So, you want to install the infamous Kodi on your Chromebook.
If you don’t know what Kodi is, I suggest you do some research first.
In brief, it’s basically a software hub that allows you to access a whole bunch of shows.
In this tutorial, I’ll go over three methods to get Kodi up and running.
I suggest you read them in order as they get slightly more advanced.
We’ll start off easy and see if that works. If not, then we’ll get a little more technical in order to get Kodi installed.
Don’t worry, it’s not too difficult and I’ve written everything out step-by-step.
Ready to begin?
Last updated: 1/8/21. Kodi is still working through this method.
A legal note about Kodi
This tutorial was written for educational purposes exclusively.
It’ll teach you how to install Kodi on a Chromebook, but what you choose to do afterward is your own choice. I accept no liability or responsibility for any damages of any kind in any way.
Be sure to read up on what’s legal and what’s not before you start streaming media on your device.
It’s your own responsibility and due diligence is a must.
Respect copyright laws. You are responsible for your own actions.
By reading this guide, you accept that you take full responsibility and liability for anything that may occur and that you’ve read and abide by copyright laws and any other applicable laws.
Follow this guide at your own risk. No guarantees, warranties, or other promises are made or implied in any way.
Okay, now that we’ve gotten some scary legal manners out of the way, let’s get started.
Kodi is still widely used even though there are many alternatives like MediaPortal, Plex, Stremio, Emby, Terrarium TV, and Infuse. However, many powerusers stick with Kodi or Plex, as both are versatile.
How to install Kodi on a Chromebook
It’s actually pretty easy and could be as simple as installing an app on your phone. (Yes, it’s that easy.)
There are two ways to download and install Kodi on a Chromebook. Depending on the age of your laptop, it can either be extremely easy or require a little more work.
Either way, it’s not that hard to do (since you have the power of this tutorial to the rescue).
One method does require some coding but don’t worry. All the code is provided so all you need to do is copy and paste it. Just be sure to type it exactly as shown and without the quotations.
If you mess up, don’t worry. You can always start over.
And remember- casing matters.
Ready to begin?
Let’s get started.
Do you have access to the Google Play Store?
This is the determining factor that will decide whether or not getting Kodi onto your device will be difficult.
In case you didn’t know, Google Play is the platform where Android apps live.
These are the apps that power Android smartphone and they’re now available on Chromebooks.
Yes, you can run Android apps on your Chromebook. This is old news (but still awesome news).
You’ll need to be able to access the Play Store in order to get Kodi.
Because Kodi is readily available for download as an Android app. So that’s how we’ll get it onto a Chromebook.
You’ll be downloading an Android app designed for smartphones over Google Play onto Chrome OS and running it as an app on your Chromebook.
Do you get it now?
Don’t worry if you don’t. We’re going to go through this step-by-step.
If you have the Google Play store installed, you can install Kodi in literally minutes. If you don’t have access to Google Play, you’ll have to force the update in order to install it.
So, determining whether or not you have access to the Play Store is the first priority.
Let’s go over how to find out whether or not you have Android apps on your Chromebook.
It’s easy to find out. All you need to do is look for the Google Play Store app.
Step 1: Click on the Launcher icon in the bottom-left on your screen (or press the Launcher key on your keyboard- it looks like a magnifying glass).
Step 2: Type “google play” in the search box in the Launcher window, or just look for the Google Play app icon.
That’s it. If you have the platform, you’ll see it. If not, then you won’t.
Newer Chromebooks tend to have the Play Store installed
Typically, older Chromebooks don’t have access to Android apps yet.
Newer ones do.
In fact, all Chromebooks made in 2017 and beyond will have guaranteed access to Android apps.
So it really depends on when you purchased your Chromebook and when it was manufactured (you can check the label on the bottom panel of the laptop to see the production date).
If you have it, then awesome. You can install Kodi in just a few clicks. See this video for information:
How to install Kodi as an Android app
If you can access Google Play, you’re good to go and you can install it in a jiffy.
Step 1: Launch the Play Store if you haven’t already.
Just click on the Launcher icon in the bottom-left or press the magnifying glass key on your keyboard.
