Kodi, previously known as XBMC, is an open source media player, and a veritable one-stop shop for all your media needs. Whilst it has been a favourite of Apple TV users for a long time, there is not always a recent tvOS release, and the process to install it has been complex at times. This guide gives the simplest process, without recourse to unofficial distributions.

It doesn’t require a jailbreak, and should work on both tvOS 10 and tvOS 9.

Before beginning, we give the standard disclaimer that we do not endorse piracy or copyright infringement, and we advise the use of Kodi only to play media to which you have a right. As Kodi themselves say:

“The official Kodi version does not contain any content whatsoever. This means that you should provide your own content from a local or remote storage location, DVD, Blu-Ray or any other media carrier that you own. Additionally Kodi allows you to install third-party plugins that may provide access to content that is freely available on the official content provider website. The watching or listening of illegal or pirated content which would otherwise need to be paid for is not endorsed or approved by Team Kodi.”

How to install Kodi to the Apple TV

1) First, download the most recent build of Kodi from the official source.

2) Now download The Unarchiver for free from the Mac App Store. This little app can unarchive nearly all filetypes you might come across.

3) Once downloaded, double-click the Kodi.deb to unarchive it to a folder. If it’s opening as a text document instead, make sure you’re opening the .deb with The Unarchiver.

4) Look in the resulting folder for the file called data.tar.lzma. Double click it to unarchive it to a folder called data.

5) Look in data for the folder called Applications, then inside that for the file called Kodi(.app).

6) Make a new folder in the Applications folder, next to the Kodi.app, and call it Payload.

7) Drag Kodi.app into the Payload folder.

8) Right-click the Payload folder which now has Kodi.app inside it, and select the option Compress “Payload” to zip it up.

9) Once Payload has been successfully compressed into a .zip called Payload.zip, rename it to Kodi.ipa, or whatever name you prefer. Note, the filetype must be changed to .ipa instead of .zip regardless of what name you choose.

10) Now open up Cydia Impactor and use it to sideload your new version of Kodi to your Apple TV. If you don’t already know how to do this, follow Steps 1-6 of our guide to sideload an app to Apple TV. Replace any mentions of libertv.ipa in the linked guide with the Kodi.ipa that we want to install instead.

11) Keep the Kodi.ipa you’ve made somewhere safe! You can now use it as many times as you want without redoing this whole guide. In future, simply do Step 10 only to sideload the app you’ve made back onto your devices.

Once you’ve sideloaded the app, it will be valid on your Apple TV for 7 days if you have a free Apple account, and for a year if you have a paid Apple developer account. If a new version of Kodi is released and you want to update to it, download the updated build and follow this guide again to make a newer .ipa.

If you have any problems following the guide, let me know in the comments!

  • Mike P

    So every week you would have to repeat the whole process? Geez, what about that workaround for the 7 day signing iPhone JB, is that a possibility for this process too?

    • Rowan09

      Yes the only way to work around this is getting a developer account. I would advise you in getting a developers account and charge people about $20 to put Kodi, moviebox, etc on their devices to make up for paying the $100, that’s what I do. I also just got into making apps, so it’s very beneficial for me. It’s worth getting the developers account and before you know it, you’ll become a developer with many apps on the App Store, etc.

      • Amac25

        I use ipwnstore, $10 for a year

      • Rowan09

        I’m a developer and I use to use this, but it’s useless for me know. Every year or every device is $10

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      Hi Mike. You only have to sideload the app again (just Step 10) after 7 days. You don’t have to do the whole guide again. Also, you will only need to sideload the app once the ATV has rebooted after 7 days. As long as the ATV is not rebooted/unplugged (which it hardly ever is), it can go much longer than 7 days in practice.

      As for Cydia Extender and things like that, yes, in principle they should work on tvOS. Whether Saurik/someone else will port them across is another matter though. First we would need a version of Cydia Substrate for tvOS to be made, and then a tvOS version of Extender Installer. It’s definitely possible, and I’m hoping for it too, but we’ll have to wait and see…

      • Rowan09

        It will only work for 7 days regardless of unplugging it or not. Free accounts will only last 7 days and after the 7 days Kodi won’t disappear, it will just fail to launch.

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        Interesting! I was so sure that the certificate was only revoked/checked after a reboot. I was aware that the app wouldn’t disappear, and only fail to launch, but I believed this would only happen after a reboot after 7 days. Thanks for the info!

