- What is a Kodi Fork?
- Getting the APK tool
- Getting the required Smali files
- Getting the Kodi 19 apk file
- Getting started
- How to Recompile
- How to upload your Kodi Fork:
What is a Kodi Fork?
The term “Fork” gets thrown around a lot in the cord-cutting community. You have probably heard of other apps being referred to as a Fork. A Fork is nothing more than a copy of another app. These “Forks” are not hosted by the original developer and are run/maintained by the person who “forked” them.
As for Kodi, you can create your very own “Fork” of their apk. This is nothing more than a copy of the original Kodi app. The standard Fork has nothing on it other than what comes with Kodi. This “Fork” is separate from Kodi and can be installed on your device just like other third-party apps. By creating a Fork there are many customizations that you can do to make this app your own.
Custom images can be added to the Fork and you can even go as far as renaming the app from Kodi to a name of your choice. Customizing a Kodi Fork is almost unlimited there are many changes that can be made. Some of those most common customizations will be discussed in this online course.
How can a Kodi Fork be used?
The main reason for creating a Kodi Fork is so that you can have multiple Kodi versions/builds installed on one device. For instance, with a Kodi Fork, you can have Kodi v18 and 19 installed on one device. Alternatively, you can install one build on your main Kodi 19 app and have a “Forked” version of another build on your Kodi Fork app. Some of the other less common reasons are people who create their own Kodi Builds. These developers like to offer their own “app” so that their users can easily download them without having to go through lengthy Kodi installs.
No matter what the reason is there are many uses for having a Kodi Fork. In this online course, we will be showing you how you can create your own Kodi Fork with an included Kodi Wizard/Repo. We will also be showing you how you can add more add-ons to your Kodi Fork.
Getting the APK tool
In order to create a fork of Kodi, we will need a way to convert the official Kodi 19 apk into a “file” that can be edited. The easiest way to convert an apk into what’s referred to as a decompiled apk is by using APK Easy Tool. This free software will allow us to covert a Kodi apk into a decompiled version and also allow us to recompile it into an apk. It also gives us the ability to “sign” our completed Fork apk so that we can install this apk on any Android device.
To get the APK Easy Tool software use the button below:
The APK Easy Tool download will give you version 1.59. It may ask you to update when you open APK Easy Tool. DO NOT UPDATE! Just close the update notifications so that you continue to run version 1.59.
Now that you have your APK Tool downloaded go ahead and install it on your PC. After installation, if you open up the documents folder you should see a folder titled APK Easy Tool. Inside that folder are several other folders. The two folders we will be focusing on in this lesson are the Decompiled APKs and Recompiled APKs. These will be discussed later in this course, but for now, we just wanted to let you know where they are located on your PC.
Getting the required Smali files
Without going into too much detail about what the smali files are here is a general description. Smali/baksmali is an assembler/disassembler for the dex format used by dalvik, Android’s Java VM implementation. The syntax is loosely based on Jasmin’s/dedexer’s syntax and supports the full functionality of the dex format (annotations, debug info, line info, etc.)
The names “smali” and “baksmali” are the Icelandic equivalents of “assembler” and “disassembler” respectively. Confused? Don’t be!
Just know that the smali files are required in order to get your fork working correctly. Without it, you will not be able to recompile or sign your apk thus causing it not to be able to be used for installation on an Android device.
To get the required smali files use the button below.
Once you have the smali files downloaded to your PC you will need to extract them. We suggest right-clicking on the zip file and selecting extract. DO NOT rename or change anything on these files at this point. Just have them extracted so that you are ready to edit them in a later lesson. If you need software to extract a zipped file please check out WinRAR as they are FREE open-source software. Use the button below to get WinRAR if you need it.
Getting the Kodi 19 apk file
Since we are making a Fork of Kodi 19 we need to download their official apk. Later in this course, we will be decompiling this apk and editing it. You can use the button below to download the official Kodi 19 APK or you can visit kodi.tv/download but make sure you download the “android version 32bit”. Some devices are not able to run 64 bit so we always recommend using 32bit so it works on all Android devices. The button below will automatically download Kodi 19.4 APK 32bit.