If you don’t know how refer to the above section.
Step 2: Do a search
Search for “kodi” in the search box in the Play Store.
Step 3: Find the app
It should appear right away in the search results.
If you can’t find it, you can click here for a direct link to it.
Step 4: Click on the app
You’ll be able to see a description about Kodi that goes over what it does and how to use it (though you probably already know if you’re reading this tutorial).
You can also read reviews about it and see the latest version updates.
Step 5: Install Kodi
Click on the big green “Install” button. Kodi will now install on your Chromebook as an Android app.
Step 6: Launch it
You can start Kodi by starting the app from the Launcher or straight from the Play Store.
If you don’t have access to it, don’t fret.
There are two other working methods to get it installed. I’ll go over both of them (with the easier one first).
The first method involves forcing the Play Store update. The second method involves installing Linux.
They’re both pretty straightforward, but I suggest trying the Play Store method first since it’s easier. They both make it pretty easy to get Kodi up and running no matter which one you do.
It just takes a few more steps compared to already having the Play Store pre-installed.
Forcing the Play Store update
First, you’ll have to make sure that your particular model is scheduled to actually receive the Android update some time in the future.
If not, this probably won’t work for it. You can reference this list. Look for your particular model and check when and if it’s going to get the update.
If you see yours on there, you’re ready to move onto the next step. If not, don’t waste your time. I suggest upgrading to a newer Chromebook.
They’ve evolved a lot and newer models are still very cheap and affordable (and come with a bunch of nifty features). Plus you’ll have guaranteed access to Android apps. You can check out this buyer’s guide of the newest Chromebooks to hit the shelves.
Okay, so you found your laptop on the list and you see the scheduled date. What we’re going to do is force the update so you can get it now instead of waiting for the planned date. Besides, who wants to wait?
You’ll lose all your data
First thing’s first: Doing this will delete all your local data.
If you’re not sure what “local” data is, it’s basically everything you’ve downloaded from the Internet into your “Downloads” folder.
This includes images, videos, files, spreadsheets, slideshows, documents, and everything else.
Any custom folder and directories you’ve created will also get wiped. You’ll probably want to back up all your data to an external storage device, like a flash drive (USB drive), SD card, or just a regular external hard drive.
I have a tutorial that covers connecting external storage to your Chromebook you can refer to. You can also use a cloud storage provider like Dropbox or Google Drive (which you get upgraded storage for free upon purchase of a new Chromebook).
(Need a backup drive? Check out the best external hard drives compatible with Chromebooks.)
This will also wipe any custom settings you’ve set on your device, such as brightness, volume, settings, speaker output, and even Night Mode settings. These settings can’t be backed up, so you’ll have to reset all of it again after you install Kodi.
Everything else is safe. Your Google Account is stored on Google’s servers, so that stuff won’t be deleted. This means your Google Account settings, Gmail, password, linked devices, and other stuff won’t be touched.
Essentially, your Chromebook will be doing a Powerwash to itself. You can refer to this guide if you want more details on backing up your Chromebook and what exactly will get deleted in the process.
Did you get all that?
So, let’s recap.
To get this working on a Chromebook without Google Play, you’ll need:
- A Chromebook that’s on the list of scheduled devices to receive the Android update
- To have backed up all your stuff you don’t want to be wiped
That’s it. If you have those two requirements, let’s get started.
Now that we’ve gone over the precautions, we can get on with the actual process.
Next, we’ll actually go ahead and install the update.
The following steps do require a bit of tweaking, so if you’re not comfortable with technical stuff, be extra careful so you don’t screw anything up. Don’t worry though, it’s mainly just clicking buttons and I’ll go over all of it in detail.
If you get stuck, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
How to install Kodi by forcing the Google Play update
Okay, so here’s the actual process.
Use this technique if your Chromebook is scheduled to get the update in the future but you don’t want to wait.
How to install Kodi on your Chromebook via Google Play (step-by-step):
Step 1: Check that you’re running Chrome 53 or later
This will only work if you’re on a newer version of Chrome OS.
You can easily check what version you have installed by clicking on your account picture in the bottom-right and then clicking on Settings (the gear icon).