      • Rowan09

        Yeah I wish that was the case.

    • Samuel

      You would have to repeat the process of opening up Cydia Impactor and dragging the .ipa back unto the iPhone so it can be good another 7 days. Good thing is that side loading the .ipa again does not get rid of any plug-ins that were set up previously.

  • Rowan09

    What is this new way? Seems a lot more complicated than using Xcode why the change? I use Xcode and App signer to create the IPA and then sideload it with Cydia Impactor. The whole process takes about 5-10 minutes at most.

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      I guess the main difference is that this way means you only have to make the app once. On all future occasions, you only do Step 10, sideloading the app you’ve made with Impactor. That takes about 30 seconds. Also, most people are more comfortable just moving some zips around than using Xcode, which is why they might find this a little simpler too. Thanks for reading!

      • Rowan09

        Once you make the IPA once that’s it. You just need to use Cydia Impactor every 7 days if you’re a free account the same way. I made an IPA for Kodi and I could have anyone download it because Impactor asks you to sign it with your account.

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        In that case, the first difference is not a difference at all! It would merely be the ease of file manipulation that is the difference, and not needing to have or use Xcode. Feel free to stick with what you know if you prefer it, I found this method simple and quick however. Cheers!

      • Rowan09

        True. I mean Xcode is a pain to deal with TVOS for me, but I just use it to build the IPA and then use Cydia Impactor.

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        With the Xcode/App Signer method, do you have to specify a Team ID when rolling the .ipa to begin with? Can’t remember, but thought you might have to…

      • Rowan09

        Yes with app signer you just select the Provisioning profile you created.

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        Ok cool, I guess that could be a difference between them too? This method doesn’t involve rolling the .ipa with your own provisioning profile, it uses the bare .deb file from Kodi. It only assigns a certificate when sideloading with Impactor. Not sure what difference that makes, if any, though…

      • Rowan09

        Oh ok so basically it already created the IPA. You can sideload any IPA to any IOS/TVOS device as long as you can find it. With the .deb file for Kodi you have to create the IPA with IOS app signer which is the longest part of the process.

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        Yes, and so this method does not require using iOS App Signer to make the .ipa, which is a bit faster. I guess it also means if you distribute the .ipa to friends that it doesn’t contain your provisioning profile.

        If you use the Xcode method, what do you start with to make the .ipa? An Xcode project or a .deb or what? Where do you get the initial version of Kodi from? Trying to think through the differences here…

      • Rowan09

        This method is very straight forward just read if all the way through. You still get Kodi from the same place as in this tutorial. You’ll get the .deb file. You would need to launch Xcode as a new project for TVOS. Give it a name so you can identify it, it will bring you to where you want to save it next, then you’ll be on the main page in Xcode. It will show your name you gave it and right believe it the provisioning profile and team you selected. Once you created the provisioning profile you’ll have to go to IOS app signer to select the profile and create the ipa. Once you get that done you use Cydia Impactor like in the above tutorial. I think it’s beneficial to get use to Xcode because honestly you should understand what’s going on when you sideload to some extent. It got me into developing apps now. Once you create the IPA you can sideload it to any AppleTV choose.

  • jabohn

    Buy MrMC instead, then you have an official version of Kodi from the app store (although it doesn’t support plugins). It is regularly updated with new features that push it beyond Kodi.

    • Rowan09

      True, but no plug ins and that’s one of the main reasons people use Kodi for the most part.

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        What are your best/most used Kodi add-ons?

      • Rowan09

        Google how to get wookiespmc and then install megamind build. Phoenix, Exodus, Bubbles are great.

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        Cheers!

      • Rowan09

        No problem. Are you trying to do this for the Apple TV? Just a heads up after you install the if you want the animations you’ll need to change the skin to Aeo Nox. For some reason the ATV doesn’t automatically change the UI after the build so you have to do it manually. Almost every build is done on Aeon Nox.

      • jabohn

        True, but there are also a lot of people who don’t really need plugins, plus they keep adding features to MrMC to replace some plugin functionality over time. The plugins are also a source of malware etc. and I wouldn’t be surprised down the road if Kodi removes them or changes how it’s done.

      • Rowan09

        Kodi won’t change it because that’s essential to being open source and if they do people would stop using them for the most part. I even read an article where they are making it illegal in the U.K. to sell Kodi boxes and they made it clear they are not changing what they do because it’s totally legal. I understand what you are saying though, but MrMC is the Lite version of the real thing.

