If you are running Kodi on your Android TV box, you will need to update Kodi regularly. You may have noticed this recently when Kodi started issuing pop-up warnings that some versions of Kodi 18 are unstable on Android and it is time to upgrade. If you aren’t sure how to update Kodi, you may have dismissed the pop-up and saved this problem for another day.
How exactly do you update Kodi on your Android TV box, especially without losing all the settings you have been fiddling with and tweaking in your current version? I have put together this step-by-step guide to show you exactly how.
While most TV boxes need Kodi to be updated regularly, there are a few exceptions. How do you know if yours is one of them? I’ll explain that, too.
The process for updating Kodi is slightly different for a generic Android TV box and a TV box running the official Android TV interface, so I have put together a separate list of instructions for each.
Let’s jump straight in. Why should you update Kodi, when should you not update Kodi, and exactly how do you go about updating Kodi on your Android TV box?
Why You Should Update Kodi
Team Kodi operates using a “release early, release often” development strategy.
This means they’ll push out smaller releases that may add one feature or fix a specific issue every month or two, instead of waiting to push out one major release that fixes and updates everything at once.
In theory, this means faster reaction time on any bugs and less chance that, by fixing one thing, something else would break. Most of the major software development companies release frequent updates, so this is the industry standard.
For that to work in your favor, though, this means that if you want Kodi working at its best you need to update Kodi regularly so you have each of those updates relatively soon after they are released.
Why You Might Not Want To Update Kodi
If updating Kodi means you’re going to be using the latest, most secure version, why would you not want to update Kodi?
Many box manufacturers release modified versions of XBMC\Kodi that are specifically tweaked for those boxes.
For example, Skystream and EZ-Stream both have automatic updater apps that will update their Kodi installations as well as update installed Kodi add-ons.
If you update Kodi with the method below on these boxes, you’ll potentially overwrite the version of Kodi designed for them and lose some of those performance tweaks.
Because of that, keep in mind that you need to know what type of Android TV box you have and how it works with Kodi before making any updates yourself. As a general rule of thumb, if you have an IPTV box or a fully-loaded box, they are probably achieving this using Kodi and it is better not to mess with them.
If you are running Kodi yourself and not using IPTV or a fully-loaded box, I recommend updating Kodi regularly. You should probably also enable automatic updates so that you don’t miss new versions as they are released.
How To Update Kodi On A Generic Android TV Box
(IF YOU HAVE THE OFFICIAL ANDROID TV INTERFACE, SCROLL DOWN TO “HOW TO UPDATE KODI FOR ANDROID TV” BELOW)
Now that it’s in the Google Play Store, the process of updating the Kodi Android app is as easy as updating any other app.
That’s the main reason I recommend only buying TV boxes that come with the Google Play Store pre-installed. If your device doesn’t have access to the Play Store, you’ll need to sideload the android app manually or download it from one of the alternative app stores such as Aptoide or F-Droid.
The process is also different if you have Amazon Fire TV products, including the Firestick, as it runs a modified version of the Android operating system. You will find guidelines for this further down in the article.
Assuming you have access to the Google Play Store, here are the simple steps you need to follow to update Kodi on an Android TV Box.
Launching Smart TV
Starting from your home launcher screen, you should see an icon for the Google Play Store or it may simply say “Store.” On the Ott TZ95 below, it’s shown as Google Store.
If you can’t find anything that looks like the store on your home screen, another way to get to it is through your “All Apps” page. You can see the same icon in the middle row in the screenshot below.
No matter where you find the icon, clicking it will get you to the Play Store, which should look something like this:
In this example, Kodi is one of the highlighted apps Google is recommending to me even though it is already installed on the device. Clicking on the Kodi icon will take you to the app description page, which will alert you if there’s an update available.
But what if it doesn’t happen to be one of the apps they recommend for me?
