Lack of Updates for VLC App on Android Since Summer 2023

Lack of Updates for VLC App on Android Since Summer 2023

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The VLC media player, an open-source application widely used and known for its versatility across platforms, has faced a hurdle in recent months on the native Android system.

The VLC Android app, which has over 100 million downloads on the Google Play Store, has not received updates since summer 2023. This lack of updates has raised concerns among users who rely on the app’s functionality.

The source of the issue appears to be a dispute between VLC developer VideoLAN and Google. VideoLAN claims that Google has imposed restrictions hindering the app update process.

One point of contention is the Google Play app signing requirements. This feature uses signing keys controlled by Google to verify the authenticity of app updates.

While this enhances security, VideoLAN expresses reservations about relinquishing control over these keys, fearing it could jeopardize the principles of the open-source project.

Lack of Updates for VLC App on Android Since Summer 2023

Another friction point is compatibility with Android API. VLC prioritizes support for older Android TV versions (pre-API 30) alongside newer Android versions (up to Android 11).

However, Google’s guidelines restrict updates targeting deprecated APIs. While this encourages developers to adopt newer, more secure versions, it risks leaving users on older Android TV devices.

VideoLAN estimates that tens of millions of users still rely on older Android TV systems. Their priority is to maintain functionality for this user base, even if it conflicts with Google’s update policies.

So far, no resolution has been reached. This ongoing conflict may force users to seek updates from alternative sources outside the Google Play Store, raising security concerns. Finding a middle ground prioritizing user safety, open-source integrity, and system development remains crucial.


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