How to Install VLC Media Player on Pop!_OS 20.04

The VLC media player is an open-source, free portable, cross-platform media player software and streaming media server developed by the VideoLAN project. VLC can play nearly all known multimedia files and DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols and can be extended and customized with multiple plugins.

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install VLC Media Player on your POP!_OS 20.04 operating system.

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Prerequisites

  • Recommended OS: Pop!_OS 20.04 or higher.
  • User account: A user account with sudo or root access.

Update Operating System

Update your Pop!_OS 20.04 operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.

To verify sudo status on your account:

sudo whoami

Example output showing sudo status:

[joshua@popos ~]$ sudo whoami
root

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on adding a User to Sudoers on Pop!_OS.

To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.

su

Method 1. Install VLC with APT Manager

The first option is to use the default apt repository provided by Pop!_OS 20.04. This is a stable and secure version. However, it may be a little dated it will serve the purpose well if you are just after a player.

First, execute the following apt install command:

sudo apt install vlc

Example output:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Pop!_OS 20.04

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

Once installed, confirm the build version, which will also verify the installation was successful.

vlc --version

Example output:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Pop!_OS 20.04

Updates are handled using the standard apt update & upgrade command.

If you no longer wish to have VLC installed with APT, use the following command to remove the package.

sudo apt autoremove vlc --purge

This will automatically remove any unused dependencies that were initially installed with the main package.

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Method 2. Install VLC Media Player with Snap (Snapcraft)

The second option is to use the Snap package manager. Pop!_OS users may be familiar with Snap as it is created and maintained by Ubuntu; however, it is not natively installed on your system. However, this can be installed relatively quickly.

To install Snap, use the following command:

sudo apt install snapd

Example output:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Pop!_OS 20.04

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

Once Snap is installed, it is highly recommended to log out and back in again or restart your service to ensure snap’s paths are updated correctly.

sudo systemctl restart snapd

Next, some packages come in classic, so you need to create a symlink to enable classic snap support.

sudo ln -s /var/lib/snapd/snap /snap

Next, you need to install the “snap core files” for everything to work correctly. Failure to do this may result in issues down the track.

sudo snap install core

Example output:

core 16-2.52.1 from Canonical✓ installed

Next, install the VLC Media Player package using snap:

sudo snap install vlc

Example output:

vlc 3.0.16 from VideoLAN✓ installed

As above, this informs you the VLC Media Player was successfully installed and the version number.

YOU MUST RESTART YOUR DESKTOP SESSION IF THE ICON IS MISSING!

To view the VLC Media Player Icon, you can log in and out of your session or use the following terminal command.

sudo systemctl restart gdm3

Ignore the above if the VLC Media Player icon is present. However, sometimes this bug can occur when installing new packages.

Snap packages are more significant in size than traditional repositories through the APT package manager for several reasons. However, the trade-off is more straightforward maintained packages that are often updated to the latest available version.

For the future, to update along with and any other packages installed by Snap, run the following command:

sudo snap refresh

If you no longer need to have VLC Media Player installed, remove it using the Snap remove command.

sudo snap remove vlc

Example output:

vlc removed
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Method 3. Install VLC Media Player with Flatpak

The third option is to use the Flatpak package manager. By default, Flatpak is installed with Pop!_OS 20.04 unless you have removed it. This is another popular option similar to Snap.

First, if Flatpak has been removed, re-install it and its dependencies.

sudo apt install flatpak -y

Next, you need to enable Flatpack for Debian using the following command in your terminal:

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Now install VLC Media Player using the following flatpak command:

flatpak install flathub org.videolan.VLC

Example output:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Pop!_OS 20.04

A prompt will appear asking to install on (user) or system (root). Typically you will always pick option 2.

Type “Y” X2 times, then press the “ENTER KEY” X2 times to proceed with the installation.

YOU MUST RESTART YOUR DESKTOP SESSION IF THE ICON IS MISSING!

To view the VLC Media Player Icon, you can log in and out of your session or use the following terminal command.

sudo systemctl restart gdm3

Ignore the above if the VLC Media Player icon is present. However, sometimes this bug can occur when installing new packages.

Updates are handled by Flatpack automatically every time you log into your system, generally within the first 10 minutes.

To manually update Flatpak packages, run the following command.

flatpak update

To remove the Flatpack version of VLC Media Player, run the following command:

flatpak uninstall --delete-data org.videolan.VLC

Example output:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Pop!_OS 20.04

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with removing VLC using Flatpack.

How to Launch VLC Media Player Client

Now that you have the VLC player installed, launching VLC can be done in two ways.

In your terminal type:

vlc

If you would like to launch VLC and use the terminal, send it to the background:

vlc &

Alternatively, Flatpak users will need to launch using the command below from a terminal instance:

flatpak run org.videolan.VLC

However, this isn’t practical, and you would use the following path on your desktop to open with the path: Activities > Show Applications > VLC media player. If you cannot find it, use the search function in the Show Applications menu if you have many applications installed.

Example:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Pop!_OS 20.04

The first time you open the VLC media player, you will be greeted with the Privacy and Network Access Policy pop-up.

Example:

How to Install VLC Media Player on Pop!_OS 20.04

Choose to allow metadata network access or untick the option to disable and click on the Continue button.

How to Install VLC Media Player on Pop!_OS 20.04

Congratulations, you have installed the VLC media player.

Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have learned to install VLC Media Player on Pop!_OS 20.04 using three methods. The most recommended is the APT or Flatpak version. Both package managers are natively installed on Pop!_OS 20.04, where Snap is an outsider.

Overall, VLC Media Player is a great program, one of the drawbacks is the cost. VLC Media Player charges by the user, so it quickly becomes a drawback if you get a few hundred to few thousand. Hence, you only find corporations that use it and pay for a license. Most small businesses and development teams could not afford to pay for the premium features. However, it can still be used for free with relative ease if you accept missing out on a few things.

You can investigate and further learn about VLC Media Player by visiting the documentation page for more information.

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