Now that you have all of the required files it’s time to get started making your very own Kodi 19 Fork. Proceed to the next lesson to get started.
How to decompile the Kodi 19 APK
Before we can even begin customizing we need to convert the official Kodi 19 apk into a working file. Please follow the steps below to convert your Kodi 19 apk into a “decompiled” file.
- Open the APK Easy Tool software on your PC
*Your APK Easy Tool software may look a bit different depending on the version number you have installed. The software works the same no matter the version so please try to follow along with the steps below.
The first thing we need to do is to select the file we want to decompile. In this case, we need to select the Kodi 19 APK we downloaded earlier.
- On the APK Easy Tool software click the select Browse button.
- Windows File Explorer will open up. Locate the Kodi 19 APK file you download earlier and click open.
- This will automatically create a decompiled name and compile name on APK Easy Tool. See the image below
- Next, click on the “Decompile” button. This will start the decompiling process. It may take a minute or two to finish. Wait for APK Easy Tool to open a popup saying Decompile Successful.
Now that you have successfully decompiled the official Kodi 19 APK it’s time to start editing. To locate your decompiled file go to my documents, open the APK Easy Tool folder, and then open the Decompiled APK’s folder. You should now see the Kodi 19.4 apk decompiled folder there. Open up the Kodi folder and you should see these files/folders.
In the next lesson, we will go over how you can customize your Kodi Fork using these files/folders. Keep this decompiled file window open as we will be going through it in the next lesson.
When customizing these files we like to work from top to bottom or in order. This ensures we never miss a step.
- Start by opening up the assets folder on your decompiled Kodi 19 folder. These folders are “Kodi”. You have your addons, media, system files, and user data files. Same as you would on any Kodi install.
- Start by opening up the addons folder
Discussing the addons folder:
The addons folder contains all of your Kodi add-ons. This is where you would want to paste any add-on you want to include in your fork. For example, you can paste your Kodi Wizard plugin folder here along with your repository folder. If you are familiar with Kodi builds you could paste ALL of your Kodi build files here as well. Just ensure that everything you want to be included in your Fork is posted here.
In this example, we are pasting our Kodi Wizard and Repository into the addons folder.
As you can see we only added two folders into our addons folder. One is plugin.program.fire and the other is repository.myfirestreams. This means that when our Kodi Fork is opened up on a device it will automatically have Kodi 19.4 installed along with our Wizard and Repository.
- At this point, go ahead and add any add-ons you’d like to add to your Fork
- Once you finish adding your add-ons to the addons folder go back to the assets folder
- Open system folder
- Next, open the addon-manifest.xml file (we recommend using Notepad ++ to edit this type of file. You can download Notepad++ for free just Google search for it)
Do NOT forget to add ALL of the addon dependencies files as well! In this example, our dependency files are already installed on our repository so we do not need to manually add them. The best way to find out what addons should be added to your fork is by doing the following.
- Install a fresh copy of Kodi on your PC
- Install your wizard and repository
- On your PC in search type %appdata%
- Open up the Kodi folder
- Open up the addons folder
- Copy and paste all of your addons to your Fork
- Then be sure to add them to the addon-manifest.xml file below
If you have a repo, be sure to add these files to your repo and you will not need to add them to the fork.
Editing the addon-manifest.xml file:
This file contains ALL of your Kodi addons. By default, when you first open this file it will ONLY contain the default Kodi 19 addons. We need to edit this file to add the names of the same add-ons we just added in the previous step. If you uploaded a build or a lot of add-ons this part can be time-consuming. Just make sure you add ALL of the add-ons you added in the previous step.
Since we only added two add-ons (wizard and repo) we only need to add two add-ons to this file.
- Scroll down to the bottom of this file
- Place your indication mark (mouse) beside > on the last addon line and you would click enter after </addon>
- Press enter on your keyboard. This will create a new line between </addon> and </addons>
- Keep pressing enter to create enough lines for all of your add-ons. Since we only added two we only need two lines.
