your iOS device, follow the steps in Kodi's iOS manual. Otherwise, we recommend using a device that is compatible with Kodi or any other media management solution such as Plex or Emby.
Kodi on Android
On Android, the easiest way to install Kodi directly from the Google Play Store. If this does not work for some reason, you can download one of the ARM-based installation packages (newer devices should also opt for the 64-bit ARMV8A option) on your device.
To set up Just enable installations from unknown sources (for Android 9, go to Settings> Apps & Notifications> Special App Access> Install Unknown Apps). Navigate to the Kodi download page with one of the privileged apps and download and install the package. Remember to disable the setting for unknown apps later.
Kodi on Raspberry Pi
The easiest way to get Kodi up and running on the RPi is a Linux distribution designed specifically for Kodi's execution. Kodi's official site lists some options, including the "just enough" operating system LibreELEC. To install this distribution, just download the LibreELEC USB-SD Creator tool (available on Windows, MacOS or Linux) and choose the right image for your RPi generation. Then select the removable SD card you want to target with your RPi.
Although the LibreELEC image requires only 2GB of free space, it recommends at least 4GB, so you have room for everything else stored locally. When you have completed the installation process, simply connect the card to your RPi, connect the RPi to a display, and turn it on.
Installing Kodi may be problematic depending on the platform. Nevertheless, you have to update the software someday. For the most part, updating Kodi does not differ from the installation. With the exception of the Google Play Store, the Microsoft Store version and some Linux-based installations, Kodi does not update any of its apps automatically. Therefore, you must download and reinstall the latest version yourself.
Kodi on Android
If you have Kodi installed from the Google Play Store, the app will update automatically. For manual installations, follow the same steps with the latest app version.
Kodi on Windows and MacOS
On Windows and MacOS, return to the Kodi download page and view the latest version for your platform. You do not need to uninstall the previous version before running the installer. All of your user data is in a different folder than the installation files, so none of your existing configurations are affected. Of course, you can back up these files before updating your software through the backup add-on (I'll discuss the add-ons below) if you have serious concerns. This add-on exports (manually or on schedule) your database, playlist, thumbnails, add-ons, and other configuration details to a local folder or dropbox.
Kodi on iOS
iOS users who have been able to install Kodi through Cydia can check for updates in the app's "Changes" section. All stable releases are simply displayed there when they are available.
If you chose Xcode, just open iOS App Signer, download the latest .deb file and reload Kodi (using the same deployment profile) to your device.
Kodi on Linux
For Linux installations, enter the following code line by line in Terminal or SSH:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt -get upgrade
In some cases, if the installation fails, you may also need to run the following command to install missing packages:
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade  Kodi on Raspberry Pi
RPi users are lucky. If you have used the LibreELEC distribution, Kodi should automatically update itself. If Kodi does not automatically update for some reason, you can try out some of LibreELEC's manual alternatives on its website.
Adding files to your Kodi library
Once you have Kodi installed, it's time to add some files. For the purposes of this guide, I tested Kodi with Windows and Android, but all options and procedures should be identical across platforms as long as you are installing the official Kodi version. I had no problems installing version 18.3 (Leia) on both platforms.
To reiterate, Kodi does not provide content. Therefore you have to add it yourself. On the left side of the application, you'll see a variety of content categories, including movies, TV shows, music, and pictures. These categories work with any local or remote files. So you just have to add one source. For example, click the Videos section and then the Add Videos button. Each content section works this way. In the pop-up window, select files from any folder on your computer or external drive (local or network). Once you add files, Kodi indexes everything and fills the appropriate sections with your files.
Some of the other categories in this menu, eg. B. TV and For the radio, a personal video recorder (PVR) is required. Setting up this connection can be complex. I encourage you to visit the Kodi PVR FAQ page on this topic if you really want to use this functionality. In short, the PVR software converts your cable signal into something that Kodi can actually handle. If you use an antenna to watch TV, you can install a PCI tuner or receiver for your computer or laptop. Cable users (especially in the US) may have more difficulty because vendors typically encrypt the signal. In this case, you will need to purchase a TV tuner that supports CableCARD and then connect it to your PC via Ethernet. In this scenario, cable companies must physically come to your home to install and activate the CableCARD.
