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Preliminary Note

VLC for iOS is different from what you can do with VLC on desktops. In some ways, you can do more; in other ways, you can do less. VLC for iOS only does media playback. Active streaming or file / stream to file conversations are not supported for usability and performance reasons. This walk-through does only include screenshots of the iPhone interface for size reasons. However, all features are also available on iPad with virtually the same appearance.

Feature Overview

VLC for iOS 2 is a full re-write of the original app and shares no code with it. It is under active development and evolves over time. It is strongly recommended to always use the latest version. To keep track of features added over time, here's a chart.

Feature Version 1.x Version 2.0 Version 2.1 Version 2.2 Version 2.3
iTunes File Sharing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
WiFi Upload No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dropbox Integration No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Streaming from Dropbox No No No Yes Yes
Google Drive integration No No No Yes Yes
HTTP Downloads from Web No Yes Yes Yes Yes
FTP Downloads from Web No No Yes Yes Yes
Opening Network Streams No GUI Yes Yes Yes Yes
UPNP discovery and streaming No No Yes Yes Yes
Downloads from UPnP multimedia servers No No No Yes Yes
FTP discovery, streaming and downloading No No Yes Yes Yes
Store FTP server bookmarks No No No Yes Yes
Audio Playback via AirPlay Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Video Playback via AirPlay No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Audio Playback via Connector Cables No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Video Playback via Connector Cables No Partially Yes Yes Yes
Subtitles playback No Western languages only Yes Yes Yes
Subtitles Font Customization No No Yes Yes Yes
Closed Caption playback No No Yes [2] Yes Yes
Teletext subtitles playback No No No Yes Yes
Multi-track audio handling No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Video Filtering incl. Screen Brightness No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Video Cropping and Aspect Ratio variation No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Deinterlacing No No No Yes Yes
Playback Speed control No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Repeated playback No No No Yes Yes
Gestures based playback control No No No Yes Yes
Playback of Audio-only media (mp3, m4a, flac, …) No No Yes Yes Yes
Audio Playback in Background No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Smart Media Library sorting for audio albums and TV shows No No Yes Yes Yes
Passcode Lock No Yes Yes Yes Yes
VoiceOver support No Partially Yes Yes Yes
Organize media in folders No No No No Yes
Use folders as playlists No No No No Yes
Playback control through headphones, multi-tasking bar or lock screen No No No Partially Yes
Playback is paused when headphones are unplugged No No No No Yes
WiFi upload and HTTP downloads in background No No No No Yes
Support for password protected HTTP streams No No No No Yes
Supported User Interface Languages English English, Danish[1], Dutch[1], Finnish, French, German, Hebrew[1], Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Simplified Chinese[1], Slovak[1], Spanish, Turkish[1], Ukrainian[1], Vietnamese[1] Same as 2.0 plus Bosnian, Catalan, Galician, Greek, Hungarian[2], Marathi, Portuguese, Slovenian, Swedish[2] Same as 2.1.2 plus Czech, Malay, Persian, Spanish (Mexico), Sinhala (added in 2.2.1) Same as 2.2.1 plus British English, Latvian, Romanian
iOS 5.1 support Yes Yes Yes No No
iOS 6.0 support No Yes Yes No No
iOS 6.1 support No Yes Yes Yes Yes
iOS 7.x support No Yes Yes Yes Yes

[1] Added in version 2.0.2 [2] Added in version 2.1.2

Media Synchronization

There are multiple ways to synchronize media files to VLC for iOS. Those may be extended in future releases. Streaming without saving files using the limited space available on iOS devices is also supported. See below.

iTunes File Sharing

Using iTunes, you can add and delete files to VLC for iOS. Apple provides excellent documentation for this.

WiFi Upload

If your iOS device and your Mac or PC is on the same local WiFi network, you can use WiFi Upload to add files to VLC for iOS' library.

Within VLC for iOS, click the cone button:

Location of the Cone menu in VLC for iOS

This will expose the sidebar menu. Locate the WiFi Upload menu item. Notice the empty circle indicating the server's off-state and the description "Inactive Server". Note that in earlier versions of VLC for iOS, you'll see a toggle button.