Now that you have created the necessary lines we need to add the code into this file. Start in order and add each of your add-ons line by line. You need to make sure the file name aka the add-on name matches that of the add-ons you added. Also, the add-on name should be between <addon> and </addon>. For example, we added:
- Once you have added ALL of the add-ons save this file.
Editing the Settings.xml file
We need to edit this file to turn on allow apps from unknown sources by default on Kodi.
- Next, click on the settings folder in your system folder on the decompiled Kodi 19 APK
- Open the settings.xml file
- If you press control F on your keyboard in Notepad++ it will bring up a search box. Type in unknown and click find next. This will take you directly to the line we need to edit for unknown sources.
- By default allow apps from unknown sources is set to false. Change false to true just as we did on the image below
- Just below the unknown sources part you will see “addons.updatemode”. Change the default value from 0 to 1. This will enable updates from any repository. (line 3205 for kodi 19.4)
- Save your settings.xml changes
- Now return back to your Kodi 19 APK assets folder and select the user data folder
Editing the user data folder
If you want to add custom RSS feeds to your Kodi Fork then we need to edit the RssFeeds.xml file. This step is optional.
- Open the RssFeeds.xml file in Notepad++
- Beside <feed simply add in the URL for your custom RSS feed. See the image below for reference
- Save your changes after adding your RSS feed. **NOTE you can have more than one feed but we only suggest keeping this to one. You can remove the default Kodi feeds and only keep your custom feed just like we did in the image above.
- Now that you have added your main RSS feed to your Fork you now need to return to the decompiled Kodi 19 APK main folder.
- Open up the res folder
Editing the res folder
This will require a bit of time to get fully customized. This step is optional but if you want your “App/Fork” to have custom images then you will need to go through all of these steps to get it fully customized to your liking.
You need to ensure that ALL file names match the original and the sizes match 100%. Do not change anything other than the images. If you open up these files in photoshop and edit them with your own image then make sure when you save you select “overwrite”. This will keep the file name the same but replace your new image with the original.
We will not be going through each of these steps but we will tell you which folders to edit. Just make sure you edit ALL of the images inside each of the listed folders below!
You will be editing the images inside each of the highlighted folders below:
In the first folder called drawable, you will see how we edited this below. Notice we only edit the image files nothing else. You do not need to edit the XML files inside these folders just the logo image files.
Notice how we kept the file names the same and sizes but only changed the image itself. Do that for all of the highlighted folders listed above. Once you are finished proceed to the next step.
- Back inside the res folder open up the values folder
Editing the values folder
Inside the values folder, we will be editing the strings.xml file. This file contains our App name. If you want your Kodi Fork/App to have a custom name then we need to edit this.
- Open the strings.xml file
- Edit the app_name to a name of your choice. This is your Apps name as it would show up on Firestick
- Edit _search_hint to a search keyword of your choice. This is the search keyword you would use on Firestick to find your app. We suggest using the app name here.
Below you will see how we edited our settings.xml file:
So on an Android device, our app name aka fork name would be Myfirestreams Kodi 19 and you could search by typing in Myfirestreams on that device to locate this app.
Next, let’s give Kodi some custom images. This is not the same as editing the drawable files we did earlier. Those only changed the app images. To change the Kodi images we need to make changes elsewhere.
Editing the media folder images
- Go back to your decompiled Kodi 19 APK folder and select the assets folder
- Click on the media folder. This folder contains all of your Kodi images. If you want to change these then you will need to edit each one. Same as before, do NOT change the file names or image sizes.
See our example below of how we changed the default Kodi images to our own.
At this point, your Kodi Fork is nearly complete. You have successfully added your own add-ons, images, RSS feeds, changed settings, and default app name. In the next lesson, we will be showing you how to add the smali files to your apk.
Adding the smali files to your Kodi 19 Fork
You should have already downloaded the required smali file to your PC and extracted it. Find that file folder on your PC and proceed through the steps below to get it added to your Kodi 19 Fork.
- Locate the smali folder on your PC that you downloaded and extracted from us. Open up that folder.
- Depending on how you extracted it your file may be named differently however, open up that folder until you get to the PLEASE folder.
