Kodi 101: What is Kodi and How Does it Work? [Updated 2024]

Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 13 Jan 2022

In this article, we’ll talk about everything Kodi. You’ll get to know what Kodi is, how it works, and the countries where it is available for download. We will also discuss how you can install Kodi across different platforms, as well as reveal various tips and tricks using which you can make the most out of it. For a more comprehensive look at how you can make the most out of Kodi to watch all of your favorite movies and TV shows, we created this ultimate guide on how to use Kodi to install the best addons and Kodi builds in 2024.

What is Kodi?

Kodi Logo

In the simplest words, Kodi is a free, open-source media player. It was released on June 29, 2004, and currently boasts millions of active users throughout the world. This makes Kodi one of the most popular media player apps of all time. 

Here are two ways you can use Kodi:

  1. Playing media from your local storage 
  2. Streaming movies, shows, live TV, and much more via online streaming links

In case you don’t have a massive collection of content on your hard drive, the 2nd option will suit you better. Kodi will find the best and fastest streaming links for you from the internet. And the best thing about all those pieces of content will be that they won’t cost you a penny.

One of the great things about Kodi is its compatibility with almost all the modern home devices, including your smartphone, smart TV, Android TV, Firestick, and PC among others. You can also install Kodi on various OS, such as Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, tvOS, Linux and Raspberry Pi. 

Didn’t find the name of the platform you’re currently using in the list? There’s no need for you to worry. Kodi lets you ‘sideload’ (install from a 3rd party source) on platforms where it isn’t officially available. As long as you’re serious about using it, Kodi will provide you with a way to download it. 

How to Install Kodi

Kodi Square Logo

As mentioned earlier, Kodi is officially available on some platforms, and on others, it can be sideloaded. The installation process varies across platforms, but it is not difficult at all. Across all the platforms, you mostly have to download and run the Kodi app to use it on that platform. 

Here’s how you can install Kodi on devices where it’s officially available:

1) How to Install Kodi on Firestick

Downloading the latest version of Kodi on Firestick is simple. All you have to do is search for the Downloader app to sideload the Kodi application, select download, prepare your Firestick by allowing ‘Unknown Sources,’ type https://kodi.tv/download in Downloader to get the Kodi application, select install, and switch on a secure VPN before enjoying your favorite shows.

2) How to Install Kodi on Windows PC and Xbox

The latest versions of Windows and Xbox (Windows 11 and Xbox Series XS) will let you download this media player app’s latest versions from the Microsoft Store. 

3) How to Install Kodi on Android Devices

If you want to download Kodi on an Android smartphone, Android TV, tablet, or other Android devices, search for its name in the Google Play Store. Once you find the Kodi app on the Play Store, download it on your platform by following the instructions.

How to Sideload Kodi?

Kodi Black Background Logo

Follow these instructions to sideload Kodi on your device:

1) How to Sideload Kodi on Amazon Fire Stick, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick 4K or Fire TV Cube?

Kodi is not available on the Amazon App Store. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot use it on Amazon devices. You can install Kodi on all types of Fire TV devices by sideloading it. The process is the same across all devices.

2) How to Sideload Kodi on iOS and MAC?

Kodi is not available on the App Store of Apple devices. You’d thus have to download (or, more accurately speaking, sideload) it directly from its official website. Correctly choose your device’s operating system from the list: iOS for your iPhone and iPad, and Mac OS for Mac.

Once you’ve selected your version, a small pop-up window will open with the link to download the installer file. 

Getting Started with Kodi

Best Kodi Addons

Now that you’re aware of how to install Kodi on your device, it’s time you get your hands dirty. In this section, we’re going to tell you everything about Kodi’s interface, including its different builds, multiple addons, and much more.  

Keep in mind that Kodi is not like Netflix. It doesn’t host any of the content available for streaming. Kodi is more like a media player. You can play your local media on it, which is something you can do on any media player. Why, then, should you go for Kodi?

Unlike your average media player, which only plays the content you already have on your hard drive or in the cloud, Kodi lets you stream video content, as well as play audio such as songs, over the internet. This means there’s no limit to the type (and number) of content you can stream on Kodi. 

Having resolved this confusion, here’s what you need to know about Kodi addons and builds:

Kodi Addons

Xumo TV - Free live TV HD streaming at its best

The best Kodi addons, such as XumoTV, show the true potential of this media player application. These addons provide free online streaming links to your favorite TV shows, music, sports, live TV, movies, etc. If you want to use Kodi for free online streaming links, addons are crucial for you. 

Remember that the addons available might be different based on the version of Kodi you might be using. That is to say that the same addons that might work with Kodi Matrix (version 19) might not be compatible with the legacy Kodi Leia version.

Kodi Builds

Kodi Builds home page

Kodi builds let you decide how you interact with Kodi and allow you to customize the app’s interface according to your preference. Popular Kodi addons come with preloaded builds, saving you from the hassle of manually installing them.

You might want to note that Kodi builds aren’t for streaming content – you’d have to rely on addons for that. The purpose of builds is to let you customize this app’s interface based on your preference. That’s why you can start using Kodi without any builds, even though the user experience could be somewhat cumbersome.

However, if you want to get the best experience out of Kodi, we recommend that you start using builds once you get the hang of Kodi. This will take your viewing experience on Kodi to a whole new level. 

Is Kodi Safe and Legal?

Is Kodi Legal and Safe to Use featured image

Even though it doesn’t own any of the content it lets you stream, Kodi is perfectly safe and legal. You can download, install and use this media player app anywhere in the world without getting into legal trouble. Had that not been the case, Kodi’s official app will not be available for download on Google Play Store, Apple Store, and the Microsoft Store.  

However, while you won’t get on the bad side of the law for installing and using Kodi, streaming copyrighted content on this platform might put you in legal jeopardy. Especially if you’re viewing content that is banned by your government. Therefore, if you intend to stream copyrighted content, we suggest using ExpressVPN. It will hide your traffic and streaming activities.


Kodi is one of the best media players of all time. You can use this app to stream local media as well as free movies and shows available on the internet. Kodi is officially available across different platforms and can be easily installed on your devices. It can also be sideloaded on devices where it is not officially available, and these versions can be downloaded from Kodi’s official website.

Kodi is legal and safe to use. Just be wary of which addons and builds you are installing and if they are provided by any suspicious developers, abandon them. With the right and trusted addons and builds, Kodi becomes a powerful tool to stream movies, music, shows, live TV, sports, and more.