Using VLC for Android as a Music Player for your Smartphone

If you listen to music on your Android phone or tablet then VLC can serve as your default music app. It has everything that a modern music player needs. It can list and play songs. It has a bunch of sorting and playing tools. It supports all the popular audio formats and can read meta information like artist, album, song, genre and album art. There is also a playlist feature for custom lists. Then there are tools like searching, playing on repeat and equalizer to better enhance your experience.

What else does a music player need?

Download VLC for Android from here.VLC for Android - A Complete Guide

Install and run the player, let it scan your device (if it’s the first time) and tap on one of the songs and your music will play immediately. There’s more …

To get you started on using VLC as a Music Player, we have prepared this guide.

The Interface

By default, when you launch VLC for Android, the video player interface opens. To switch to the audio player, click on the Hamburger Menu ☰ and then tap on Audio. You will now access the music player and if you have tried the default Google Play Music app then it might look familiar to you.

Buttons on The Top

Besides the menu, there are four buttons on the top.

Top Buttons

  • Search: To search for your song based on keywords that you specify. Hit the button, type the words and it will search the page. For example, if the albums page is open then it will just search among the listed albums for your keyword. You can press the SEARCH IN ALL MEDIA LIBRARY button to search everywhere.
  • Play from Start: The next button will play your current playlist from the beginning. Give it a tap and you will find that the number one song from your last list will begin to play. Use it for a quick media playback or just play a song as fast as possible.
  • Sort: This button allows you to sort the items on the current view. If it is the Artists tab, you can sort by name in ascending or descending order. If it is the Albums tab, besides the sort by name (ascending and descending) option, you can also order by length, data, and Nb tracks. On the Songs tab, you sort by name and length. Genres, you can sort by name only. Playlists you can sort by name and Nb tracks.
  • Options: The final button which is represented by the three dots arranged vertically is the options button. Tap on it and you can Refresh the view or load up the Equalizer.

The Tabs

Tabs of VLC for Android

If you look at the series of screenshots presented above, the default tab is the Artists tab. If you MP3 audio includes all the meta-data then it will display the name of the artists and you can sort it in ascending or descending order. Otherwise, the songs will be collectively grouped under Unknown Artist. The second tab is the Albums tab. Under it are the songs that are grouped by album name. Again, the name of the music album should be present in the ID2 or ID3 tags of the MP3 file. Otherwise, you will get a big Unknown Album.

The third tab i.e. Songs seems to be the most useful one if you don’t have MP3s tagged with artists or album information. Songs will just list all the music files that you have in alphabetic order (by default). You can tap on the sort option (second button from on the top right) to arrange the list by name (descending) or length. We will talk more about this later.

The fourth tab is Genres and much like the Artist and the Albums tab,  if the tag is present it will be grouped by genres such as Rock, Pop, Hip Hop, Rap.

The next tab, Playlists is a useful one. It will have all the user-generated playlists. That means you can create your own playlist and put songs under it so that you just play your favorite ones.

Playing a Song

Go to the Songs tab and from the list, tap on a song title. Your music player will play that particular song. You will see the controls for it in the bottom. Drag the mini player in the bottom toward the top. A full-scale player will open. You will see that only one song is present.

Now, drag down the player to minimize it. Go to an album with more than one song. Open the album and then tap on one of the songs from the list. Bring up the player again and you will find that your current queue will have all the songs from the album.

Main Interface of Audio Player Screenshot

In the current queue, there are three buttons on the top. Search to search the queue. The album art button to toggle between the list and the album art. Finally, there’s an options button represented by the three vertical dots. It will show the options for the current playlist.

Audio Options

You will find these functions under the options,

  • Sleep: Stop the player after a certain time that you set.
  • Playback Speed: Play the audio 0.25x (slow) to 4x (fast).
  • Jump to Time: Skip some minutes into the audio. It’s a fast forward feature with precision.
  • Equalizer: An important feature. Drag the sliders to mix down the equalizer. Choose a pre-loaded preset like Dance, Full bass, Full treble, Headphones, Large Hall, Live, Party, Pop, Reggae, Rock, Ska, Soft rock and Techno.
  • Save as Playlist: Create a new playlist with the current song or add it to an old playlist.
  • Audio Digital Output: Tap and toggle it on/off.