- Copy the PLEASE folder
- Next, open up your decompiled Kodi 19 APK folder
- Open the smali folder on your decompiled APK
- Paste the PLEASE folder you copied into this location. See the image below as an example
Now that you have added the smali required files/folders to your decompiled Kodi 19 Fork we need to make a few name changes to those folders.
- On your decompiled Kodi 19 Fork inside the smali folder change, the folder name PLEASE to the (Simply right-click on PLEASE and select rename. Make sure you type in “the” all lowercase) You technically can name this anything you want but to keep up with this guide we suggest using the.
- Next, open “the” folder
- Rename the CHANGE folder to two
- Open the “two” folder
- Change the ME folder name to the name of your app. For example, our folders are like the names below:
- Open the last folder you just renamed. This is your smali. Take a look at the image below. Notice on the location bar how our file structure says kodi-19.4-Matrix>smali>the>two>myfirestreams. Make sure your location information matches the folder names you just edited. Should be smali>the>two> then whatever your app name is
Keep your “app name” aka smali folder opened up. Same folder that is opened in the image above. We will be editing these smali files next.
Editing the smali files
To open these smali files you will need to “right-click” and select open with Notepad++. Simply double-clicking will not work as we need these files to open in a notepad program so we can edit them.
- Open the first smali file titled BuildConfig.smali
This part can get confusing so please ensure you follow each step in order and EXACTLY how we tell you to do it.
- On the BuildConfig.smali file on line 1 you will see LPLEASE/CHANGE/ME/BuildConfig;
- Highlight LPLEASE/CHANGE/ME/ (make sure you include the tailing /)
- Press control F on your keyboard to bring up the Notepad++ search feature
- Next, on the “find” box click on the tab “Find in Files”
- Now click on the three-dot button beside Directory. See the image below for example
This will bring up a box titled “Browse For Folder”. We need to locate the decompiled folder for our APK. By default this can be found in Documents>APK Easy Tool>Decompiled APK’s. Open the expand the decompiled Kodi 19 APK and then expand the smali folder. Next, highlight the first folder titled “the” inside your smali folder. See the image below as an example
- Once you have the “the” folder highlighted click OK
- On the “Find in Files” box we need to edit the “Replace with” box to represent our newly renamed smali folder. You will need to type in Lthe/two/ followed by your app name/. It should look similar to this:
Again make sure it starts with a capital L and ends with /
- Once you have the correct Replace With text entered then simply click the button “Replace in Files”. This will automatically replace LPlease/CHANGE/ME/ with the correct name on all of your smali files! You can go through each one and do it manually but using the find and replace feature saves you a lot of time.
- Next, on the BuildConfig.smali file on line 7 highlight the text PLEASE.CHANGE.ME do not select the ” ” just the text.
- Press control F to bring up the find box
- Select Find in Files tab
- On the Replace With box you need to type in the.two. Your App Name see the example below
- Your Directory should still be selected form the last step however if it isn’t you need to select the “the” folder inside the smali folder on your decompiled Kodi 19 APK.
- Click Replace in Files. This will automatically change PLEASE. CHANGE.ME to the.two.Your App Name on all of your smali files
- Save and close the BuildConfig.smali file
- Now scroll down on your smali file list and locate the file titled “Splash$FillCache.smali”
- Open this file in Notepad++
- Press control F on your keyboard and search for “please”
- Click Find Next then close the find box
- It should have brought you to line 861 where it says Preparing for first run. Please wait…
- Change the text Preparing for first run to Welcome to Your App Name. See the example below
const-string v1, "Welcome to Myfirestreams Kodi 19 App. Please wait..."
- Next, open up the Splash$StateMachine.smali file in Notepad++
- Press control F on your Keyboard
- Type in the find what box starting
- Click Find
- You should see on line 504 Starting WBMC…. Change WBMC to your App name See the example below
const-string v2, "Starting Myfirestreams Kodi 19 App..."
- Press control F on your keyboard again
- In the find what box type in please
- Click find
- It should take you to line 124 where it says WBMC requires access. Change WBMC to your App Name. Scroll to the end of that line and change WBMC to your App name. See the example below
const-string v1, "Myfirestreams Kodi 19 App requires access to your device media and files to function. Please allow this via the following dialogue box or Myfirestreams Kodi 19 App will exit."