On the left-hand side, click on “About Chrome” at the bottom of the menu (it may also be at the top depending on your version of Chrome OS).
You’ll get a small dialog box that shows some information about your version.
Verify that it’s at least Chrome 53.
If not, update it and restart your Chromebook. If you have at least version 53, then you can proceed with the following steps. Don’t close the dialog box.
Note: After your device restarts, you may already have the update installed during that reboot. Check for the Play Store icon in the Launcher. If you happen to automatically get the update after you restart your laptop, skip to Step 7.
Step 2: Look for the channel selector
Look at the bottom of the dialog. Click on “More info…” and then “Change Channel…”
Step 3: Switch to the Beta Channel
Another dialog will appear with a selection of channels for you to choose from. Change the channel to “Beta” and then confirm it.
Step 4: Wait
Your Chromebook will now switch from the Stable Channel to the Beta Channel.
This takes time (about ten to twenty minutes). Just sit back and relax. Get some coffee. Do some stretches. Look up the list of shows you’re anticipating to watch on your Kodi-equipped Chromebook.
Step 5: Reboot
After it’s done switching channels, it’ll give you the option to restart it. Go ahead and reboot your Chromebook.
Step 6: Log in to your Google Account
When it’s done rebooting, go ahead and log in to your Google Account.
After you log in, you’ll see a welcome splash page for the Google Play Store.
Step 8: Search for Kodi
When you’re in the Play Store, just search for “kodi” in the search box.
You should be able to find it easily in the search results. Click on it.
Step 9: Install Kodi
You’ll see Kodi’s description page.
You can read reviews, see the app description, and even see the changes to it. Go ahead and click on the “Install” button if everything looks good.
Step 10: Launch Kodi
After you’ve installed it, you can launch it from the Launcher or straight from the app page.
Congrats. You’ve successfully installed the Play Store without waiting for it. You can now play Android games, run Android apps, and of course, use Kodi on your Chromebook.
Getting Kodi on your Chromebook with Linux
This is the last resort if all else fails.
We’ll be installing Linux on your Chromebook. This is the technique you use if your Chromebook isn’t on the list to receive the Play Store update and/or if forcing the update didn’t work.
Why Linux? And what’s Linux?
Linux is an open source kernel that’s widely popular amongst computer enthusiasts.
If you’re really not familiar with operating systems, it’s basically like a free version of Windows (in very, very basic terms). In fact, Chrome OS was built on Linux.
The reason we’ll install Linux is that certain distros (versions) of it have Kodi already preinstalled.
So you can literally choose if you want to launch Chrome OS or Linux depending on what you want to do and switch between them with just a few key presses. This will make it so that you’ll have another operating system alongside Chrome OS. You’ll have two running at the same time- also known as (dual booting).
There’s no real drawback to using this method other than it taking up a little more space on your SSD, and the same issue as the previous method- you’ll lose all your personal data that you have saved, so make sure to back up your stuff before proceeding.
If you don’t know how to make a backup, read the previous section. It’s covered there.
Other good Kodi Linux distros
Another good Linux distro to use for Kodi is OpenELEC.
It’s a bare-bones Kodi operating system based on Linux. It’ll install a basic Kodi box and it’s very easy to use and a good choice for beginners.
How to install Kodi via Linux
This is the actual process. Are you ready?
Be sure that you’ve read all the precautions before proceeding. Once you start, there’s no going back (unless you do a Powerwash).
Okay, so here’s how to install Kodi via Linux on a Chromebook:
Step 1: Enable Developer Mode
You’ll have to turn on Dev Mode in order to install Linux. This is easy to do in just a few steps:
- Press “ESC + Refresh + Power” at the same time and hold it until you see a prompt.
- Read the prompt and press “CTRL + D” to confirm.
- Press “Enter” to enable Dev Mode.
Your Chromebook will reboot. When it boots up, you’ll see another prompt. Read it and hit “CTRL + D” again.
If you get stuck, I wrote a tutorial on how to enable Dev Mode you can reference.