In the screenshot above, look to the top of the image to find the search bar. It’s the horizontal bar that says “Google Play” with three small lines just to the left of the text. Google calls those three bars the “hot dogs” icon (think of three hot dogs stacked on top of each other). Once you find those three lines, click on them to show the menu bar on the left.
We’re going to do two things while in the menu bar. First, we’re going to turn on automatic app updates, if it isn’t turned on already. Second, we’re going to manually update Kodi for Android.
Turn On Automatic Updates
Once auto-update is turned on, updating should take care of itself. Any time the developers release a new version of their app, it will automatically get updated on your TV box.
From the menu bar, scroll down to the Settings line; click there to get to the main options screen.
Auto-update apps is the first item on the list. Click it to open a toggle-button window for the setting where you can enable or disable auto-update.
Manually Update Kodi
If you head back to the left-side menu, you’ll see an option for My Apps & Games.
Click on it and it will show you a list of all the apps that are currently on the device. It can also sort the apps by status, pulling those needing updates to the top of the list.
You can update each one manually, or click the Update All button at the top right-hand side.
Once the update is finished, you can launch the app from your home screen or directly from the Google Play Store.
How To Update Kodi For Android TV
(IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE OFFICIAL ANDROID TV INTERFACE, AND JUST HAVE AN ANDROID TV BOX, SCROLL BACK UP TO “HOW TO UPDATE KODI ON ANDROID TV BOX” ABOVE OR SKIP TO “OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER”)
Updating Kodi within the official Android TV program is pretty straightforward as well since you can find it on the Google Play Store.
From the main home launcher screen, click on the app for the Google Play Store.
The Android TV version of the Play Store is a bit more streamlined than the normal Android version, and much easier to navigate — especially when using a remote control.
On the left-hand side, you’ll find four menu options:
- My Apps,
You can turn on Auto-Update Apps from within the Settings menu.
If you click on the My Apps menu, you will see a list of all of your apps. The default sort order shows apps with updates available first, with the possible updates on the left side of the side-scrolling app list.
It’s easiest to select Update All to download all of the potential updates in the list, but if you want you can also download selected updates individually.
Once the update is complete, you can access your newly updated Kodi app from your home screen.
What About Amazon Fire TV?
How do you update Kodi on a Firestick? Or on an Amazon Fire Cube or any other Fire TV device?
If you have Kodi already, you will see it in your apps menu but you won’t find any options for updating it there. You will be able to check which version of Kodi you have installed, though, and therefore whether you need to update or not.
Before updating, you will first need to enable developer options. You probably already did this to install Kodi in the first place, but if you have turned this setting off, you will need to turn it on again. You can do this in the My Fire TV menu. Click Developer Options and choose to enable Apps from Unknown Sources.
You probably also installed an app called Downloader to sideload Kodi onto your Firestick or other Fire TV device initially, but if you don’t have it, download it from the Amazon app store.
Using the Downloader app, you can browse the Internet to find the latest Kodi updates on their website: https://kodi.tv/download. You can then download and install the update. Be sure to delete the update file when you are done to conserve space on your device.
Looking for a skin for Kodi? Check out our recommendations for the best Kodi skins for Firestick. These are slightly different from other options, as Firestick is lightweight and so needs lightweight skins as well.
Other Things To Consider
When you are taking the time to update Kodi on your TV box, remember it is not the only thing you should update to keep your TV box running at peak performance.
First and foremost, don’t forget to regularly check for firmware updates for your machine. Firmware is the software that tells your hardware what to do, so this comes from the manufacturer and you will need to go to the manufacturer’s website to find out about updates.
You can find out everything you need to know about firmware and how to update it here.
You also want to ensure your TV box is protected by both antivirus software and a VPN.
You wouldn’t go online on your PC without an antivirus program, and you shouldn’t go online with your TV box without antivirus for the same reasons. If you are running Kodi and accessing files from questionable sources, this only increases your risks. If you need to know more about why you need antivirus protection, check here for more information and our top picks.
