Popcorn Time, the so-called Netflix for pirates, is now on iOS. It’s never been easier to watch pirated movies and TV shows on the iPhone or Android device. Is it illegal? Not really. Shady and not exactly ethical? Sure.
Not surprisingly, Apple didn’t give the official nod to this app so Popcorn Time cannot be found in the App Store. That said, it’s still easy to obtain and install the needed software as long as you’re willing to jailbreak your iOS device.
The app works like its desktop counterparts–It provides an easy way to stream pirated content. Just click on a movie to start streaming it to your iPad or iPhone. It’s that simple. The app is free and there isn’t a monthly fee. Because, you know, piracy.
The team is already working on incorporating an integrated VPN service and Chromecast and Airplay support, but the current plan includes rolling out those features in upcoming releases.
Popcorn Time streams pirated content that it doesn’t produce, so it’s always operated in a legal grey area. The devs behind this app tell me that they’ve been approached several times from the powers that be (they won’t say who), but so far they’ve managed to work within the given bounds. As for users, it’s perfectly legal (although arguably unethical) to use the app because neither you nor the app hold the movies — the movies are pulled from the Internet.
Forty-five percent of Popcorn Time installs are on Windows, with Android accounting for 30%. And according to the devs, 8,000 people try to install the Android app onto their iPhones on a daily basis. The demand is clearly there for a Popcorn Time iOS app.
The developers tried to get the proper certificate from Apple to allow the application to be installed on iOS without jailbreaking the device. That didn’t happen. As it stands today, at launch, the iOS device needs to be jailbroken in order to install the alternative app store, Cydia. As the developer of Cydia points out, tools such as Pangu or evasi0n can help with this step.
Once the device is jailbroken, meaning it is no longer confined to Apple’s predetermined restraints, all sorts of modifications can be installed including running apps only found in Cydia such as Popcorn Time. Simply add this repo — http://cydia.time4popcorn.eu — to the Cydia sources to download it. The iOS device must be jailbroken and running iOS 7 or higher.
The source code for this project, and the Windows and Android versions, are available on the developer’s website.
As with Popcorn Time in the past, downloaders should approach with caution and not expect this service to last forever. The first iteration of Popcorn Time launched with much fanfare and crashed even more spectacularly. Yet the project was embraced by several different teams of developers and each seem to have navigated the waters since just fine.