Note: Chrome OS will automatically revert back to normal mode every time you reboot or wake up your Chromebook. You’ll have to press “CTRL + D” every time to keep Dev Mode enabled. This is common for older devices, so be sure you press it each time or else you’ll automatically come out of Dev Mode. If you’re typing in commands later on and nothing’s working, this is probably why.
Step 2: Download Crouton
Crouton is a free tool that we’ll use to easily install a copy of Linux.
Log in to your Chromebook if you haven’t already and set up your WiFi so you have Internet access.
Launch Chrome Browser and download Crouton here.
Here are some things you’ll want to verify before proceeding:
Check that Crouton saved to the proper folder
Be sure it saved to the default “Downloads” folder.
If you’ve created custom folders or directories, the code later on won’t work.
Check that Developer Mode is on
If you’ve just enabled Dev Mode, your machine will have been wiped so there shouldn’t be any custom folders to worry about.
But just in case you’ve stopped and continued with this tutorial or if you’ve created any.
You can install a different Linux Distro
I also suggest reading over the Crouton FAQ page as it answers a lot of common questions.
It also gives you a lot of extra code you may want to use.
For example, if you’re using a touchscreen Chromebook and you want to be able to touch your screen in Linux, you need to type some extra commands in your installation. You can reference the FAQ page for that information.
Something else worth mentioning is that there are literally hundreds of Linux distros you can install. Everything from lightweight and fast environments to full-fledged environments with a ton of functionality.
It’s up to you to choose what you want to install. Each distro requires its own special code, so you’ll have to be somewhat familiar with Linux.
For the purposes of this tutorial and to keep it simple, I’ll just be installing a basic Linux distro called “Xfce,” which is fast, simple, and bare-bones.
I also have a complete step-by-step tutorial for installing Linux you can refer to. This covers literally everything you need to know.
Step 3: Install Linux
After you’ve downloaded Crouton, it’s time to install Linux.
We’ll be using code to do this. Don’t fret. I’ve written everything out for you. All you need to do is literally type it exactly as shown. That also means without quotes and proper casing.
If you get stuck, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Here’s how to install Xfce via Crouton:
Hit “CTRL + ALT + T” to launch the terminal. You’ll see a new tab with a black background and some text. Do you feel like a hacker yet?
Type in the following lines of code (without quotes):
Type “shell” and hit Enter.
Type “sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce -n kodi” and hit Enter.
Your Chromebook will now begin installing Linux. This should take a few minutes. Sit back. Take a break. Are you sweating yet?
Be sure to leave the tab alone and let it do its thing. I’d suggest avoiding browsing other sites while you wait. Just use your phone or another computer. Check in on it every now and then because it’ll prompt you to create a user account.
If you get stuck installing Linux, try deleting the Crouton file from your Downloads folder and redownloading it again. Then try typing in the code once more. Sometimes it just works the second (or third) time around. You can also refer to this Crouton troubleshooting page for help.
Step 4: Create an account
When it’s installing, it’ll ask you to type in a user login and password.
Type something in and be sure to remember it. Jot it down (for now). You’ll need it later to log in. Don’t use the same name and password as your Google Account if you want to stay secure.
Note: It’s normal for the password cursor to stay in one place and not move. This is for extra security.
Step 5: Install basic software packages
After everything’s done installing and set up, you’ll be ready to launch Linux and start installing some necessary packages.
In the same command terminal, type in the following line of code:
Type “sudo enter-chroot -n kodi” (without the quotes) and hit Enter.
Note: If you’ve accidentally closed the command terminal, just launch another one by pressing “CTRL + ALT + T” and you’re good to go.
Then type “sudo apt-get install -y python-software-properties pkg-config software-properties-common” and hit Enter.
Linux will now begin installing some basic packages required to run Kodi. Wait for it to complete. It’ll take some time depending on your Internet speed. Follow the directions on screen.
Step 6: Install some more packages
Now we’ll configure an app repository. Don’t worry too much about this.
This will add some extra repositories to your installation which are required for Kodi.
Type “sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa” and press Enter.
Step 7: Install Kodi
And lastly, type “sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install -y kodi” and hit Enter.
This will install the actual Kodi program onto your copy of Linux.