If you are looking for recommendations for the best antivirus software for your TV box, I recommend:
AVG ANTIVIRUS FOR ANDROID
This is affordable antivirus protection from a big-name provider. There is even a free version if you don’t mind seeing ads and sacrificing a few features.
There is an AVG app specifically for Android TV available in the Google Play Store, so you can download it directly to your box without any fuss. It also comes with a VPN included, though you’ll probably want to upgrade this VPN if you are using Kodi.
Another big name antivirus company, Bitdefender offers a free version for Android you can download from the Play Store directly to your device. This lightweight antivirus doesn’t run in the background, so it doesn’t eat up your speeds while you are streaming.
It is compatible back as far as Android 4.1, which is important since many TV boxes run older versions of Android.
MCAFEE SECURITY AND POWER BOOSTER FREE
McAfee is probably the best-known name in antivirus software, and they offer free, ad-supported antivirus software for Android. There is also a paid version that unlocks additional features. As well as scanning apps on download, it regularly scans to see if any of your applications are leaking data.
While a VPN is always a good idea as far as security is concerned, it is even more important if you dive into the more legally dubious areas of Kodi. Even if you don’t, you should be protecting yourself with a VPN and you can read about all the reasons in our article about why you need a VPN when using Kodi.
For Kodi, you don’t just want any VPN service as you will need one that supports streaming and/or P2P file exchange (torrenting). In addition, while all VPNs will cut your internet speeds, some cut them more than others. You don’t want slow speeds to kill your 4K streaming pleasure.
When you are using Kodi you need a VPN service that supports streaming and torrenting, gives you lightning-fast speeds, has a solid level of encryption (256-bit AES), and a no-logs policy. Our top three VPN services for Kodi all have these features, and a lot more.
Highly affordable at $72 for a one-year plan, you can connect up to seven devices on a single subscription. You get amazing coverage with 6,500 servers in 90 countries, and while they all enable streaming and torrenting, there are also dedicated servers to do this even better.
Unlike many VPN services, CyberGhost VPN successfully unlocks the major streaming services.
NordVPN is just $84 per year for six devices, which gives you access to 5,500 servers in 60 locations. You can stream and torrent on all of their servers, so you always have access to the content you are looking for. NordVPN also offers excellent support if you ever need it.
A bargain at just $77.99 per year for 10 devices, IPVanish only has 1,400 servers in 75 locations but also has fewer users than its competitors so there’s less competition for the server space. They offer the fastest internet speeds of the three options listed here.
You can read more in-depth reviews in our article about the 10 Best VPN Services for Kodi.
Best Kodi Skins For 2023
While you might be happy with the way you’ve set up and personalized Kodi, you might also want to change or improve the interface. Updating the app can be a good time to update your interface as well.
If you enjoy fiddling and perfecting your system, that’s great! If you want something that is already slick and user-friendly and finds all the content that you want pretty much automatically, you can try one of these new Kodi skins available in 2023.
This is probably the most popular Kodi skin available, and it is one of the few that has already been updated to work seamlessly with version 19.4. We love the large-scale visuals that feel fresh and new, but not so new that you can’t find what you are looking for.
If you have a large screen TV and you want to make the most of your space, this skin that was recently updated for Kodi 19 could be what you are looking for. It has a large, bottom-position menu bar, and you can add your shortcuts. The large background images are constantly changing, so it always feels fresh and relevant.
If you want a strong underlying skin that works well, but also the ability to heavily customize, Amber is designed for you and has been recently updated for Kodi 19. As an example, the main menu is a side scroll but when you enter categories you will see horizontal rows of movie posters. If you don’t like that, change it! Almost every element of this skin is customizable.
If you like the old Kodi interface but need to update Kodi, the Confluence skin lets you keep the old feel. This skin also pulls in metadata about your content better than many other options.