VLC for iOS' sidebar menu with WiFi Upload item

Click the item or switch the toggle. A network address will appear in the item:

VLC for iOS sidebar' menu with WiFi Upload switched on

Enter the network address to your web browser on your Mac or PC on the same local network:

Entering the network address in the webbrowser

VLC for iOS' WiFi Uploading page will appear. You can drag any file stored on your Mac or PC to this window for immediate upload to your iOS device. Additionally, you can press the "Upload files" button in the top-right to expose a file selector panel in case your files are not reachable by drag and drop. VLC for iOS' WiFi Uploader supports multiple uploads at the same time and will indicate through a progress when upload is complete. Because it's VLC after all, you can start playback of most files on your iOS device as soon as they appear so you don't need to wait until the upload is finished. VLC for iOS WiFi Upload page


VLC for iOS natively supports Dropbox. Open the menu as described above, choose Dropbox. For the first time, a login button will appear. When clicking, you'll be redirected to the Dropbox app for login or to the web if you don't have Dropbox installed. VLC for iOS will receive read and write access to your entire Dropbox after login. However, VLC for iOS does not support any write actions (i.e. you cannot upload files from VLC for iOS to your Dropbox either), so don't worry about your file integrity. Starting in version 2.2, VLC for iOS can also stream contents from your Dropbox without downloading them first.

Google Drive

Similar to Dropbox, VLC for iOS natively supports Google Drive starting in version 2.2. Please check the process above for setup. Note that VLC's Google Drive integration does not support media streaming yet, in contrast to Dropbox.

Downloads from the Web

The sidebar menu also includes an item called Downloads (or in earlier versions Download from Web Server). When selected, it will show the download queue and progress of downloads triggered through the network integration (see below) and exposes a field to enter a URL to directly download media from somewhere. Both HTTP and FTP are supported (earlier versions support HTTP only)


Network Integration

In addition to the media synchronization options described above, VLC for iOS provides a variety of options to interact with networking sources. Additionally, third party websites and apps may include links to open streams directly in VLC for iOS.

Open Network Stream

Clicking on this item in the sidebar menu reveals a URL field to open a network streams. HTTP, FTP, MMS, MMSH, RTSP, UDP, and RTP streams are supported. Additionally, this view includes a list of your last 15 streams and an option to disable keeping the history.

VLC for iOS open network stream.png

Local Network

Introduced in VLC for iOS 2.1, Local Network discovers and lists servers found on your local network. At present, this includes UPNP media servers and FTP servers announced via Bonjour / Rendezvous. Further options will be made available in future releases. Depending on the server capability, you can both stream and/or download the stored contents.

Local Network servers

Clicking on "Connect To Server" exposes the ability to connect to FTP servers not included in the list.


The controller panel provides access to basic playback controls, a video filter panel, audio and subtitles track selection as well as playback speed. The time slider a the top of the playback screen matches the default media player behavior by allowing you to seek at the pace you want. Next to it, you will find a 2-mode time counter and a button to control aspect ratio and cropping. VLC for iOS will remember the last playback position for media stored on your iOS device.

VLC for iOS Playback view


Version 2.2 of VLC for iOS introduces gesture-based playback controls in addition to the ordinary buttons.

Tap the playback screen anywhere with 2 fingers to pause or play the current media. Pinch to end the current playback session and close the video.

VLC for iOS play/pause, close playback gestures

Swipe to the left and right to change the playback position.

VLC for iOS playback position gestures

Adapt screen brightness by swiping vertically on the left hand side of the playback view (gray hands). Change the current volume by swiping vertically on the right hand side of the playback view (red hands).

VLC for iOS volume and brightness gestures


VLC for iOS does support AirPlay video and audio streaming. To enable audio streaming, just take the AirPlay switch which will automatically appear next to the volume slider as soon as your iOS device discovers an AirPlay capable playback device (an Apple TV, a multi media receiver, etc.). For video playback via AirPlay, it's slightly more difficult due to AirPlay API limitations. Apple does not allow to show an AirPlay button for video playback within an Apple if the app does not use the default media player, which VLC does not for the sake of supporting formats other than H264 / MPEG4. As a work-around, you need to use the AirPlay mirroring featuring available from the multi-tasking bar (shown when double-clicking the physical home button on your iOS device).

Subtitles and multiple audio tracks

If your media includes subtitles or multiple audio track, buttons will appear in the playback controller to switch streams. VLC for iOS will remember the last chosen audio or subtitles track for future playback. If your media does not include subtitles, but you'd like to show some, give them a similar name to the media item, synchronize them and VLC for iOS will discover them automatically.

Video Filters

Like VLC media player on desktops, VLC for iOS allows you to modify the video’s colors in real time. Brightness will adapt your device’s physical luminance unless you play your media on an external screen, where it will fallback on a software mode.

