Update – April 15, 2019 2:35 p.m. EST – It looks like the VLC team resolved its issues with Huawei quite some time ago. A post today on Android Police, which indicated that the VLC app can be downloaded once again on Huawei phones via Google Play, got a response from the official VLC Twitter account. It stated that the VLC app has been available for those phones “for months”. It added, “Huawei fixed their firmware a long time ago, and we released the day after the availability.”
Original story – July 25, 2018 – Phone manufacturers are always looking for ways to save battery life on its devices. One controversial solution that Huawei has implemented to achieve this goal is to kill almost all background app processes on its phones whenever possible. This behavior doesn’t mesh well with apps like VLC that have to stay open in the background to operate.
Early Wednesday morning, VideoLAN, the non-profit that builds and maintains VLC, announced on Twitter that it is now blacklisting Huawei phones, as first spotted by FrAndroid. As you can see from the embedded tweet, Huawei’s policy of killing background apps stops VLC’s background audio playback from working.
PSA: @HuaweiMobile phones are now blacklisted and cannot get VLC on the Play Store.
Their ridiculous policy of killing all background apps (except their own) breaks VLC audio background playback (of course).
See https://t.co/QzDW7KbV4I and many other reports…@HuaweiFr
— VideoLAN (@videolan) July 25, 2018
VideoLAN is most likely moving forward with its ban primarily due to the number of complaints it gets on the company’s user forums and the Play Store. A quick look through either shows frustrated Huawei owners complaining that VLC doesn’t work as desired on their handsets.
VideoLAN did state in a follow-up tweet that not all Huawei devices have been banned from downloading VLC. While the company did not specify any models, it did state that this blacklisting would only affect “recent” phones.
The good news is that if you are rocking a Huawei device that has been banned from downloading VLC from the Play Store, don’t panic just yet. You can still download the app’s APK file directly from the non-profit’s website. Just remember that by sideloading the app, you won’t receive updates to new versions automatically. Every time something new is released, you will need to go download the latest version of VLC and manually install it.
Huawei has been pretty heavy-handed when it comes to optimizing its smartphones for some time now. It will be interesting to see Huawei’s response to this situation, especially if any other app makers choose to follow in VLC’s footsteps.