Beginner’s Guide to Kodi – Here’s Everything You Need to Know on Getting Started With Kodi in 2020!

The main reason for Kodi’s popularity is the application’s wide range of features. It’s true that Kodi can easily handle movies, music, photos, and even live TV – all without ever leaving its interface. With this said, you can see that Kodi might not be the simplest application to use. This is precisely where our Beginner’s Guide to Kodi comes into play.

First of all, know that TechNadu’s editorial team consists of a group of passionate Kodi users. We’ve been following Kodi and its development for many years now. And also, we were never afraid to push this application to its limits. So, we have plenty of knowledge of share – which is why we’ve decided to produce and publish this guide.

As its name says, our Beginner’s Guide to Kodi will teach you the basics. Differently said, we wrote this guide to those who are completely new to Kodi. Even if you don’t know what Kodi is or even how to install it – you’ve come to the right place. That’s because we’ll explain all there’s to know about this home theater software from scratch.

Further Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Kodi / What Is Kodi – General Overview

We’ll be taking you through a series of segments, starting with our explanation on what is Kodi. Then, we’ll teach you how to install and open the application, how to add your media library, and even how to expand it via addons. So, depending on your level of knowledge, you might want to skip some chapters, using the table of contents found below.

Are you ready to start learning about Kodi? If that’s so, we welcome you to our Beginner’s Guide to Kodi. Let’s begin, shall we?

What Is Kodi?

Kodi Video Addons UI Screen

On its official website, you’ll see that Kodi is being advertised as the ultimate home theater software. It means that Kodi is an application you use to play movies, music, and see photos. Therefore, you can think of it as your family’s entertainment hub.

What this means is that Kodi is designed to store local media. Let’s say you have both your personal (family) and commercial movies, music, and photos. All of those files can be stored within Kodi – so you can easily access them on your TV, for example.

Of course, there is also a whole different side of Kodi. This application can be expanded by using addons. You can think of these as individual apps. For example, this is how you can install YouTube on Kodi, or even stream Netflix via Kodi. You install an addon, and then you open it to access online content – which, again, can be videos, photos, and music.

Tip

If you continue reading this article, you’ll get to learn about the practical side of using Kodi. However, to take a deeper dive into Kodi’s capabilities, we strongly recommend reading our guide on what is Kodi.

If you’re still researching your options, you’ll also want to check out the best alternatives to Kodi. However, you’ll hardly find an equally powerful alternative – trust us.

How to Install Kodi?

The good news is that Kodi supports almost every popular operating system out there. Besides, this application is free-of-charge, no matter what platform you’re using. And also, it takes just a few minutes of your time to install this software.

TechNadu’s team has produced a wide range of articles with detailed instructions on how to install Kodi. With this said, check out the following links:

Tip

Once you install Kodi, you can interact with the application via your keyboard, mouse, remote, or via touchscreen controls on mobile devices. However, know that you’ll find Android and iOS apps that can be used as Kodi remotes as well.

For Android users, we recommend Kore – the official Kodi remote control app. And if you’re an iOS user, you can go with iRemote for Kodi.

How to Update Kodi?

In general, updating Kodi requires you to reinstall Kodi on your device. This way, the application will simply replace obsolete files with their newest version. To learn in-depth about how this is done (on plenty of different platforms), here’s our guide to updating Kodi.

Also, keep in mind that the latest major version of this application is Kodi 18 “Leia.” If you’d like to learn about what’s new, make sure to read our central article on Kodi 18. This is where you’ll also learn about incremental updates, which are typically focused on fixing bugs and improving Kodi’s overall performance.

Tip

When updating Kodi, don’t uninstall the version you have installed. This will delete your media library. Instead, make sure to simply reinstall the application to update it – if you’d like to continue using your existing media library.

How to Configure Kodi’s Settings?

In general, Kodi should be ready to use as soon as you install it. However, taking a few minutes to dive into the application’s settings will certainly pay off.

With this said, we’ve decided to highlight a few options that many of you will find to be useful.

Select a New Language & Keyboard Settings

Regional Settings Kodi

By default, Kodi comes in English. However, there’s a wide selection of languages that you can choose from. Besides picking a new language, you can also change your time zone and select a new keyboard system.

Here’s how that is done:

  • Launch Kodi and click on the cogwheel icon (in the top-left corner).
  • Pick ‘Interface‘, which should be visible at the bottom of your screen.
  • From the left-positioned menu, select ‘Regional.’
  • Now pick a new region, language, a different keyboard layout, and more.

Enable AirPlay Streaming for iOS/macOS Devices

AirPlay Settings Kodi

AirPlay is Apple’s streaming technology that is compatible with iOS and macOS devices. Unsurprisingly, Kodi supports AirPlay, making it easier to stream content from your Apple devices. However, you’ll need to enable this option manually.