Note: The option button is also present on each song in the current playlist. Tap on it to remove it from the list or set it as your phone’s ringtone.

Player Controls

There’s a slider on the bottom of the screen. Drag it around to navigate a song. There are also five common buttons on the bottom of the player. The first one will randomize playback. The next three are previous, pause/play and next respectively. The final one is the repeat mode. By default, it won’t repeat. Tap on it once and it will be red; meaning the entire playlist will repeat after it ends. Tap on it again and the number ‘1’ will be inside the red button; meaning the playlist will repeat the current song again and again.

Playlist Management

Playlists is one of the most used feature in a music player. It allows you to put certain songs of your choice in a list. You can update it or play it at any time.

To create a new playlist in VLC for Android: Click the option button next to a song, album, artist, genres and hit the Add to playlist option. Give your playlist a name and then hit Ok. That’s it.

Creating a Playlist

You will see the new playlist listed on the dedicated tab now. You can’t rename the playlist for some reason but you can append songs to it or remove them from the queue anytime. To add a certain song, album or all the music by a certain artist to the playlist, hit the options button and choose the Add to playlist again. You will see the name of the playlist below that you can tap and your selection are appended to the playlist.

If you tap and open a playlist, you will find the songs in a single page. You can hit the options button to Append (add to the end of the currently playing files) or Insert next (it will play after the currently playing song). There’s also the information button that will show where the song is located on your device, the file size, length, audio track bitrate and codec information.

You can also hit the Add to playlist option to update another playlist with the song. The Delete option does the obvious and removes it from the list. The Set as ringtone option will set it as your device’s ringtone.

The Options Next to Each Item

The music player part of VLC for Android has three vertically arranged dots next to each individual item. When pressed it displays certain options applicable to it. The options are different and some aspects of it have been discussed before. But here are the details by tab:

  • On the Artists Tab: Play, Append, Insert next and Add to playlist.
  • On the Albums Tab: Play, Append, Insert next and Add to playlist.
  • On the Songs Tab: Append, Insert next, Play all, Information, Add to playlist, Delete and Set as ringtone.
  • On the Genres Tab: Play, Append, Insert next and Add to Playlist.
  • On the Playlist Tab: Append, Insert next, Add to Playlist and Delete.

Note: If you open up the groups like Artists, Albums, Genres and Playlist, the individual songs will have the same options like the ones that you see on the songs tab i.e. Append, Insert next, Play all, Information, Add to playlist, Delete and Set a ringtone.

What do those individual options do?

– Well, they do the obvious (what they say).

  • Play will play it.
  • Append will put it at the end of the current list.
  • Insert next will make it play after the current one ends.
  • Add to Playlist will allow you to append it to a playlist or create a new list.
  • Play all will begin playing all the songs in the current view beginning with the selected one.
  • Information will display media information which includes file location, length, file size, audio track bitrate, and codec.

Media Art

If the currently playing media has an image attached to it as media art, then you will notice that VLC will pick it up as the current wallpaper for the player. If you lock the phone, it will also display the image on the lock screen. It will also be used on the notification slider.

Notification Slider

It is a cool feature.

You can toggle this feature. Steps:

  • Go to Menu
  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Audio under Extra settings
  • Check (or uncheck) Media cover on Lockscreen

Audio Settings

On the same page, you must have noticed a bunch of settings related to your audio playing experience. They are all self-explanatory.

