How to Install Kodi on Apple TV

Add the open source media player to your Apple streaming box

Is installing Kodi, a free and open-source media player app, on Apple TV doable or not? In some cases, yes. Here's the information you need to decide if installing Kodi on Apple TV is worth the work.

Information in this article covers Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD (4th generation), Apple TV (3rd generation), Apple TV (2nd generation), and the original Apple TV (1st generation).

Can I Load Kodi on My Apple TV?

Kodi is a multi-platform tool to find, manage, and stream all kinds of digital content. As amazing as it is, bringing Kodi to the Apple TV set-top box isn't drag-and-drop easy.

Soon after tinkerers and digital media buffs across the internet determine that loading Kodi to an Apple TV is doable, Apple introduces a new generation of Apple TV. While a new Apple TV box is great, it creates a new set of challenges for Kodi users.

Success in loading Kodi onto an Apple TV is a function of which generation Apple TV you own.

Television, laptop, tablet, and mobile phone displaying Kodi
kodi.tv

Install Kodi on Apple TV 4K

With the Apple TV 4K, Apple removed the USB-C port used to install Kodi on the Apple TV HD. Installing Kodi on the Apple TV 4K requires a Mac, a paid Apple Developer account, and XCode, a free download from the Mac App Store. Even then, the Kodi app is signed for only one year.

Install Kodi on Your Apple TV HD

Loading Kodi to the Apple TV HD (previously designated the 4th generation Apple TV) requires you to download the Cydia Impactor app, along with the most recent build of Kodi.

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

The process is relatively straightforward. When it is complete, you can access everything Kodi has to offer.

Here's how it's done.

  1. Download and install Cydia Impactor on your computer.

  2. Download the most recent Kodi build for tvOS available from Kodi.tv to take advantage of the constant improvements that are Kodi's hallmarks.

  3. Connect the Apple TV HD to the computer with a USB-A to USB-C cable.

  4. Open Cydia Impactor and drag Kodi onto the Impactor window.

  5. Select the Apple TV from the Cydia menu and click Start.

  6. Enter your Apple ID. The Kodi app must be signed by Apple's servers to run.

    Consider setting up a second Apple ID. Given the amount of content associated with your Apple ID, including payment sources, you may want to set up a separate Apple ID to accomplish this step.

  7. After Impactor completes the install, disconnect the Apple TV and reconnect it to the television.

  8. Power up the Apple TV. Kodi is listed alongside the other apps.

If something goes wrong with the Kodi installation or you want to return to the familiar Apple TV interface, restore the Apple TV to factory settings, which returns it to a like-new state.

Install Kodi on Your 3rd Generation Apple TV

The wiki at Kodi.tv, Kodi's official web destination, is clear on this.

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

However, there is a workaround if you have a Mac. You can install Kodi on the Mac and then use AirPlay to mirror content to the Apple TV.

Beware of sites online promising to jailbreak the 3rd generation Apple TV for a fee. The chances are good that you'll pay money, ship your Apple TV, and the site won't be able to complete the process.

Install Kodi on Your 2nd Generation Apple TV

Adding Kodi to an Apple TV is possible on a 2nd generation set-top box, but you must jailbreak the Apple TV. Kodi no longer supports the 2nd generation Apple TV. If you can find Kodi 14.2 Helix, the last version of Kodi to run on the 2nd generation Apple TV, you can run it.

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

Jailbreaking a 2nd generation Apple TV is a fairly straightforward process.

Install Kodi on the Original Apple TV

In theory, you can load Kodi's predecessor XBMC onto the original pizza-box-style Apple TV. The process may be more trouble than it's worth since other easier options are available.

For best results, replace the Apple TV's wireless card with a higher-speed PCI Express mini card to handle high-definition video and upgrade the built-in hard drive. When you do this, you'll be dealing with persistent error messages.

Alternatives to Using Kodi With Apple TV

As the Apple TV platform has matured, and with the introduction of apps for tvOS, new apps have emerged that can handle many of the duties that used to be the purview of Kodi. For example, apps like Plex and Infuse are stable and fully developed alternatives to Kodi's organization and playing of media that resides on your file servers or computer.

If you're excited to experiment with your Apple TV, Kodi can open up a wide world of additional media opportunities outside your Apple TV ecosystem.