How to Install Kodi On Apple TV

Add the open source media player to your Apple streaming box

Television, laptop, tablet, and mobile phone displaying Kodi

 kodi.tv

Is installing Kodi on Apple TV doable or not? The answer’s not exactly straightforward, but yes you can (mostly). We’ll untangle the conflicting information and give you the info you need to decide if the destination is worth the journey.

Can I Load Kodi On My Apple TV?

Kodi is an amazing, multi-platform tool to find, manage, and stream all kinds of digital content.

As amazing as it is, bringing Kodi’s world of possibilities to Apple’s super-slick, but admittedly exclusive, set-top box isn’t drag-and-drop easy.

Moreover, no sooner do tinkerers and digital media buffs across the internet determine that loading Kodi to an Apple TV is totally doable than Apple introduces a new generation of Apple TV. While a new Apple TV box is great for users, it creates a new set of challenges for the Kodi faithful.

So your success in loading Kodi onto your Apple TV is a direct function of which generation Apple TV you own.

Installing Kodi on the Original Apple TV

Yes, you can load Kodi's predecessor XBMC onto the original "pizza-box"-style Apple TV, but it's not for the faint of heart.

But for best results, you’ll need to replace your Apple TV’s wireless card with a higher-speed PCI Express mini card to handle high-definition video. And you’ll also want to upgrade the built-in hard drive.

Installing Kodi in Your 2nd Generation Apple TV

Adding Kodi to an Apple TV may well be easiest on a 2nd-generation set top box, but you’ll need to jailbreak your Apple TV first 

Jailbreaking involves putting a new operating system (OS) on your Apple TV that either overwrites the existing system or runs alongside it. The benefits to jailbreaking are that now you can load and run a universe of apps other than the fairly limited number allowed on a stock 2nd generation Apple TV.

Jailbreaking your 2nd generation Apple TV is a fairly straightforward process; we'll walk you through each step here.

Installing Kodi in Your 3rd Generation Apple TV

The wiki at Kodi.tv — Kodi’s official web destination — is pretty clear on this count.

“To date, the Apple TV 3 (1080 version) has not been jailbroken yet.”

Seems pretty cut and dried.

Beware of sites online promising to jailbreak your 3rd-gen Apple TV for a fee.

The chances are good that you’ll pay money, ship your Apple TV away, and they’ll be unable to complete the process.

Installing Kodi in Your 4th Generation Apple TV

Similar to using Kodi with a 2nd-gen Apple TV, loading Kodi to a 4th generation Apple TV is possible. 

To do so, you’ll need to download an app called Cydia Impactor, along with the most recent build of Kodi.

Impactor is an open-source app for Mac, Windows, Linux, Android and iOS that allows you to work with file stuctures on mobile phones, tablets and other devices like your Apple TV. It connects with your Apple TV’s OS through a USB-A to USB-C cable, and allows you to load the Kodi software.

The process is fairly straightforward. And once complete, you’ll be able to access everything Kodi has to offer.

Here's how it's done.

  1. Download Cydia Impactor.

  2. Download the most recent Kodi build from Kodi.tv.

    Make sure to download the most recent build for tvOS available to take advantage of the constant improvements that are Kodi's hallmarks. Currently, Kodi 17 (Krypton) is the latest build that can be installed on Apple TV.

  3. Connect your 4th generation Apple TV to your Mac or PC with a USB-A to USB-C cable.

  4. Open Cydia Impactor, then drag Kodi onto the Impactor window.

  5. Select your Apple TV from Cydia’s menu, then click Start.

  6. You’ll need to enter your Apple ID. That’s because the Kodi app must be signed by Apple’s servers in order to run.

    Consider setting up a second Apple ID.

    Given the amount of content many of us have associated with our Apple ID, not to mention payment sources and access to our iTunes account, you may want to set up a separate Apple ID to accomplish this step.

  7. Once Impactor has completed the install, disconnect your Apple TV and reconnect it to your television.

  8. Power up your Apple TV. Kodi should be listed alongside your other apps.

Should something go wrong with your Kodi installation — or you just want to return to the safe environs of the familiar Apple TV interface — you'll need to restore your Apple TV to factory settings (that is, just like it came out of the box when you bought it).

On the Other Hand...

As the Apple TV platform has matured, and with the introduction of apps for tvOS, new apps have emerged that can handle some of the duties that used to be the purview of Kodi.

For example, apps like Plex and Infuse are stable, fully developed alternatives to Kodi's organization and playing of media that resides on your personal file servers or computer.

But if you're just dying to experiment with what your Apple TV is capable of, Kodi can open up a wide world of additional media opportunities outside your Apple TV's ecosystem.