VLC for iOS Video Filters.png

Playback Speed

Clicking the clock button to the left of the playback controller reveals a slider with a logarithmic scale to adapt the playback speed to your needs.

VLC for iOS playback speed.png

A word on audio playback

VLC for iOS 2.0.x refuses any audio-only media playback. Basic support was added in VLC for iOS 2.1 along with Music Album handling. Future updates will further improve the current feature set by introducing media artwork display, playlists, playlist operations such as shuffling or repeat, and more.

Media Library

Your media collection. It offers basic information about each file, such as length, resolution, or file size. Your last playback position is visualized through an orange triangle at the bottom of the snapshot, unless it’s new or fully played.

VLC for iOS media library.png

Smart handling of music albums and TV shows

VLC for iOS 2.1 added smart handling of music albums and TV shows. Based upon meta tags and pattern matched file names, VLC for iOS will automatically detect TV shows and music albums. Switching the library mode in the sidebar menu will reveal dynamic collections for either category. "All Files" switches back to the default mode listing all files available on your iOS device within the VLC context.

How are TV shows detected by VLC for iOS? at present, based upon the file name. The following schemes are supported in current releases: "Show.Name.S01E01.Optional.Episode.Name" or "Show.Name.0x00.Optional.Episode.Name". Show Name will become optional in version 2.2.1. Detection for more schemes will be part of future releases.

VLC for iOS smart library.png

Media grouping in folders

VLC for iOS 2.3 adds support for folders and custom grouping of your media content. A folder also acts as a playlist.

Passcode lock

You can lock the app with a passcode. The current versions of VLC for iOS will always ask for it whenever the app is pushed to the foreground. Additionally, your library contents will be hidden away from the multi-tasking switcher. Starting with version 2.3, playback is stopped if passcode lock is enabled and the app is moved to the background to protect your privacy.

I forgot my passcode

If you forget your passcode, you need to delete the application and re-install it. This will reset both the settings and the media library. There is no way to recover it. However, you can backup your files using iTunes first.

I want to use another passcode

Disable passcode lock in VLC's Settings and re-enable it. It will ask you to enter a new passcode.

Customization and Settings

VLC for iOS offers a growing variety of options to customize the app suiting your purposes.

Option name Version 2.0.x Version 2.1.x Version 2.2 Version 2.3 Details
Passcode Lock Yes Yes Yes Yes When enabled, VLC for iOS will ask for the passcode 5 min after leaving the app when using version 2.0 or 2.1. In 2.2, the app will ask for it right away.
Optimize item names for display No No Yes Yes Disable removal of unneeded characters, when shown within the media library.
Network caching level No No Yes Yes Adapt the network caching level to your needs.
Control playback with gestures No No No Yes Disable playback gestures if desired.
Deblocking filter Yes Yes Yes Yes Switch deblocking aggression level. Trade-off between quality and speed.
Deinterlace No Yes Yes Yes Deinterlace video image: always or never.
Subtitles Font No Yes Yes Yes
Relative Subtitles Font size No Yes Yes Yes
Use Bold Font No No No Yes
Subtitles Font Color No Yes Yes Yes
Text Encoding Yes Yes Yes Yes Set the subtitles text encoding mostly used by you
Audio time-stretching Yes Yes Yes Yes Improves listing experience
Audio playback in background Yes Yes Yes Yes Audio playback continues when leaving VLC for iOS
Unlink from Dropbox Yes Yes Yes Yes Unlink the app from your Dropbox account
Unlink from Google Drive No No Yes Yes Unlink the app from your Google Drive account

Installation on iOS 5.1

Starting with version 2.2 of VLC for iOS, we no longer support iOS 5.1. However, the last version is still available from the App Store if you jump through a few loops.

Please note that we strongly recommend to update to iOS 6.1 or later if supported by your device for security and performance reasons.

You can't download version 2.1.3 directly on your iPad 1. You need to purchase VLC for iOS with your Mac or PC or an iOS device capable of running our latest release. Once this is done, open App Store on your iPad 1, go to the "Purchased" tab and click on the cloud symbol. App Store will tell you that the latest and greatest version isn't supported but that an older version is available instead and asks if you'd like to install it. Do it and you'll enjoy a great release of VLC for iOS. Keep in mind that VLC for iOS 2.1.3 is no longer supported by us and won't receive any updates or bug fixes.

iOS 5.0 or any earlier release was never supported by take-two of VLC for iOS. Therefore, this work-around will not work for you.