Yesterday the team at VideoLAN, which makes one of Android’s (and the tech world’s) most popular media players, pulled access to VLC for Android on the Play Store from all from Huawei devices. The app was pulled due to reports from Huawei users having issues with the consistency of VLC for Android on their Huawei phones.
Huawei’s EMUI has traditionally been very aggressive with its app/memory management, killing background apps (in this case VLC for Android) when others may not. Huawei’s approach has certainly improved over time – to the point with the P20 Pro that it works without issue – but it seems that many VLC users are still reporting issues. When many of these users have issues, they usually blame the app and the folks at VLC have decided that they have seen enough one star ratings from Huawei users so have now just pulled access to it from all Huawei users.
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
On seeing this report, we tried to access VLC on Chris and Jason’s Huawei P20 Pros, and found that the app could not be seen anymore (despite it already being installed). This means that Huawei users who have VLC installed might not want to delete it, as – for some users – it can’t be reinstalled. We’ve been in touch with Huawei, and we understand its engineers are looking into the issue:
Huawei smartphones incorporate a number of intelligent battery optimization technologies that can be enabled to extend the battery life of the phone for a wide range of users and under various conditions. We are aware of the issue some of our users may be facing and we are currently actively working with Video LAN on a solution.
Huawei has also told us that the VLC for Android app can once again be downloaded on Huawei devices from the Play store. We have tested it on a Mate 8 and were able to download it no problems at all, but on the Huawei P20 Pro, it’s still gone.
Huawei has also suggested that for users to “improve the functionality of the app” they should force EMUI to allow VLC for Android to run in the background (Settings > Battery > App Launch. Select VLC for Android and enable Run in background).
While it is great for Huawei to offer this temporary solution, there are a lot of Huawei users not savvy enough to be able to do this, nor know they have to. Hopefully, Huawei will use this as a driver to further improve the memory management of their Android skin, EMUI, which has already improved markedly in the past few years. Hopefully too the VideoLAN developers will find a better way to deal with their issues than this protest.
Do you have a Huawei phone? Can you still download VLC for Android?