How to use Kodi – the complete installation guide

Do you have a vast library of TV programs, movies, and music saved locally? If so, then you probably need a way to manage all your content. Alternatively, you could look for legal ways to access video on demand or TV. If this describes your situation, you have two choices in terms of software- Plex or Kodi.

Previously we explained how to install and use Plex. This guide will focus on how to use his great rival, Kodi. Read on to learn how to install Kodi software, how to navigate the initial setup, and how to upload repositories and add-ons.

What is Kodi, and how is it used?

Kodi is best described as a home theater application. It was developed in 2002 as the Xbox Media Player and quickly evolved into the Xbox Media Center (XBMC). Then it finally turned into Kodi in 2014.

Probably the most significant strength of Kodi is that it is open source. Since it is open-source, a large community of programmers and developers has developed around the app. If you are an experienced programmer, you can even make changes to the source code.

The community is responsible for all the good things the app offers. Without its contribution, Kodi would be an absolute undertone shell and would not provide anything beyond the interface.

We emphasize this because Kodi newbies often ignore it- if you don’t have locally saved media and you have no interest in learning how to use repositories and add-ons, you don’t need Kodi. No support is included in the app.

Finally, keep in mind that the customization of Kodi has a cost. It requires a lot of user input to make the app work the way you want it and requires more effort to keep everything running overtime. If you want a plug-and-play application, Plex could be a better choice.

How to install Kodi

Kodi is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android (mobile and TV), iOS, and Raspberry Pi.

If you are running the app on a desktop or Android computer, you only need to download the app from the associated website or app store. Windows users can use the Windows Store version, while from Android, you can download the APK file and upload the app. Sideloading will make updating the app more difficult, but we recommend using the Play Store method.

If you want to install Kodi on iOS, the situation is much more complicated.

Kodi is not available in the Apple App Store. It is necessary to compile an app using XCode. To get started, you need iOS 10.9 or later, a copy of the Kodi DEB file, XCode 7 or later, an iOS signer, and an Apple ID.

You can also install Kodi on iOS using Cydia on a jailbroken device, but many users don’t want to risk voiding the warranty. However, if you have an old iOS device and are willing to take some risks, it’s definitely the most straightforward approach.

For other platforms, just download the installation file and follow the instructions on the screen. You will have Kodi running on your device in minutes.

Download- Kodi (free)

Execution of Kodi for the first time

Now you’re looking at the main Kodi interface. There is no content, no installation wizard, and no suggestions on how to use add-ons and repositories.

We will explain everything, but first, let’s take a look at some basic concepts.

On the left side of the screen, you will see shortcuts for all the different multimedia classes. They are films, TV programs, music, music videos, TV, radio, add-ons, images, videos, games, and weather. If you’re not going to use everything, you can remove some by going to Settings> Skin settings> Main menu items and scrolling through the appropriate switches to the Off position.

Check Kodi

As you use Kodi, you will probably find it easier to navigate through the app using the keyboard rather than the mouse. There are more than 100 different keyboard shortcuts you can use. Some keys even perform different functions depending on what is on the screen. However, there are some important keyboard shortcuts that all users should know. Here are some of the most common:

  • F9 or – Volume down
  • F10 or +– volume up
  • Spacebar or P– play / pause
  • X– Stop
  • F– Fast forward
  • R– Rewind
  • Left arrow– jump back 30 seconds
  • Right arrow– jump forward 30 seconds
  • I– shows information on the video currently playing
  • T– turn subtitles on or off

Note: You can use an add-in to the keyboard editor to change the keys that perform the function. Experienced users can also modify shortcuts by editing the userdata file.

Add your media to Kodi

If you are just starting your journey with Kodi, there are probably three forms of media that you will want to add to the app as soon as possible- video, music, and photos. We will talk about each one individually.

Adding videos to Kodi

Kodi is an extremely powerful app with which experienced users can perform all kinds of tricks. However, for the vast majority of users, the main reason for installing the software is watching videos.

If you want to maximize the pleasure of watching videos on Kodi, there is a precise process that you must follow.

Prepare video files

Preparing video files is essential because Kodi uses scrappers to search for the appropriate metadata for your videos. Metadata includes illustrations, synopsis, descriptions of shows/films, season numbers, episode numbers, cast lists, directors, and much more.

