How to install and use the Kodi Android app

If you like watching shows and movies on your Android smartphone or tablet, you may want to know how to install and use the Kodi Android app.

Kodi is a free media player from the Kodi Foundation. It allows you to play videos or music stored on your Android device or streamed from just about anywhere on the Internet. Kodi can also be installed on Windows and Macintosh PC, Amazon Fire Stick, Nvidia Shield, and Apple TV.

This article will explain how to install and use Kodi for Android.

Warning: Kodi should only be used for content to which you have the legal right to access. Neither the Kodi Foundation nor Comparitech advocates the use of Kodi for piracy.

Always use a VPN with Kodi

If you decide to use Kodi to stream movies and shows from the Internet, you should always use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your privacy. WiFi networks are often the target of hackers who use man-in-the-middle attacks to steal users’ personal information. A VPN can help to protect you against this by encrypting your data, making it unreadable to a hacker.

In addition, a VPN will allow you to choose an IP address from a country other than the one you are physically located in. This will give you more streaming options by unlocking geographic content blocks put up by streaming sites.

Not all VPNs are good for Kodi users. Especially for Android users, a large number of VPNs available on the Google Play Store have been shown to be untrustworthy and even to carry malware that spies on users.  Many can’t adequately hide a user’s location because they don’t have servers in enough countries. There are also VPNs that keep logs of users’ behavior, creating a privacy risk.

For these reasons, we recommend IPVanish for Kodi users. It has an app for Amazon Fire Stick and Nvidia Shield. For Android users, it can easily be installed from the Google Play Store. IPVanish has servers in over 60 countries. It has a strict policy against keeping logs. It’s a great way for Kodi users to enjoy streaming without having to worry about their privacy being infringed.

BEST VPN FOR KODI:IPVanish is our top choice. Has a large uncongested network of servers and achieves good speeds. Strong security and privacy features make IPVanish a favorite for Kodi and Amazon Fire TV Stick users. Try it risk-free with the 7-day money back guarantee.

How to install Kodi on Android

Installing the Kodi Android app is simple. Just navigate to the Google Play Store entry for Kodi, and click install.

If for some reason you can’t access Kodi in the Google Play Store, you can download it from the official Kodi website instead. If you download it from the official website, you will have to open your Android settings and select security –> unknown sources to run the installation file. By default, unknown sources is turned off. Turning on unknown sources allows you to install apps from outside of the Google Play Store.

Aside from this slight drawback, installing from the website is just as good as downloading from Google Play.

If you install Kodi from the official website, make sure you change the unknown sources setting back to off if you want to be prevented from accidentally installing malicious software in the future. Since you’re downloading Kodi from the official site, getting a malicious version is unlikely. But you may want this protection in place in case you visit other sites that are less reputable.

See also: What is Kodi? How can I get started?

Using Kodi to play videos stored on your Android phone or tablet

Once you’ve got Kodi installed, you can use it to watch most videos that are stored on your device. To start watching videos right away, follow these steps:

From the main menu, click videos

Kodi videos 2

Select files

kodi files

Choose Add videos…

kodi add videos

In the upper-right corner, click browse

Kodi add videos browse

Navigate to the folder that contains your videos

Click OK

Give your video collection a name, and type this name where it says enter a name for this media source

kodi name source

Click OK again

If your collection contains movies, click this directory contains and select movies from the list of options

kodi this directory contains

kodi this directory contains movies

If your collection contains TV shows, click this directory contains and select TV shows from the list of options

kodi this directory contains tv shows

Click OK once again. Kodi will use info from IMDb to categorize your videos and make them easy to find. This process may take several minutes

Kodi scanning movies 2

Once Kodi has finished scanning the folder for videos, click videos from the main menu

Choose files. You should now see your video collection listed as an option

Kodi my videos

Click the title of the collection

Browse through your video collection until you find the one you want to play. Click to begin playing

Related article: How to download movies on Kodi legally and safely

Streaming movies or shows using Kodi

If you don’t have any videos on your device or if you simply want to watch something new, you can use Kodi to stream movies and shows from the Internet. To do this, you need to first install a Kodi addon for each streaming site you want to use.

Installing addons using the official Kodi repo

The safest place to find Kodi addons is in the official Kodi repository. Here is how to install an addon from the official repo.

