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What is a Native Media Player plugin? How do I add it to my app?

TL;DR: A native media player plugin can provide immense value to an app that relies on audio files (think radio, podcast, audiobook, music, or even e-learning course apps). Median’s Native Media Player plugin allows you to play audio files within your app while your app is locked or backgrounded. Read more to find out why Median’s Native Media plugin is a smart integration to choose, how it will boost your apps user engagement and, likely, customer satisfaction.

Ever wonder how apps like Spotify allow users to play media in the background? By opting for a powerful Native Media Player plugin, you can deliver the same to your app’s audience. 

Let’s dive deeper into what a Native Media Player plugin is and how you can seamlessly integrate it within your Median-built app.

What is a Native Media Player plugin?

A Native Media Player plugin is a software that is integrated into an app (be it a native app or a webview app) — and it makes the playback of multimedia files such as audio or video content possible (think Spotify or Apple Music, apps that offer the playing of audio files even when the phone screen is locked).

If your app contains significant multimedia files and/or audio files make up a core part of your app’s user experience, integrating this powerful functionality is key. 

Why? It helps with creating a seamless user experience by allowing playback of media content within your app (native app or hybrid app) — without needing external software.

The benefits of a Native Media Player

A Native Media Player plugin can significantly improve your app’s user experience. Some of the main benefits of integrating a native media player plugin include:

  • Seamless integration: It integrates seamlessly within your app, making media content easily accessible without needing external software.
  • Optimized performance: The media optimization allows for a smooth playback experience while also reducing storage usage.
  • Customizability: They’re entirely customizable, so your app can offer settings such as playback controls + more.
  • Streaming ability: Included is access to live streaming content such as radio shows, podcasts, or even live music.

If you have made it this deep into the article, you might be wondering, How can I add a Native Media Player plugin into my app?The quick answer: Median’s Native Media Player plugin has all the above mentioned benefits + more — and adding it to your app is as seamless as possible.

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Median’s Native Media Player plugin

Median's native media player plugin
Median's Native Media Player Plugin displayed on an iOS and Android locked screens

Audio content is an important part of many mobile apps across the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store (can expedite app store approval) — which is why users need to be able to play audio content, be it radio, podcasts, audiobooks, e-learning courses or music, users need to have that control over audio playback all while their phone is locked. 

Median’s Native Media Player plugin does just that: it allows all audio content to play in the background while the app is closed, giving users the free range to listen to audio files on headphones, bluetooth speakers, or even in their car’s audio system.

Let’s dive deeper into Median’s Native Media Player plugin and how it boosts user engagement.

How does Median’s Native Media Player plugin work? 

Median’s Native Media Player plugin has a built-in audio playback capability for both iOS and Android devices, allowing for audio files and live audio streams to play effortlessly in the background. 

The plugin adds a native media player UI to an app user’s device lock screen, allowing for audio to play while the device is closed.

With the Native Media Player plugin, an app will include the option to load playlists onto the native media player, delivering an even greater user experience with a seamless navigation experience including Play/Pause and Previous/Next controls. 

The plugin also displays metadata — these include the audio icon image, the audio files name and author (see image below) —  associated with the currently playing track. 

Median's Native Player Player displaying metadata and audio icon
Median's Native Media Player Plugin showcasing the "default metadata" and the "default audio icon" features on an iOS and Android player

Note: This plugin also allows you to provide custom metadata just in case the file’s metadata fails to extract automatically from the audio URL.

Users can also control playback through the lock screen and control center, as well as through any externally connected device. 

Median currently offers two versions of the Native Media Player depending on your requirements: the Standard Plyer, and the Background Player.

Standard Player

The Standard Player is a standalone native player. 

It’s typically best for playing audio tracks and live streams. It is very flexible in terms of the content it can play, and is developed into your app with a UI through the help of Median’s JavaScript Bridge. 

The Standard Player allows for audio files to play in the background when the phone is locked (think Spotify or Apple Music, where users can play audio files even when their devices are locked)..

Content supported with the Standard Player include:

  • Audio books 
  • Podcasts 
  • Radio and live streaming apps
  • News apps with audio content, and
  • Magazine apps with audio content

Background Player

The HTML-based Background Player allows for video content to be transformed into audio tracks when a phone is locked (think YouTube Premium).

This player is a premium version that includes additional callbacks to seamlessly transition between an HTML-based player when your app is in the foreground, and a native player when your app is in the background. 

Native Media Player displayed for iOS and Android
Native Media Player displayed on iOS and Android


A native media player is a software that allows you to play audio files within your app in the background when your phone is locked. 

The benefits of native media players are immense, but to point out a few, it is easy to use, highly customizable, flexible with content type, and allows for a better user experience. Median has one of the most high performing Native Media Player plugins in the market and can easily be integrated into your app. 

Our plugin comes in two versions, Standard and Background each offering unique additions to your audio first app. 

Whether you’re building a radio app, a podcast app, an e-learning course, or a music streaming service, our Native Media Player can elevate your app's audio experience and show your user’s the app’s full potential.

If you wish to learn more about this plugin, reach out to us and our experts will guide you through.

Or, head over to our plugins page to learn more about our Native Media Player plugin + more!

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Frequently asked questions

How are the Standard Player and the Background Player different?

The Standard Player and Background Player are two versions of the Native Media Player plugin, each serving different purposes. The Standard Player is designed to be the default method for playing audio content in your app. It allows you to launch the player with a single track or a playlist of multiple tracks, from your website using the Median JavaScript Bridge. You can develop a web-based UI to display in your app that allows users to control playback while your app is open in the foreground. Then, when your app is backgrounded, or the device is locked, the audio playback continues and playback can be controlled using the native UI on the lock screen and control center, as well as through any connected device.

The Background Player version is designed for apps that use an HTML-based media player while the app is in the foreground. Typically this is when the media includes video or lyrics that must be synchronized to the audio. The Background Player uses JavaScript callbacks to smoothly transition between the HTML-based media player and the Native Media Player when the app is backgrounded or the device is locked, ensuring uninterrupted audio playback. The JavaScript callbacks use track playback position to manage the seamless transition between the web and native players.

Ultimately, the choice between the Standard Player and Background Player depends on your specific app requirements and the desired audio playback behavior.

What audio files are compatible with the Native Media Player plugin?

The Native Media Player plugin uses device-provided audio playback functionality and is compatible with audio files and streamed content that can be decoded by the device. Refer to the Apple and Android documentation for further details.

Apple documentation has no clear mention of the supported formats. Hence, the below list of supported formats is generated by invoking the audiovisualTypes method of AVURLAsset class in an iPhone 8 with iOS version 16.5.1 (see related Apple documentation here): 

mqv, pls, aifc, m4r, wav, 3gp, 3g2, flac, avi, m2a, aac, mpa, xhe, m3u, mov, aiff, ttml, vtt, m4v, amr, caf, m4a, m4b, mp4, mp1, m1a, aax, mp2, w64, aa, mp3, itt, au, eac3, webvtt, ac3, m4p, loas 

Note: Some formats might not be supported by lower iOS versions.

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*DISCLAIMER: This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not exhaustive and may not be relevant for your requirements. While we have obtained and compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. This content is not to be considered professional advice and does not form a professional relationship of any kind between you and LLC or its affiliates. is the industry-leading end-to-end solution for developing, publishing, and maintaining native mobile apps for iOS and Android powered by web content. When considering any technology vendor we recommend that you conduct detailed research and “read the fine print” before using their services.*
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