VLC blacklists Huawei phones over “ridiculous” policy

VideoLAN, maker of the popular VLC media player, has taken the unusual step of preventing Huawei phones from being able to download the software from the Google Play Store.

The decision was taken due to how VideoLAN claims Huawei phones handle background apps. The allegation is that Huawei’s software will prevent any apps from running in the background unless they’re first-party apps produced by the manufacturer.

It’s a bold claim, but it’s a problem many Huawei users seem to be experiencing, from the looks of various forums across the web. VideoLAN has said that the issue only appears to be affecting recent Huawei phones.

Yes, you can prevent the problem by listing VLC as a ‘protected app’ in Huawei’s software, but clearly VideoLAN is getting annoyed by the amount of people complaining about what they think are issues with its own software and giving the app negative reviews on the Google Play store.

It’s bad publicity, and users are unlikely to immediately reason that their phones are to blame, rather than the media software.

The good news is that VideoLAN has since confirmed that it’s working with Huawei on a fix for the issue, and that it’s hoping to release this “in the next few weeks”.

That said, we haven’t experienced the same problem ourselves with other mainstream music-playing apps like Spotify or Pocket Casts, although VideoLAN claims that these apps only work because they’ve been whitelisted by Huawei, which is “refusing” to do the same for VLC.

How to install and use VLC on your Huawei phone

For the time being, if you’re a Huawei owner who wants to use VLC then you can always download the APK directly from VideoLAN, and then select the file from within Android’s file manager. You’ll need to give your phone permission to install apps from sources other than the Google Play store when prompted.

Once you’ve got the app installed, you’ll need to make VLC a ‘protected app’ on your Huawei phone in order to prevent it from being shut down when running in the background.

To do so, head into the Settings menu, tap Advanced Settings, choose Battery Manager and finally select Protected Apps from the list.

From there you can protect apps one by one by flipping the switch on the right of the screen, so scroll down to VLC to protect it. You could also choose to protect all your apps, but you’ll do so at the risk of it harming your battery life.

Do you think its fair for VideoLAN to blacklist an entire manufacturer because of how its phones handle VLC? Let us know @TrustedReviews.