Popcorn Time, the infamous app for streaming video torrents, has passed 1 million downloads on non-jailbroken iOS devices. The seven-digit mark was crossed “just a few days ago,” the Popcorn Time team told us. At the time of publishing, the download number is already at about 1.1 million.
Sometimes referred to as the “Netflix for Torrents” or even the “Netflix for Pirates,” Popcorn Time is seen as a major threat to Netflix, and Hollywood in general. The iOS milestone is a unique case: Two months ago the developers figured out how to load unauthorized software on iOS devices, something Apple works very hard to stop. This is achieved using a special iOS installer that slips a Popcorn Time build past iOS’ security features.
“Popcorn Time, so it seems, is the most downloaded mobile app outside the Google and Apple stores,” the Popcorn Time team told VentureBeat. “And we take huge pride in this. This is us, this is what we’ve created and it’s fucking breaking records. But the silver lining of this whole thing, what’s even bigger in our perspective, is the fact that Popcorn Time is the only app in the *world* that can be installed on non-jailbroken iOS devices outside [Apple’s] app store.”
The first claim is hard to verify: Download numbers for apps that require jailbroken iOS devices are difficult to come by. The second, however, is definitely true: Popcorn Time really is the only iOS app not in Apple’s App Store that you can install without jailbreaking your device, at least until the iOS installer is made available to other app developers.
The caveat to all this is that you need a PC or a Mac to get Popcorn Time: You have to connect your iOS device and follow the instructions to load the app. This is a workaround, so we should remind you to install Popcorn Time at your own risk — this isn’t just a beta app, it’s an app that requires circumventing Apple’s iOS restrictions.
The iOS installer for Windows was released in April, and the Mac version was released in May. In other words, it took Popcorn Time for iOS just over two months to pass the 1 million download mark.
Because sideloading apps onto iOS was not achievable without jailbreaking your device, until now, the Popcorn Time group is ecstatic at having reached this milestone. It shows that iOS users are not just very interested in a Popcorn Time app for iOS, but they are eager to try an alternative to jailbreaking in order to get apps that Apple doesn’t approve of.
“This achievement we stand behind, that even though we’ve had so many huge achievement this year, we all here agree that this achievement — this is the tip of the iceberg,” the Popcorn Time team told VentureBeat. “This is the cherry on top. This is the most exciting achievement we never thought was even possible when we just picked up this project.”
Popcorn Time shared with us the top 10 countries in terms of downloads for its iOS app. Installing an unauthorized app on iOS without jailbreaking your device in an international phenomenon:
- Netherlands: 19.14 percent
- United States: 17.62 percent
- Brazil: 7.21 percent
- France: 5.64 percent
- Norway: 4.54 percent
- Mexico: 4.31 percent
- United Kingdom: 4.28 percent
- Canada: 3.32 percent
- Belgium: 3.23 percent
- Spain: 2.06 percent
As we’ve said before, Hollywood’s worst nightmare is very much a cross-platform affair: Popcorn Time is available for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux. The Popcorn Time team also told us that the iOS app, if you include jailbroken and non-jalbroken devices combined, is third in terms of total downloads. Second place goes to Windows, and the gold medal is actually around Android’s neck.
In other words, the app is not just popular on desktop, but even more so on mobile devices. This is impressive, given that the streaming experience largely depends on your connection speed and the size of your screen.
So what’s next for Popcorn Time? Windows Phone and its successor, Windows 10 Mobile.