  • Digital audio output (passthrough): Disable or enable digital audio output.
  • Show all artists: It will show all the artists and not just the album artists in the listings.
  • Media cover on Lockscreen: To use or not to use the album art on the lock-screen.
  • Save repeat mode: It will allow you to save your repeat mode. On the player, you can choose to repeat the current song, the entire list or not repeat at all. This options will be saved for the future if this setting is activated.
  • Audio title alignment: Align the text to your phone’s default or left, right and marquee (moving text).

Under Headset

  • Remove Control Shortcuts: Press the button on your headset twice and you will skip to the next track. Long press and you will go to the previous track.
  • Detect headset: Your player will detect when the headsets are inserted in your phone.
  • Resume on headset insertion: You can continue the playback if the headset is inserted. By default, this option is checked off and your playback is paused on headset insertion.
  • Exclusive headset remove control: Not for everyone but this gives VLC the exclusive control of the headset and other apps won’t be able to use it.
  • Audio output: You probably won’t use it but advanced users can toggle between Audio Track and OpenSL ES.

These are all the details on VLC for Android. You probably might find it useful when looking for a certain setting. We hope that this full review of all the features proved to be helpful for you. You might have other apps as your default MP3 player but we request you to kindly check out VLC for Android as well. Millions have downloaded this multi-purpose media player and you might find that it serves as your favorite media player that you use for playing not only videos but also your music and audio files.

What do you think about VLC for Android? Do you love the player or do you find that it is lacking in certain areas? Whatever your feedback is, do not hesitate to discuss in the comments below.

9 thoughts to “Using VLC for Android as a Music Player for your Smartphone”

  1. Hi there! Is there anyway to modify the quick access menu? I wish to include folders from the external SD card.

    Thank you! Richard

  2. Is it possible to re-order an existing playlist? Other Google searches talk about simply dragging the titles to a new position, but this does not seem to work.

  3. Hello, I finally had to say goodbye to my iPod, and opted for my Samsung G8 and VLC for Android combined with a 128gb SanDisk card. I’m happy with how smooth it was to import all the thousands of files into the VLC, and the card find the files fast.However, I have two problems.

    A) I have an enormous amount of classical music, and the problem with the pop-music layout in VLC is that there is no tab in the menu for “Composer”. Having ripped more than 2500 classical cds through iTunes, the workaround to avoid having to wade through thousand of pop albums was to register Conductor or Choir or Orchestra in the “Artist” data field. Then every singular composition as separate albums in the “Album” field. Then “Classical” in the genre field, and finally the name of the composer in the “Composer” field. Then you could go via the composer menu and search for works. In VLC now there is no such option. To avoid pop you go to genre and classical. However, as there are only “Albums” there, you end up with an alphabetical list of thousands of compositions. In case of the letter “S” you end in my case up with a list of approx. two hundred “Symphonies”. I know that the metadata for “Composer” is included with each file. It is visible in their properties when viewed in Explorer. If you smart people could add “Composer” to the tabs next to Genre it would be wonderful!

    B) In the VLC player all live albums, operas and other “albums” featuring continuous sound but in consecutive files/tracks get sound gaps between each pair of files during playback. iTunes and iPod had the same problem in the beginning, but solved. Could you hopefully do the same? An opera might feature 70 tracks, and is unlistenable when you have audio dropouts every three minutes:-)

    I hope and pray that you may solve these issues. I’m am super happy with everything else about VLC, including watching movies and series and everything else on pc.

    Hoping for your reply, and kind regards
    Dag Hov

    1. VLC for Android seems to be lacking in both the issues that you mentioned above. Maybe they will address it in the future upgrades of the Android app.

    2. Missing support for both composer and work finally drove me to write my own Android music player applications. As far as I know these are still the only ones that are able to manage non-pop-music. Most probably it’s not allowed to place any advertisements here, so I will not mention the app names. Two of these are “open source”.

  4. Hi,
    i didn’t find any details about suppported ID3 versions. Currently i have all my music collection in ID3v2.3 UTF-16 and it is not displayed at all in the VLC library ;(
    Are you going to add support for ID3v2.x ? It would be great.
    Many thanks for your answer.
    Jaro

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