Here’s why WebView kept crashing last month and how Google is making improvements
Late last month, Google pushed a buggy Android System WebView update that caused many Android apps to crash. The issue was quite widespread, and a significant number of users on Reddit and Twitter reported the problem. Thankfully, Google promptly rolled out updates for Android System WebView and Google Chrome via the Play Store to resolve the issue, and all was well. The company has now shared some insight about what actually caused the issue and how it plans to make improvements to prevent any future mishaps.
As per a recent update from the Google Workspace team, the issue was a result of a “bug within Chrome & WebView’s experiment & configuration technology.” It affected several popular Android apps, including Gmail and Amazon, that incorporated WebView to show web content. To fix the issue, Google distributed updated binaries for Chrome and WebView via Google Play. The company also published a detailed post on the Android Help Center community forum to help users impacted by the issue.
Now, in order to prevent any similar mishaps in the future, Google plans to improve its change management and rollout policies to the WebView system component and its dependencies. To do so, the company will take the following steps:
- Audit WebView and its related dependencies for production readiness.
- Implement a WebView ‘Safe Mode’ which will handle this class of configuration error and revert back to a known-good state.
- Improve experiment testability and the roll-out process.
- Accelerate the update mechanisms for Chrome and WebView via the Play Store.
- Better communicate throughout incidents with our users, and provide commentary with our partners on impact and resolution status.
In case you’re still facing random app crashes on your Android phone and you haven’t installed the latest Chrome and Android System WebView updates, follow the links below to download the latest updates right away.