Step 8: Update the chroot for best performance
This is the final step. Are you excited?
We’re going to update the chroot to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Sometimes a newer chroot version comes out and breaks everything. So to save yourself some time, just update to the newest version until the next one rolls out.
Just type “sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -n kodi -u” and hit Enter to update it.
If you’ve already installed Kodi or if you ever get any issues running media on Linux, you should always try updating the chroot as a priority. Updates tend to break things, but other times it’s necessary.
If you get issues like these:
- Laggy or slow videos
- Pixelated or low-quality media playback
- Sound issues or no sound
- Low framerates (FPS)
- Slow .GIF playback or loading times
- You should always update the chroot first.
Then that means you should update your chroot.
Step 9: Launch Linux
You’re now ready to consume some media on your newfound Chromebook with Kodi installed.
All you need to do is type this magic line of code:
“sudo startxfce4” and hit Enter.
You’ll boot into Linux. It’ll ask you for the login details for security.
Step 10: Log in to your Linux Account
Log in with the credentials you created earlier.
If you’re typing your password and the cursor doesn’t move, it’s normal.
Step 11: Launch Kodi
After you log in, you’ll see the Kodi program on your desktop. Just double-click it and you’re in Kodi.
If you don’t see it, look at the menu bars at the top of the screen. Look for the “Applications” menu and find Kodi. You can launch it like that as well.
Congrats. You did it. You now have Kodi installed on your Chromebook.
Switching between Linux and Chrome OS
You’re running both Chrome OS and Linux at the same time.
If you want to switch back to Chrome OS at anytime, just press “CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + Back Arrow” and you’ll switch over.
If you’re in Chrome OS and want to switch to Linux, press “CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + Forward Arrow” and you’ll swap back.
Note: The Forward and Back Arrows are the arrows on the top-row of your keyboard, not the Up/Down/Left/Right arrows at the bottom. Don’t get confused.
Enhance Kodi with add-ons
Kodi comes with many different free third-party add-ons you can attach to your base installation of Kodi to enhance it.
These are stored in a directory that you can easily browse through (also known as the Kodi repository).
Think of it like the Chrome Web Store. You can browse for Chrome apps and extensions to add onto your browser.
Kodi has many different add-ons that let you stream pretty much anything you want. You can get add-ons for TV shows, films, movies, documentaries, cartoons, animes, and even foreign channels (like Asian dramas, Indian Bollywood flicks, and more).
Whatever you want, there’s probably an add-on to make it better. You can check out some of them here.
These methods should work without any issues, however, if you’re having problems getting Kodi running on your laptop, you may find some solutions here.
The Play Store isn’t downloading
If you’re trying to force the Play Store update, check that your Chromebook on the list of supported devices.
Kodi is laggy, slow, or doesn’t work
If you’re having problems with Kodi’s performance, it’s probably because of two reasons:
- Your Chromebook may not be powerful enough. The majority of them have basic processors with 2GB or 4GB of RAM. This may not be enough to play media. And they don’t have dedicated cards either, so it stresses the CPU to play back video.
- The Play Store is still in beta. It’s not completed yet, so running Android apps on Chrome OS may be buggy, laggy, or slow. This should improve with time.
The code isn’t working and/or I’m getting errors
- Double-check that you’re typing the code in exactly as shown- without the quotes and with proper casing.
- Be sure Crouton is downloaded to the “Downloads” folder.
- Also, check that you’re indeed in Developer Mode as Chrome OS will revert you back to normal mode when you restart or hibernate your Chromebook. You need to press “CTRL + D” to keep OS Verification off and thus keep Dev Mode on.
- If all that doesn’t work, just delete Crouton, restart your device, and try again. It may work the second time around.
- You may also want to check out the FAQ page for Crouton and the troubleshooting pages.
I screwed up my Chromebook
Don’t worry. If you did something that messed up your laptop, just do a Powerwash and it’ll automatically reset everything.
Did you get Kodi working?
Well, that’s about it.
If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I’ll try to help you out.
If this guide has helped you, let me know as well =]. Consider telling a friend who may benefit from it as well.
Thanks for reading.