If you’re a fan of streaming media, you’re familiar with the usual suspects: Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, YouTube, and many more that can stream a program or movie your way in exchange for a subscription, pay-per-view, or even for free. But then there’s Kodi, a free, open-source, multiplatform app formerly known as Xbox Media Player or Xbox Media Center (XBMC), now run by the XBMC Foundation. It lets you play and view videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media derived from local or network storage and online.
So, what’s special about it? Kodi has evolved as a universal streaming app that works on almost any device and can play almost any media file format. It is not available on the Apple App Store, though, so it’s unauthorized for installation on any iOS device, at least not via Apple. It’s not illegal to own Kodi or to use it, but what’s problematic is how to get it in the first place.
If you can get it onto your device, you can use it to consolidate various media content. It can also stream media you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to, like copyrighted programming that you’d otherwise need a subscription to watch, region-restricted programming that does not play in your country, or live TV broadcasts that are restricted. Kodi also provides a flexible user interface and library system for storing and displaying material like posters, cast information, plot descriptions, and more. It will not stream from mainstream sources like Netflix, but it does come with its own catalog of approved add-ons.
While the popular notion is that you must jailbreak your iPhone in order to install Kodi, that is not the case, though it’s likely an easier installation if you do. Digital Trends does not recommend jailbreaking your iOS device for any reason or viewing material illegally. Kodi depends on users to do the right thing, knowing that if you don’t, there may be consequences it is not responsible for.
There are several methods and techniques you can follow to get Kodi onto your iPhone or iPad that do not jailbreak the device. The process is not easy or intuitive, and not all published methods work. I was successful in loading Kodi onto my iPad Air 2 using the following steps, with an assist from Apple’s Xcode and the App Signer app.
Using Xcode to install Kodi on your iOS device
- Download the Kodi DEB file (the latest version is 18.8), iOS App Signer, and Xcode from the Mac App Store. You must first convert the DEB file into an IPA file so it will play on your iOS device.
- Plug your iPad or iPhone into your Mac, and launch Xcode.
- Select File > New > Project, and select the iOS section up top. Click on Single View Application. Click Next.
- Here’s where the Kodi DEB file comes in. With a 64-bit Mac, use the DEB file that is labeled 64. It should be labeled: org.xbmc.kodi-ios_18.8-0_iphoneos-arm64.deb.
- Now, name the new application. Fill in Product Name (Kodi) and Organization Identifier (for example, your name: com.YourName). The other fields are prefilled. Click Next.
- Choose a Git repository location, like your desktop, and click Create.
- Under the Signing & Capabilities tab, click All. An alert calls for you to name a team. Add yourself as a personal team.
- Type in your Apple ID and sign in.
- Launch App Signer, and where it says Input File, find the Kodi DEB file by clicking the Browse button. Click Open.
- The signing certificate should be prefilled with your Apple ID. For Provisioning Profile, select the profile with the YourName identifier.
- A New Application ID will be filled in, but add Kodi as the App Display Name and click Start.
- Choose a file name and location in the Save As field and click Save. App Signer will process the data, save the file, and signal when it is done.
- Return to Xcode and choose Window > Devices and Simulators. Click on your iOS device in the left panel, and click the Plus Sign in the right panel.
- Select the .ipa file on your desktop and click Open. Wait for less than a minute until it installs the Kodi app.
- Unplug your iOS device from your Mac and unlock it. You’ll see the Kodi app icon, just like all your other app icons.
- You’re not done yet. You will see an Untrusted Developer alert when you tap the icon, so tap Cancel.
- Go to Settings > General, and tap Device Management. Under Developer App, tap on the account you used, and then on the next screen, tap Trust and choose the account. Tap Trust again.
You’re all finished and can now begin to use Kodi.
After installing Kodi
Sadly, you can’t automatically begin watching any program you wish. You’ll need third-party extras to get material with Kodi. We could write an entire extra article on how to add content to Kodi, but for now, you can check out its interface to gauge how the app works and the possibilities it offers.
Luckily, Kodi allows you to access myriad content across the Internet, with no restrictions, and the Kodi community can add even more content. Each user is responsible for following established media copyright and privacy rules to use online resources ethically. You’ll also want to make sure that an add-on is safe to use before adding it. It’s not always simple to identify suspicious add-ons, but the ones within Kodi’s interface are all legally sourced, helping users find content that is both safe and high-quality. Note that many people encourage Kodi users to set up a VPN alongside to ensure safety and avoid any ISP conflicts resulting from the program.
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