Titan (Bingie Mod)
If you just want Kodi to look like Netflix, then this is the skin for you! While this option was a bit buggy when it was first released, it is now incredibly slick and is set to become one of the most popular options on the market.
FAQs About Kodi On Android TV
How Do I Get Kodi On Android TV?
Getting Kodi on Android is simple, as it is an app available through the Google Play Store. All Android TV boxes should have access to the Play Store to download apps directly to your TV box. You will automatically be given the latest version of Kodi when you install Kodi via the Play Store.
Setting up Kodi to work with your media library and to access third-party content is a more in-depth process. Read our Ultimate Guide: How To Set Up Kodi.
Can I Update My Android Box?
There are three levels of software on an Android TV box that might need to be updated. The first is your firmware, which is the software that tells the hardware of your TV box what to do. This update is released by the manufacturer of your TV box, and you should check their website for downloads and instructions. You can also read our guide: How And Why To Update Your Android TV Box Firmware.
On top of this is the Android Operating System (OS), which is the “master” software on your TV box that makes everything work. You can update to new versions of your OS through the settings menu on your TV box, and will probably be reminded to do so when new releases are available. For example, if you have Android 7.0 you will be prompted to update to Android 7.1 when it is available; however, you are unlikely to be able to upgrade from one OS to another. For example, you likely won’t be able to upgrade from Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) to Android 9.0 (Pie). In 2023, I recommend that you don’t get an Android TV box with an operating system lower than Android 7.0 (Nougat).
Then there are individual updates for applications such as Kodi, Netflix, your VPN, and so forth. The majority of these can be managed through the Google Play Store. You can update these apps manually, or set them to update automatically when new updates are released.
Will I Lose My Add-Ons When I Update Kodi?
If you update Kodi properly, you shouldn’t lose any of your add-ons. It is important to remember to update the app instead of deleting and reinstalling it, or you will lose your add-ons as well as other settings and customizations.
The add-ons you use in Kodi will also need to be updated periodically. You should be notified in the Kodi settings menu when updates are available, and you can update the add-ons from there. You can also set your Kodi add-ons to auto-update.
How Can I Install An Older Version Of Kodi?
If you want to roll your app back to an older version of Kodi on your TV box, it is quite simple. The Kodi developers keep previous releases available for download on their website, you just need to scroll down the page past the updates to find older versions.
If you are installing Kodi for the first time or installing it over an even older version of Kodi, you can follow the instructions above. If you already have a newer version of Kodi, you will need to uninstall it before you can install the older version.
How Do I Know What Version Of Kodi I Am Using?
When you launch your Kodi application, simply go into settings and check the system information to see what version of Kodi you are running.
What Versions Of Kodi Are Currently Available?
In 2022, Kodi 19 Matrix is the latest version and it is currently on its 19.4 release. Given their system of releasing updates frequently as they are developed, though, we can expect plenty more. For Android, Kodi is still supporting releases as far back as Kodi 17.6 Krypton; however, we don’t recommend installing anything older than Kodi 18 Leia.
Updating apps on your Android TV box can be as easy as updating apps on your Android smartphone. It’s a simple matter of going to the Google Play Store and downloading the latest updates, or setting your TV box to do that automatically without you having to remember to check every few months.
If you run Kodi on your Android TV box it is probably at the center of your viewing experience, so ensuring it has all the latest features and fixes is important. This is why it is almost always a good idea to update Kodi regularly.
The only exception to this is if you have a TV box that runs a modified version of Kodi, in which case you should follow the manufacturer’s guidance. This is an important detail to check when purchasing your TV box.
If you have any personal experience updating Kodi on Android TV, please share them with the community by commenting below.
Very well written. Should help many individuals get up-to-date.
agree… constantly having to update fire sticks and boxes for my friends, I put it down to just laziness, so the auto update should help them and save me time.
As always a great article, sadly my android box will update no further than 16.1 🙁