  • Once again, make sure to go to Kodi’s Settings (via the cogwheel icon).
  • Click on the button titled ‘Services‘ on the right side of the screen.
  • Now pick ‘AirPlay’ from the left-placed menu.
  • Enable AirPlay by toggling the switch to ‘ON.’

Add Multiple User Profiles

Profile Settings Kodi UI

You can add several users and associate them with your family members. With this done, everyone can customize Kodi according to their needs. For more information, turn to our guide to setting up Kodi profiles.

  • From Kodi’s home screen, navigate to Settings > Profiles.
  • Using the left-placed menu, click on ‘Profiles.’ This is where you can add and remove user profiles. Make sure to adjust their roles as well.
  • Under the ‘General’ tab, you can adjust login options. For example, if you don’t want other users to access your account by default.

Learn the Essential Keyboard Shortcuts

Before you jump into creating your Kodi library, it’s wise to know a few essential keyboard shortcuts (especially if you’re using Kodi on a computer). These will help you jump from one place to another in a matter of seconds, making you an expert Kodi user.

  • Play / Stop / Rewind (Shortcuts: P / X / R) – These are pretty self-explanatory. Use these while playing a video/music file to control its playback.
  • Volume Down/Up (Shortcuts: + / ) – To lower the volume while playing a media file, or perhaps to increase the volume, use plus and minus keys on your keyboard.
  • Enable/Disable Subtitles (Shortcut: T) – While watching a movie, you can press the T key to enable or disable subtitles. Make sure to learn more about using subtitles on Kodi.
  • Contextual Menu (Shortcut: C) – By pressing the key C on your keyboard, you can open any contextual menu within Kodi. You can think of this as a dropdown menu.
  • Seek Forward/Backward (Shortcut: CTRL + → / CTRL + ←) – While watching a video, you can press the CTRL button along with arrow keys to seek the playback forward or backward by five seconds at a time.
  • Background Fullscreen Playback (Shortcut: TAB) – While playing any file, you can press the TAB key to keep the file playing in the background. This will return you to Kodi’s interface, where you’re free to navigate and start playing something else.
  • Mute (Shortcut: M) – Press the M key on your keyboard to mute the volume on-demand. Then, press the M key again to un-mute the volume.

How to Create Your Own Media Library in Kodi

There are three ways to add media to Kodi. You can import locally stored files, which is great if you use Kodi on a computer. You can also import network files. And finally, there’s a way to import media files from an external drive.

Tip

Below, you’ll find our general descriptions of importing media files to Kodi. If you need additional information, feel free to turn to our guide on creating a media library in Kodi.

Import Locally Stored Files to Kodi

Add Music Source Prompt Kodi UI

On the left-hand side of Kodi, you will see the application’s main navigation bar. This is where you can access your movies, photos, music, and plenty more.

So, depending on the type of data you’d like to import, make sure to pick a suitable category first.

  • For example, you can click on ‘Music‘ using the main menu.
  • Then, make sure to select ‘Enter Files Section’ on the right side of the screen.
  • Click on ‘Add Music‘ and a pop-up window will appear.
  • Select ‘Browse‘ and then select the folder that contains the files you’d like to add.
  • Finally, don’t forget to name your media source, and click on ‘OK.’
  • Remember that Kodi might take some time until it imports the files and organizes them.

Import Network-Based Files to Kodi

Adding Network Location in Kodi

You can also use a remote location for your content library – for example, cloud storage or an external media hub that is connected to your home’s Wi-Fi.

  • To add a network location, pick any content category from Kodi’s main menu. For example, let’s add photos stored online.
  • We will click on the ‘Pictures’ tab in the main menu, and then we’ll click on ‘Add Pictures.’ A new window will appear where we’ll pick ‘Browse.’
  • You will now see an option that says ‘Add network location…‘ at the very bottom.
  • This is where you can set up different options and add remotely located files. If you’re unsure about how to set up these, you can find that information on your online storage provider’s website.

Use External Drive Files With Kodi

Adding Media Files to Kodi

Next, we’ll also cover external drives in this guide to Kodi. The process is quite similar to adding a new network location.

Here’s how to add images that are on an external drive after you’ve connected it to your computer or any other device:

  • Click on ‘Pictures‘ on the main menu.
  • Now go to ‘Add Pictures…‘ and you will see a window named ‘Add Picture Source.’
  • Click on ‘Browse‘;
  • Finally, navigate to your external drive and add the required media.

What Are Kodi Addons? How to Install & Use Them?

