VLC for Android- How to Backup and Restore Playlists (vlc_media.db)

To export a backup database of everything in VLC for Android, all we have to do is go to Settings > Advanced > Dump media database. It will export a vlc_media.db file which is in SQLite format. However, there isn’t a complementing feature which allow us to import the vlc_media.db file in the Android app. We will need root access or android debugger bridge to copy over the file to the folder /data/data/org.videolan.vlc/app_db. It is an advanced feature used mostly by developers. Hopefully, VLC will introduce a feature to import media dump vlc_media.db file for us commoners.

Backing Up vlc_media.db

For the detailed steps to backup playlists and everything else in the file vlc_media.db-

  • Go to … More
  • Tap on Settings ⚙
  • Scroll to Extra settings and tap on Advanced
  • Tap on Dump media database

Export Media Database

A file vlc_media.db will be saved in the root folder of your Android device. Use a file manager app in your device or from the Play Store to go to the storage root to access this file.

Note: tapping on the Clear media database under the option showed above will clear everything to give you a fresh start with the VLC app.

Opening vlc_media.db file

The vlc_media.db file is not a text file that we can open with a simple text editor. It is an SQLite database export that requires a special viewer and editor to read and edit through the SQL databases. In your Android phone, install an app like SQLite Database Editor from the Play Store to edit and view it. On your pc, you would use something like SQLite Browser. It is an advanced task.

Browse Media Database

Restoring vlc_media.db file

We can’t simply import an edited or backed up vlc_media.db file using the VLC for Android app. We need root access or administrative privileges. It isn’t provided by default by OEMs. Rooting phones is a risky task and is not recommended for normal users. Simply edit the playlist in the app itself if that’s what you wanted to achieve.

If you already have a rooted phone, then copying the vlc_media.db file over to /data/data/org.videolan.vlc/app_db/vlc_media.db does the trick. If you had root access, then you could also copy over the file from the same location. Developers can also use adb to access the /data/data/ folder.

We hope that this tutorial has helped you to backup your playlist file in Android. But we know that restoring it requires special privileges. We are quite hopeful that we will get a feature in the future updates of the VLC for Android app.

3 thoughts to “VLC for Android- How to Backup and Restore Playlists (vlc_media.db)”

  1. Thanks for the help, tho it doesn’t work for me since I haven’t been able to root my device despite I spent 3 days on it and messing it with Mediatek SP Flash Tools (phone is Huawei Y5 Lite 2018 (CAG-L23) with MT6737M SoC with locked bootloader) it is impossible for me to access the /data partition.

    I don’t understand why is not possible to just copy the ml.xspf like it can be done in Linux to copy the playlist of radio stations I have on the laptop and Raspberry Pi 4B.

  2. Thanks for the help, tho it doesn’t work for me since I haven’t been able to root my device despite I spent 3 days on it and messing it with Mediatek SP Flash Tools (phone is Huawei Y5 Lite 2018 (CAG-L23) with MT6737M SoC with locked bootloader) it is impossible for me to access the /data partition.

    I don’t understand why is not possible to just copy the ml.xspf like it can be done in Linux to copy the playlist of radio stations I have on the laptop and Raspberry Pi 4B.

  3. Managing playlists is essential. +1 to add the feature My need specifically is to be able to create playlists in VLC on Chrome OS, export (for backup/sharing), import on another Chrome OS or Android or Windows. Thanks.

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