Popcorn time is a popular way to watch TV and movies online, for free. Its growing popularity means that it has branched out from being a Windows only program, with versions now available for Mac, Linux, Android and most recently, iOS. But what is Popcorn Time and should you use it?
What is Popcorn Time?
Popcorn Time, essentially, is a BitTorrent client with a professionally designed UI, similar to Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video's offerings. However, unlike most BitTorrent clients, Popcorn Time lets you browse movies using official artwork and descriptions and lets you choose which resolution to watch the film in - 480p, 720p, 1080p, etc. The film will start soon after and will upload parts of the film to other Popcorn Time users in the background.
Read definitions of more Apple-related tech terms in our Apple users' tech jargon dictionary.
Is it illegal to use Popcorn Time?
It's worth keeping in mind that streaming and sharing videos is illegal if the person/service that uploads the video doesn’t have permission from the copyright holder. While in the UK you may not end up in prison for streaming a movie, you may get warning letters from your ISP informing you that you’re infringing copyright.
Under the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme, which was first introduced in May 2014, UK ISPs will send up to four letters to 'infringers', which are identified by the copyright holders themselves. If you continue to torrent after receiving these warning letters, you run the risk of your ISP cutting off your internet connection altogether.
At least Popcorn Time developers are being up front about the service, with a huge banner on the website saying “Downloading copyrighted material may be illegal in your country. Use at your own risk.” If, despite the warnings you still want to go ahead and install Popcorn Time on your iOS device, read on.
How to set up Popcorn Time on iOS
1) Using a PC (there is no Mac version yet, but one is thought to be on the way), open your browser and go to this website. Scroll down and select the iOS Beta. It’ll then prompt you to download the installer to your PC, which will in turn install the app on your iPhone or iPad. Don’t worry if you’ve synced your device with a Mac, it should still work.
2) Install the Popcorn Time installer software onto your PC.
3) Make sure that before you open the iOS Installer app, you have the latest version of iTunes installed and that it has permission to access your iOS device. If you’ve never used iTunes to sync your device before, open iTunes and plug your device in. It’ll then ask if you want to allow iTunes access to the device, to which you click yes – don’t worry, it won’t wipe your device! That only happens if you want to sync your device.
4) Open the iOS Installer program and connect your iPhone.
5) When prompted, unlock your iPhone and when asked if you trust this computer, click trust.
6) When prompted, turn on Airplane mode on your device. Once you’ve done this, the installation should start. The installation process can vary from a few seconds to a few minutes, but don’t do anything until the installation has completely finished.
7) After a few minutes, Popcorn Time should be installed on your device. When prompted, unlock your iPhone and open Popcorn Time without disabling Airplane mode.
8) When you open Popcorn Time for the first time, a popup will be displayed asking whether you trust the developer that created the app, to which you tap Trust.
9) Turn off Airplane mode once app has opened.
10) We found that once we disabled Airplane mode, the app wouldn’t load. There’s a simple work around, as all you need to do is force quit the app by double clicking the home screen button and swiping up on the app. The next time you open it, you should have full access to the entire Popcorn Time library.
We’ll continue to update this article with how to use Popcorn Time on iOS and any new features that appear over time.