Video Addons Official Kodi Repository

Important Note: Before you jump into the world of Kodi addons, we recommend you install a VPN for Kodi. This kind of software unblocks all of the available Kodi addons, new types of media sources, and keeps you 100% safe and anonymous online. Check out the best VPN for Kodi, or you can pick our top-rated suggestion, ExpressVPN.

This wouldn’t be a helpful Beginner’s Guide to Kodi if we didn’t mention addons. You can find thousands of useful add-ons that can be installed from all over the Web. However, these are separated into two distinctive categories: official and unofficial add-ons.

Official Addons for Kodi

Warning

Official Kodi addons are typically pre-screened by Kodi’s development team. This makes them legal, malware-free, and safe to use. To be on the safe side, make sure to avoid installing any addons that come from outside of Kodi’s official repository. You can also use the SafeKodi addon to check if the addons you’ve installed come from trusted sources.

Developers of Kodi have their own repository of addons. These are so-called official addons, which means they are maintained and offered via Kodi’s own software. Here’s how to browse the current selection. Also, don’t forget to check out the best Kodi addons.

  • Open Kodi and navigate to ‘Add-ons‘ using the main menu.
  • Click on the ‘Download‘ button located on the left-placed menu.
  • Now you’ll see different categories. One of the most popular categories is ‘Video Add-ons.’ Here you can find great add-ons dedicated to streaming.
  • Once you find an add-on, click on its name and you’ll see an overview. Hit ‘Install‘ to finish this procedure.
  • The newly installed add-ons will be placed in the ‘Add-ons’ section of Kodi.

We’re sure that you’ll also want some recommendations. Well, we’ve been using all kinds of Kodi addons for several years now, so we know which ones are worth your time.

Check our freshly updated lists below.

Unofficial Addons for Kodi

Warning

We strongly recommend you stay away from unofficial Kodi addons. Remember that many of these are directly related to copyright infringement, which has grave consequences for everyone involved.

Make sure to be as informed as possible before starting to use Kodi. With this said, you’ll want to check our guide on how to use Kodi legally.

You should also know that Kodi comes with “unofficial” addons. These are hosted on the Web, so you can easily install them by downloading their ZIP files. However, keep in mind that the majority of these addons are illegal – and here’s why.

Unofficial Kodi addons aren’t pre-screened by Kodi’s development team. Also, they typically act as repositories of pirated movies, TV shows, and music. As many countries around the world ramp-up their piracy-fighting efforts, developers of these addons often get arrested. And as you can expect, many of these are addons are short-lived.

What Are Kodi Skins? How to Customize Your Kodi’s UI?

Changing Skins on Kodi

As you know by now, Kodi is a highly customizable application. This also applies to its default UI (user interface). You can install skins on Kodi in a matter of seconds, and they can completely change Kodi’s appearance.

We’re not talking about pure cosmetic changes here; we’re talking about changing Kodi’s overall layout. It means that each skin has the power to completely change your Kodi’s interface, including the looks of its menus, the position of various elements, and plenty more.

There is an incredible selection of skins – all of which come free of charge. Therefore, don’t miss out on reading TechNadu’s overview of the best Kodi skins – which is one of our often-updated articles.

What Are Kodi Builds? How to Install One?

Warning

Keep in mind that Kodi builds aren’t legal to use. That’s because they generally combine illegal addons that can easily lead to copyright infringement. Therefore, our strong recommendation is to stay away from trying out Kodi builds.

One of the early reasons for Kodi’s popularity was the ability to install builds. You can think of these as a combination of skins and addons. You install a single Kodi build from the Web, and you get a completely different interface with dozes of addons installed at once.

Even though we understand that it might be hard to resist installing a build – make sure to stick to the legal side of things. All Kodi builds contain illegal addons, meaning that they shouldn’t be used – especially if your ISP detects copyright infringement.

Remember that there are plenty of legal Kodi addons (found above). These can be hugely useful, and many of them pack plenty of content. So, be responsible and make sure you’re not using Kodi for anything else than its intended purpose.

How to Resolve Common Problems With Kodi?

Kodi Addons UI Screen

Know that Kodi is typically an incredibly stable application. We’ve used various versions of Kodi over the years, and for the most part, it has been a truly pleasurable experience. Of course, something can go wrong from time to time, just like with any other type of software.

To help you resolve common issues with Kodi, we’ve produced a comprehensive guide. So, here’s our Kodi Troubleshooting Guide, with step-by-step instructions on fixing the most common problems.

And with that said, you’ve reached the end of our Beginner’s Guide to Kodi. In case you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below. We’ll do our best to help our fellow Kodi users. And if you have any tips to add, please make sure to do that as well.

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