Installing Kodi Add-Ons
Kodi add-ons differ greatly in their utility. Some more technical ones support different audio codecs or PVR backends. Others are more about visual elements such as screensavers or rendering visualizations. The best way to find useful add-ons is to browse the catalogs. You never know what could attract your attention. I would recommend starting in the Video Add-ons section as this section contains some recognizable apps like DAZN, Plex, Pluto TV, Twitch and Vimeo. Whatever your choice, installing add-ons is a simple process. Simply select the Add-ons section of the main content menu and enable the browser extension for add-ons. Categories of add-ons include: Appearance and
If you have found one that interests you, click "Install". Some may require additional configuration, but these settings are easily accessible through the My Add-Ons section of the interface. Here you can start, configure, update, disable or uninstall add-ons.
In addition to this centralized repository, Kodi gives you easy access to add-ons through relevant sections of the user interface. For example, if you navigate to the Pictures content menu section, Kodi will display all the add-ons you have installed. In my case, Kodi has listed the add-ons Google Drive, Flickr and XKCD (for viewing entries from the satirical daily web comic).
Should you use a VPN with Kodi?
You should use a virtual private network (VPN) when you connect to the Internet, especially if you use a public Wi-Fi network. If you would like to install and use add-ons (especially those of unauthorized third parties) that use your network connection, we recommend that you use a VPN to protect your privacy. However, a VPN is not a perfect security solution and can not prevent you from downloading malware camouflaged as a useful third-party add-on, or sharing your account information with an authentic-looking login page. A VPN is simply not required if you only use Kodi to manage local media.
Since there are no official VPN add-ons, you can install a VPN in addition to Kodi easiest to install on the appropriate device Kodi. A VPN protects all outbound Internet traffic on your device, including Kodi's. Native VPN apps are available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux-based systems.
If you've purchased a Kodi box or your Kodi installation is not otherwise compatible with a VPN app, Brian Hornsby offers OpenVPN for Kodi for macOS and Linux-based devices is another option. For this to work, you need to enable "Unknown sources" in the Kodi settings to install the ZIP file downloaded from GitHub and generate an OpenVPN profile from your VPN provider.
Customizing Your Kodi Installation  The easiest way to customize Kodi's appearance is to change the theme. Just go to Settings> User Interface> Skins. Kodi comes preinstalled with two standard skins: Estuary (standard) and Estouchy (touch screen-friendly). Click the Get More right button to add more skins. Note, however, that not all skins support all surfaces and features. For example, some are only suitable for touch screen devices, others do not work with the previously described PVR functionality.
If you chose one, go to the Skin Settings menu item to customize the appearance. You can select which items appear in the main content menu and toggle other items and animations. With Kodi, you can also update various graphics throughout the application, such as: For example, the thumbnails for music genres (Kodi calls these sets fanart) or the application background.
 Users can also customize how Kodi works by, for example, selecting the home page. If you use Kodi specifically to run a HTPC setup (especially after Plex has stopped supporting HTPCs), it makes sense to set the content sections for movies or TV shows as default. You can also set up a screensaver if you are not using your setup. The default options are a bit boring (either shrink the screen or fade to black), but there are also more visually appealing options available, such as: For example, those that display Bing's Photos of the Week or scroll through multiple Instagram feeds.
Kodi also displays useful information. You can configure the weather forecast information in the main content menu with various services such as Weather Underground and Yahoo Weather and permanently add it to the main menu. While the System Information tab is not customizable, it's great if you want to track hardware or network information on your device or quickly see how much storage is available.
If you have problems or just want to share your experience with Kodi on one of the many platforms, please add a comment below. We would like to hear your thoughts about Kodi and we are looking forward to hearing from you about the software. Check out Kodi's official community forums for the latest news and updates.