This data is not essential to be able to watch your videos through Kodi, but it is the only way to build your library on a lively and dynamic list.

So, if you’re naming a TV program, place the files in the following folder structure:

  • / Show name / Season XX / (for example, Friends / Season 05 )

For individual episodes, name each file as sXXeYY and, for multiple episodes, name the file as sXXeYY-eYY. For example, S05E02.

The specials should be inserted in the following folder structure:

  • / Show name / Specials /

Movies can be saved as stand-alone files or saved in their sub-folder. Use the following structure:

  • [Movie Name] (Year) (e.g., The Hurt Locker (2008) )

Therefore, the folder tree should look like Movies / The Hurt Locker (2008).mp4 or Movies / The Hurt Locker (2008) / The Hurt Locker (2008).mp4.

If the content is messy, you can try using FileBot. He is a film renamer; will scan the online databases and do all the hard work on your behalf. However, FileBot costs $ 19.99.

Note: you must keep movies and TV shows in separate folder trees.

Add your videos

Now it’s time to add your video files to Kodi.

To get started, select Video from the menu on the left side of the Kodi home screen. On the next screen, choose File. Finally, click Add Video.

Now you need to add the video source. “Source” is a word you will frequently encounter while using Kodi. It can refer to many different things. In this case, it just means that you have to select the folder on your hard drive where you saved your video files.

You can name your source. Generally, you should name it Movies, TV shows, home videos or something else that is similarly descriptive.

Now you have to tell Kodi what kind of videos are in the source folder. It will allow Kodi to analyze the correct online metadata database. Use TheTVDB for TV-based metadata and TheMovieDB for movie information.

On the final screen, you can set some additional options. The frequency with which Kodi scans the folder for new content and some movie naming conventions. When you’re ready, press OK, and Kodi will start importing your content. If you have hundreds of TV episodes and movies to watch on Kodi, the process may take a long time.

Repeat the previous steps for each type of video content you want to add.

Add music to Kodi

Once your video collection is up and running, it’s time to turn your attention to your music library.

Prepare your music files

As with video files, if you want Kodi to find metadata about your music, you need to prepare your music collection before you can add it.

Kodi uses the open-source MusicBrainz database for music tagging. The database includes over 1.2 million artists, 1.8 million albums, and 17.5 million songs.

Fortunately, MusicBrainz provides a free desktop app that can automatically tag all the music for you. You can download it for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

If MusicBrainz can’t correctly tag your music, you can do it yourself. The file tree of your music must follow the artist> Album> Track structure. For example, Michael Jackson> Thriller> Billie Jean.

Download- MusicBrainz (free)

Add your music

Properly tagging all your music is a meticulous process. But when you’re finally done, you’re ready to add your music collection to the Kodi app.

Adding music to the library is a two-part process. First, you need to scan the collection so Kodi can import it. Secondly, you need to analyze the library for more information. You must complete the first step before you can move on.

To start the scanning process, you need to tell Kodi where your music collection has been saved to your hard drive. Go to the Kodi home screen and click on Music in the menu on the left side of the screen. On the next screen, go to File> Add Music. Click Browse and select the folder when you find the music.

Now name your music collection. If you are going to import more collections, choose something recognizable.

On the next screen, Kodi will ask if you want to add your media source to the library. Click Yes, and the application will start scanning.

Again, if you have an extensive collection, this process may take some time.

Next, it’s time to analyze your collection for more information. The additional data comes in many forms- they could include the style of the artist, the date of formation of a band, the theme of an album, or even the date and place where the artist died.

To gather more information, start by clicking Music on the Kodi main screen. On the next screen, choose Artists. Right-click on any artist name to display the context menu and select Query information for all artists to start the scrap.

The scraping process could take many hours. It covers about 300 artists per hour. When done, you should run it a second time to make sure all server busy answers are correct.

Add photos to Kodi

You’ll be happy to know that adding photos and images to Kodi takes much less time and preparation than adding music or video files.

To add a photo folder, select Images from the menu on the left side of the Kodi home screen. On the next screen, choose Add Photo.

A new window will appear. Click Browse and point to the folder that contains the images you want to add. When you’re ready, click, OK.

