Contrary to popular belief, you can use Kodi to play video on an iPad or iPhone - just not officially, since the software isn't available on the App Store. Instead, the most common approach is to download it from the Cydia software store, but this strategy obviously only works on devices that are jailbroken.

While it's probably simpler to go down the jailbreaking route, there is a way to install the Kodi app on your iOS device without a jailbreak - and here's how to do it.

How to install Kodi on iPhone or iPad (without jailbreaking)

So, how do you install Kodi without jailbreaking? Here's a quick overview of the process, before we delve into more detail:

  1. Plug your iPad or iPhone into your Mac and open Xcode.
  2. Select 'Create a new Xcode project'. Click on Single View Application, then Next.
  3. Fill in Product Name and Organisation Identifier. Hit Next.
  4. Save to desktop, and click Create.
  5. Choose whether to allow Xcode to access your contacts.
  6. Click Fix Issue, then Add… on the next dialogue box. Enter your Apple ID and sign in.
  7. Click Choose.
  8. Open App Signer. Click Browse, find the Kodi deb file and click Open. Select the profile with the identifier we set earlier. Add Kodi as an App Display Name. Click Start.
  9. Choose a file name and click Save.
  10. Go back into Xcode and select Window > Devices. Click on your device in the lefthand pane. Click the plus sign at the bottom of the righthand pane. Select the .ipa file that iOS App Signer generated earlier, and click Open.
  11. Unplug your iOS device and unlock it. If you get an 'Untrusted Developer' error message when you first tap the icon, go to Settings > General, and tap Device Management. Under DEVELOPER APP, tap the account you used earlier in the process. Tap Trust "[name of account]”, then Trust again.

Those that want more guidance should keep on reading.

We're heavily indebted in this case to a forum user named DanTheMan827, who first posted a tutorial explaining how to install Kodi on your iPhone or iPad without having to jailbreak, and who created the App Signer that is a vital part of the process.

How to install Kodi on iPhone or iPad without jailbreaking

What is Kodi?

Kodi used to be called XBMC, which might be what's causing the confusion. It's a versatile and extremely popular piece of media-player software, and is often used to play internet video (or downloaded media files in variety of formats) on a big-screen TV. The biggest draw is the vast number of add-ons available, offering extended functionality like the ability to watch movies or live TV. 

For more detail, take a look at our explainer: What is Kodi, and why should you care?

The in-depth walkthrough

Before we start, you'll need to download three things - they're all free (although you may like to make a donation of some kind to to DanTheMan827 when you download the App Signer), but one of them could take a little while, so sort this first of all.

You need the Kodi deb file: download it from here. We used version 15.2.1 in our walkthrough, but version 17.1 is now available - thankfully, the method doesn't change with different versions.

You also need iOS App Signer - click 'Download v1.9', then unzip the file. (You may see an advert underneath for a different download but if you hover over the link you'll see it's for something else.)

Finally, you need to install Xcode 8 from the Mac App Store if you haven't got it already. (Xcode is free.)

Once you've got the first one saved to your desktop, and the others installed on your Mac, we can get started.

1. Plug your iPad or iPhone into your Mac and open Xcode.

2. Select 'Create a new Xcode project'. Make sure Application is highlighted in the iOS section on the left, and then click on Single View Application. Hit Next.

How to install Kodi on iPhone or iPad without jailbreaking

3. In the next dialogue box you need to identify the application you're creating. Fill in Product Name (we'd suggest Kodi) and Organisation Identifier (which should be something unique - I went with com.DavidPrice). The other fields should be filled in already, and you can leave the options as they are. You could choose to make the app specifically iPad or iPhone at this point but we might as well leave it as Universal. Hit Next.

How to install Kodi on iPhone or iPad without jailbreaking

4. On the next box, choose a location for your Git repository. We just saved it on the desktop. Click Create.

5. Don't allow Xcode to access your contacts. Or do, if you want. We said no, but we don't think it makes a difference.

6. In the middle of the Xcode screen you'll see an unobtrusive error message: 'No code signing identities found'. Click Fix Issue underneath this message, then Add… on the next dialogue box. Enter your Apple ID and sign in.

How to install Kodi on an iPhone or iPad without jailbreaking

7. Go back to the main screen and you'll see a message: "To fix this issue, select a Development Team to use for provisioning". There should only be one 'Development Team' to choose from, so go ahead and click Choose. Xcode will say it's resolving the issues, and after a short wait everything should be fixed.

How to install Kodi on iPhone or iPad without jailbreaking

8. Open App Signer - just double-click the icon that you saved to your desktop when you unzipped the download. Where it says Input File, you want the Kodi deb file we downloaded earlier: click Browse, find the file on your desktop (or wherever else you saved it) and click Open.

Signing Certificate should be filled in already (this should contain your Apple ID); for Provisioning Profile, select the profile with the identifier we set in step 3. New Application ID will be filled in, but we added Kodi as an App Display Name (this is what will appear on your Home screen). Click Start.

How to install Kodi on iPhone or iPad without jailbreaking

9. Choose a file name for the Save As field - again, you can just go with the suggestion, provided you'll be able to remember it - and a location. Click Save. App Signer will unpack the data and save the file; it'll say Done (at the bottom of the tab - you don't get a separate message) when it's finished.

10. We're nearly there. Go back into Xcode and select Window > Devices. Click on your iOS device in the lefthand pane. At the bottom of the righthand pane containing your iPhone or iPad's details - you may have to scroll down to see it - is a small plus sign. Click this. (There's a plus sign at the bottom of the lefthand pane too, and this is more easily visible. But you want the one on the right.)

How to install Kodi on iPad or iPhone without jailbreaking

Find and select the .ipa file that iOS App Signer generated in step 9, and click Open. After a short pause while it installs the app (maybe 10-15 seconds in our experience) you'll see the Kodi app listed under Installed Apps.

11. Unplug your iOS device and unlock it. You'll see the Kodi icon in the first available space on your device. Depending on your settings, there's a good chance that you'll get an 'Untrusted Developer' error message when you first tap the icon, and you'll only be able to tap Cancel.

How to install Kodi on iPhone or iPad without jailbreaking

So tap Cancel (or just don't try to start the app yet), and instead go to Settings > General, and scroll down to, and tap, Device Management (it's near the bottom of the list). Under DEVELOPER APP, tap on the account you used earlier in the process, then on the next screen, tap Trust "[name of account]". Then tap Trust again.

12. That's it! Go back to the your Home screen and tap the icon to run the app.