- Save and close the file
- Next return back to your decompiled Kodi 19 APK folder and open the smali folder
- Open the org folder
- Then open xbmc folder
- Finally, open kodi
- Open the Splash$StateMachine.smali file in notepad++ and do the same steps above for editing the WBMC name. Please note that the line numbers do NOT match that of the file above. Just use the steps above to search and replace the text. You are only editing the last two steps where we edited lines 504 and 124.
- Once you have completed that, return back to your decompiled Kodi 19 APK folder
- Open AndroidManifest.xml file in Notepad++
- On line 1 scroll over till you see package=”org.xbmc.kodi” and change this name to the.two. Your app name. See the example below
- Next, scroll down to lines 61-63
- Change org.xmbc.kodi to the.two.Your App Name (ONLY change the first part of this text!!!!!) See the example below
Take notice that we edited lines 61,62, and 63 ONLY the first part. Deleting the last part will result in errors so please make sure you only edit the first part.
- Next, return back to your decompiled Kodi 19 APK folder and open apktool.yml file in Notepad++
This is an extremely IMPORTANT step! These file names MUST match so please ensure you keep up with the names used!
- On line 2 for the APKFILENAME you need to remove kodi and replace it with your app name. See the example below:
- Next scroll to the very bottom of the apktool.yml file
- On the line “renameManifestPackage” change Null to the.two.Your App name see the example below:
Congrats! You now have a completed Kodi 19 Fork that has been fully customized! The only thing that is left to do is to recompile this file into an APK, Sign it, and upload it. Proceed to the next lesson for instructions.
How to Recompile
- Open APK Easy Tool if you don’t already have it opened
- As a precaution, we need to make sure we have the correct decompiled APK selected.
- Click on the “Select Decompiled Apk button” whitch is located below the “Browse” button. (image below is an outdated version)
- On the Browse For Folder box locate and select the decompiled apk you have been editing. It can be found in Documents>APK Easy Tool>Decompiled APK’s>Select the Kodi file and click OK
- Next, on the Compile Name box, we need to change this name to match that of the apk name used in the previous step. Remove Kodi and replace it with your app name. See the example below
- Once you have the file name edited then all you need to do is to click the “compile box”
This process may take a while depending on how fast your PC is and how many add-ons you added to the Kodi file. Please wait for this process to finish! After it recompiles the files it will automatically sign them for you and you will be notified once it finishes.
When APK EASY Tool finishes you can find your new Kodi 19 Fork APK in Documents>APK Easy Tool>Recompiled APK’s>Your APK
This is your final product and is now ready to be uploaded so you can use it.
How to upload your Kodi Fork:
In this final lesson, we will be discussing how you can upload your completed Kodi 19 Fork so that you can install it on your android devices. We will not be going into too much detail but we will give you an easy solution for uploading your APK.
Dropbox is a free website that will allow you to upload and share files. Go to the dropbox website and log in. Once you have signed in simply upload your recompiled Kodi 19 Fork to Dropbox. After your upload has been completed click share on that file and then create a link. This will give you a shareable link that you can use to download this file. By default, Dropbox shared file URL end in a 0. When using this link you need to change the 0 to a 1. By changing it to a 1 it will automatically start the download when you access that URL.
Another easy option is to simply use the downloader app on your device and enter in the full dropbox URL but change the 0 to a 1 at the end of that URL. This will automatically start the download of your APK. The only issue with doing it this way is that the URL from dropbox is extremely long and complicated. You could use a URL shortener like bitly to shorten the link but again make sure you change the 0 to a 1 before shortening it.
If you have your own domain name and server you can upload the apk file there and access it by using your URL
The last option is to upload your file to dropbox and create the shareable link. Then on your server, you can manually create a URL redirect and redirect your custom URL to that of the dropbox URL. But again, make sure to change the 0 to a 1.
We hope you found this course helpful in creating your very own Kodi 19 Fork! Be sure to leave us a comment letting us know how you liked it!