The Netflix of Piracy is finally on the hallowed grounds of iOS. Well, sort of. Popcorn Time is indeed now available to be installed on iPhones and iPads but you will need a jailbroken device to do so, which is probably fitting given the murky legal waters that this streaming service sails through.
Unlike Netflix, which streams content that it has legally obtained or licensed, Popcorn Time distributes videos and films they legally have no right to distribute. But thanks to some legal hocus pocus, the service has managed to evade the long arm of Hollywood and remain in business, not that it’s making any money from it. Besides being a free service, it also frees users from legal culpability since technically they aren’t storing the content on their devices or computers. That is, at least until some suits wise up and start turning (or twisting) the law to fit their needs.
Popcorn Time has so far been available for Windows and, more recently, for Android, but its developers report that about 8,000 of its users try to install the Android app on iOS, proving that there is a demand for a native iOS app. Naturally, the developers were only too happy to deliver. And naturally as well, Apple is not too happy to allow it.
Apple’s tight grip on App Store means that it will block apps that provide questionable services or content, which is undoubtedly what Popcorn Time is. That said, there is a way to get the app installed, but that requires jailbreaking the device, which in turn means voiding warranties and whatever side effects the process may incur. Once freed of Apple’s restrictions, users can use an alternative app store such as Cydia to install Popcorn Time for iOS.
It is definitely a painstaking journey which many iPhone or iPad owners won’t be willing to make. Those who live on services such as Popcorn Time, however, will probably be willing to take the risk or might even be halfway there already. As it stands, the situation with Apple is unlikely to change and those intent on using Popcorn Time on iOS will have to use the backdoor forever. Or at least until someone shuts Popcorn Time down.