From the main menu, click addons

Kodi addons

Select download

kodi addons download

Choose video addons

Kodi downloads video addons

Scroll down the list until you find the addon you want

Kodi choose addon

Click the addon’s title. This will bring up its information screen

Click install

install crackle for kodi

Here is a list of some of the best addons to use from the official Kodi repo

    • YouTube Allows you to play YouTube videos through Kodi and block all of the ads
    • WNBC Programs – Connects to NBC.com and streams episodes without ads
    • PopcornFlixProvides hundreds of free movies from PopcornFlix.com
    • SnagFilms – Streams over 5,000 movie and TV titles from SnagFilms.com
    • Zattoo Box – U.K. and German live television from Swiss-based Zattoo (requires a VPN if outside Switzerland)
    • USTVnow – Lets you watch live U.S. network channels for free
    • Crackle – Free movies and shows from Sony’s Crackle service. Ad-free on Kodi. This used to be part of eracknaphobia’s repo (requires a VPN if outside the U.S.)
    • Pluto.tv – Over 100 live channels, including news channels like CBSN and Newsy
    • PBS Kids – Provides popular children’s shows like Curious George, Caillou, and SciGirls (requires a VPN if outside the U.S.)

Installing addons using unofficial Kodi repos

Once you’ve installed and used a few official Kodi addons, you may find that you want more content than is available in the official repo. If so, you can get more options by installing a third-party repo to Kodi.

If you decide to do this, it’s important to understand that not all third-party repos are safe or legal. Some Kodi repos house addons that stream pirated content. Some of them also contain addons that could harm your device. To prevent you from accidentally installing an addon that is harmful, Kodi’s default security settings block you from installing any third-party addons.

These settings can be bypassed, as we will explain below. But keep in mind that you should only install addons from sources that are trustworthy. Further below, we will suggest some third-party addons that we believe to be safe, as well as some that we think should be avoided.

Install a Kodi addon from a third-party repo on Android

Here is how to install a Kodi addon from a third-party repo on Android.

Find the url of the third-party repo. For example, here is the url for a repo we recommend, called “eracknaphobia’s repo

Tap the download button on the page

Choose download ZIP. This will download the repo’s ZIP file

From Kodi’s main menu, tap the gear icon

Kodi gear icon

Choose system settings

Kodi 17 System Settings

On the left side of the screen, tap addons to show the addons settings submenu

Kodi system settings addons

On the right side of the screen, tap unknown sources. A warning will display telling you that installing from unknown sources may harm your device

kodi unknown sources

Click yes to allow unknown sources

kodi unknown sources yes

Go back to Kodi’s main menu and tap addons

Tap the “package installer” icon, the one that looks like an open-box in the upper-left corner

Select package installer Kodi

Select install from zip file

Kodi install from zip file

Navigate to the download folder in your Android file system

Select the ZIP file you downloaded earlier. This will install the repository to Kodi

When the repository finishes installing, tap install from repository

Kodi17 Krypton install from repository

Choose the repository you just installed

choose eracknaphobias repo

Select the addon you want to install. This will open its information screen

choose simpsons world kodi addon

Tap install. The addon should install within a few seconds

install simpsons world 2

Related article: Seven Kodi repos we love and some to be wary of

Some great third-party addons for the Android Kodi app

Here is a list of some of the best third-party addons for Kodi. All of these addons stream from licensed sources and are from repos that have strict policies against malware.

    • Tubi TV (Kodi1 repo) – Another free addon with thousands of movies and TV shows, hundreds of which are highly rated on Rotten Tomatoes. Also has ads blocked while playing through Kodi. Content is different in U.S., U.K., and Canada, so a VPN is required to unlock the entire library
    • CW TV Network (MetalChris repo) –  Allows you to watch The CW programs on-demand
    • Indigo (TV Addons repo) – Troubleshooting and maintenance tool for Kodi
    • USTVCatchup (TVAddons) – On-demand episodes from Cooking Channel, ABC, and other U.S. channels (requires VPN if outside U.S.)
    • UKTV Play (TVAddons) – Plays live U.K. television (requires VPN if outside the U.K.)
    • BigStar Movies and TV (MetalChris) – Feature films and TV shows from independent studios
    • Internet Archive (Video) (MetalChris) –  Classic films from the 1920’s-1940’s

See also: Kodi not working? How to fix common Kodi problems

Third-party addons to avoid

Here is a list of some addons that are known to stream pirated content. Many of these addons are from anonymous developers, some of whom have retired or dropped out of the Kodi community for fear of legal action by copyright-holders. Most of the repos holding these addons have been shut down, but some copies may have sprung up in other repos that have low reputations. We consider these Kodi addons to be a risk to users, and we do not recommend these addons. We list them here just so that readers will know what to stay away from.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to installing and using the Kodi Android app. If you’d like more info about how to get the most from Kodi, read some of our other articles on the subject, including how to install the YouTube Kodi addon, how to install the Tubi TV Kodi addon, and how to use FilmRise for Kodi, amongst many others.

Related: Best VPN for Android

Images:

Android Robot” by Google, Inc., licensed under  CC BY 3.0