      • jabohn

        Ya, I’m just going by what I hear from the MrMc developers. Apparently there’s a lack of focus which is why they split off to do their own thing. No one was doing an Android port either so they did one, along with other platforms too. Going by what I hear, perhaps it won’t be surprising if Kodi development at least stalls.

      • Rowan09

        Kodi just released the new version and already working on 18.0, Kodi isn’t stalling at all and they have version for Linux, Windows, MacOS, IOS, Raspberry PI, and Android to name a few. MrMC made his version so it could be released on the Apple Store because Kodi would never get approved. The Play Store removed it at one point but they brought it back.

  • nonchalont

    Will this work for Winndows cydia impactor?

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      Yep. The process for unarchiving and compressing the files will be slightly different on Windows, but simple enough. If you have 7zip or something like that, and know how to unarchive and compress things, then you should be fine. The Impactor part will work exactly the same on Windows…

  • Jmdiaz25

    Joaquim, does this mean that you would need to reload your video and program add ons every 7 days? or will they be there when you “reload” kodi on the 7th day?

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      As long as you reinstall over the top of it without deleting it first it should retain your setup. Let me know how it goes as I haven’t tested it myself yet, though others have said that’s how it works. Thanks for reading!

    • Rowan09

      I believe that stays the same.

  • Gary Hetherington

    Got down to How to side load and on the link suggested I don’t see any info on how to do it?

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      Just follow the linked guide which shows you how to side load an app to the ATV. As my guide above says, replace mentions of the jailbreak app with the Kodi app. The link shows how to put an app onto ATV. Just put kodi instead of liberTV.

    • Rowan09

      Make sure you have a developer account (paid or free) because your going to need to add the device before you can sideload

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        That hasn’t been the case in my experience. I’ve created several free apple IDs for sideloading and I never actually logged into them and signed up for developer privileges, nor have I added devices to them. They still worked with Impactor. I’m beginning to think any free Apple ID is a ‘free developer account’ in Apple’s eyes, and only paid ones sign up devices to be used with…

      • Rowan09

        That’s true they changed the way free accounts are handled and you can’t do it. Impactor works without a developer account?

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        Yep, only for 7 days obviously, but any Apple ID will work for 7 days with Impactor. It’s with Cydia Extender on iOS devices that problems with free accounts were had previously, though they too can now be fixed.

  • Amac25

    The best way is to pay $10 to ipwnstore and they put your Apple TV in their system so you can use their apps and Kodi for a year and not have to reload every week!

  • Martynet

    It’s still to complicated. I recommend to buy some good device which is supported by Libreelec. libreelec is kodi implemented right into Linux. So it’s not an app but the actual OS. It runs much faster than app on Apple tv or Android. I’m using Minix NEO U1 and have dual boot with Libreelec and couldn’t be happier. Apple tv is best for Netflix, youtube and other free or paid services.

  • Gary LE

    Wait a minute so Kodi will only be sideloaded and be available on the atv4 for 7 days if you have a free Apple account?

  • stevefe84

    The 7 days restriction is a bummer. Also, IF you really need Kodi only to play your legit files and not to stream pirated stuff you can just buy Mrmc or Infuse on the Appstore.

  • Smeltn

    What about Apple TV 3 ? Does this same process work for those?

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      It should do, the process of creating the .ipa from the .deb is not specific to a version of tvOS. Whether the version of Kodi is compatible with tvOS 9 and whether Impactor works well with tvOS 9 is another matter. Give it a go and let me know how it goes. Certainly the process for creating the .ipa makes no difference to the target firmware. Thanks for reading!

    • thelke

      No, you cannot load apps on the AppleTV 3

  • Mark S

    This is not the way to experience kodi. Ah the apple tv and the 7 day nonsense. Seriously? Who wants to keep messing around just to use an app? I use kodi on fire tvs, the app never needs to be messed with once set up. I also use kodi on a minix box. Get off apple tv if you want kodi. Otherwise get mr mc.

    • Gary le

      Honestly i agree with you! Fire tv4 with kodi is supurb!

  • thelke

    Failed to install. Failed at a a plist somewhere

  • AwesomeSauce

    tvOS needs to be jailbroken. This side load crap doesn’t cut it.