Kodi offers some features to make viewing images more enjoyable. They include a presentation, a randomizer, and a zoom.

Use of Kodi add-ons and repositories

The other important part of using Kodi is the vast catalog of repositories and add-ons. They allow you to access on-demand services as well as some live TV shows, real-time news, and free movies on Kodi. You can also find Kodi add-ons for non-video content, such as weather, context menus, skins, and even mini-programs.

When you install add-ons and repositories, make sure the content you’re looking at is legal in your area. Kodi has developed an unfortunate reputation as a paradise for pirates and copyright thieves in recent years.

A repository is a library of Kodi add-ons. The add-ons themselves are what allows you to access and watch the content. You need to add a repository before you can install an add-on.

Kodi offers an official repository, but you can also find many third-party repositories of people who create their own add-ons. The Kodi repository is included in the app automatically.

Unfortunately, given the authorities’ recent crackdown on Kodi, many once-famous repositories have disappeared for good. It is no longer possible to refer to a “must-have” repository because the situation is strange. We can, however, explain how to add a repository on Kodi.

Using the official Kodi Repo

The official Kodi repository contains many add-ons, and many users will not even need to consider using third-party repositories. Additional components available include BBC iPlayer, Pluto TV, Crackle, SoundCloud, Arte TV, Bravo, BT Sport, and Disney Channel. Above all, all the add-ons in the official repository are entirely legal.

To explore the official repository from the Kodi app, select Add-ons from the left side of the Kodi main screen. On the next screen, click Download (again, on the left side of the screen).

Now you will see a list of additional categories. You can click on one of them to see what is available. To install an add-on, click on the name of the item in question and select Install. Once the process is finished, you can start the add-on from the relevant section of the Kodi main screen.

Installation of third-party repositories

Before you can install a third-party repository, you need to do online research. You can’t just browse a list of repositories from Kodi.

When you have found the repository you want, download the ZIP file on your hard disk.

Now go to your Kodi app and go to Settings> System> Add-ons. Check the box next to Unknown sources.

To install the ZIP file, follow the step-by-step instructions below:

  1. Click Add-Ins on the Kodi main screen.
  2. In the upper left corner, click on the box icon.
  3. A new screen will appear. Select Install from the ZIP file.
  4. Use the browser window to indicate Kodi in the ZIP file.
  5. Highlight the ZIP file you want to install and click OK.

Installing an add-on from a third-party repository

Add-ons of any third-party repositories will be mixed together if you go to Add-ons> Downloads> [Category]. However, you can only see add-ons from a particular repository. It makes it much easier to find the add-ons you want to install.

To see add-ons from a specific repository, go to the Kodi main screen and click Add-ons. Next, in the upper left corner, click on the box icon.

A new list of options will appear. Click Install from repository and finally click on the name of the catalog you want to search. To install an add-on, click on its name and select Install.

Troubleshooting Kodi

As with any app, things can occasionally go wrong.

Excessive buffering

It is not possible to do much on the buffering of the live TV you are watching, but buffering on locally saved media and on-demand video is quite simple to adjust.

Usually, the cache causes the problem. In particular, the amount of memory the cache can use. You can change the cache settings by editing the advanced settings file.

Open the file and paste the following code:



<buffermode> 1 </buffermode>

<memorysize> 20971520 </memorysize>

<readfactor> 8 </readfactor>



A black and white screen when playing videos on Windows

DirectX is often responsible. Either you didn’t install it, or you’re using a very old version. Get the latest copy of the software from the Microsoft website.

Audio delay problems on Android

The Android version of Kodi is known for audio synchronization problems. If updating your app doesn’t help, you can manually adjust the delay by going to Audio Options> Audio Offset.

Other solutions

Regardless of the problem encountered, some proven steps often solve the problem.

  • Updates: always make sure that both the Kodi app and the add-ons you are using are running the latest version.
  • Delete recently installed repositories and add-ons: Sometimes, the code in add-ons can interfere with other add-ons or the Kodi app itself.
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About Author

Samuel Afolabi is a lazy tech-savvy that loves writing almost all tech-related kinds of stuff. He is the Editor-in-Chief of TechVaz. You can connect with him socially :)

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