VLC Media Player for iPhone / iPad Pulled From App Store

After only four months, VLC Media Player is no longer available on the App Store. This free app makes it possible to play a variety of media formats on iOS devices without first converting them to the normal iPhone video format. If you haven't already downloaded the app, you've missed the boat.

apple iphone app vlc media player

The problem stems from incompatibilities between Apple's App Store Digital Rights Management (DRM) policies and the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) that governs distribution of some open source software including VLC. In fact, many observers were surprised to see Applidium's port of VLC appear in the App Store in the first place.

After Apple approved the VLC Media Player for the App Store one of the original developers of VLC, Rémi Denis-Courmont started his campaign to have the app removed due to Apple's DRM policies, even though the software was still available free of charge. Denis-Courmont has made clear his interest in enforcing GPL rules against DRM, however TUAW has called him out as a current Nokia employee, a company competing against Apple in the mobile device industry.

VideoLAN, the developers of the desktop VLC software, had nothing to do with the iOS app removal. Apple opted to remove the app to settle the dispute as opposed to rewriting the terms of its DRM policy to accommodate software covered by the GPL. In a statement, Denis-Courmont is unapologetic about rendering VLC unobtainable to iPhone and iPad users:

At last, Apple has removed VLC media player from its application store. Thus the incompatibility between the GNU General Public License and the AppStore terms of use is resolved – the hard way. I am not going to pity the owners of iDevices, and not even the MobileVLC developers who doubtless wasted a lot of their time. This end should not have come to a surprise to anyone.

In the end, Denis-Courmont was successful at one thing: denying iOS users around the world access to what was the most versatile and functional free media player to be released on the platform.


"In the end, Denis-Courmont was successful at one thing: denying iOS users around the world access to what was the most versatile and functional free media player to be released on the platform."

No, Apple and its draconian App Store policies was successful at doing that. I see you trolling there, but I won't bite. People like you are why no one respects bloggers.

Well actually, no, it's pretty clear that Apple (with it's "draconian App Store policies") approved the app, and this guy petitioning to get them to change their policies, which they didn't, and thus the app is removed. Therefore, it was, in fact, Denis-Courmont's self-imposed crusade that just negatively affected millions of users. The time and place is to take a stand when an app isn't approved due to overarching policies, not when it is. There is, no doubt, an ulterior motive here, and I, for one, hope Denis-Courmont gets a huge lump of coal in his stocking come next Christmas. His is a name I won't forget.

yes, but approval of the app isn't the issue here, it's the difference between DRM and GPL. Denis-Courmont developed VLC under GPL. He doesn't want that overridden by DRM. His app, his right. I love VLC for ipad and don't want to see it go but I can't blame Denis-Courmont for being consistent in his beliefs. He is an foss developer.

The bigger question is how long until there's an app that will replace VLC. Hopefully soon.

Well, as long as we can continue to jailbreak our devices, I'm sure we can get VLC that way. People who still have a copy probably uploaded it by now :D