back to article Google patches WebView component to end unexpected Android crash fest

For about seven hours on Monday, users of Android devices experienced crashes in various applications including Gmail and other applications that loaded web content. Google now says it has fixed the problem with an update to Android System WebView, a system component linked to Chrome that handles the rendering of web content …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "For about seven hours on Monday"

    Sorry, I was working on Monday. Didn't have time to check my mobile phone to see if it was working as well.

    1. Coastal cutie

      Re: "For about seven hours on Monday"

      It may surprise you to know that some people actually use their mobile phone for work, me included - and it's no fun when your email etc. have all gone west.

  2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Microsoft's Status Page

    shows there are still issues (24.3.21 06:45)

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft's Status Page

      1 thumb up & 2 thumbs down

      Not sure I understand the downvotes, but anyhow: The MS Status Page (which accepts there are still problems) helpfully gives a link to the Google status page (which seems to think everything is fine and dandy):-

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft's Status Page

        I didn't downvote you because I saw your followup, but the original post kinda makes it look like you are blaming Microsoft for a Google issue.

  3. pip25

    This is pretty nasty

    It raises some uncomfortable questions about how exactly these components are being integration tested at Google before release. Breaking third-party apps is one thing, but breaking your own app suite is... worrying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is pretty nasty

      It's the users job to test them not Google's.

      1. DCdave

        Re: This is pretty nasty

        If you set Play Store not to auto-update, at least you can make it OTHER users job to test, not yours. But this is probably not advisable for non-technical users.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just a reminder, that with Mozilla Geckoview, you bundle a specific tested version with your app.

    Sadly Geckoview is far from perfect as a Webview substitute, it won't run adhoc javascript in the web context, and things like programmatically setting zoom level are missing, two-way comms to the page only works properly for single instances of GeckoView, but if the functionality it offers would work for your corporate bespoke app, then at least it is solid and controllable.

  5. Alumoi Silver badge

    WebView, a system component linked to Chrome

    So, no chrome, no problem, right?

    Damn, I knew there is a reason I always root my phones and remove all the bloatware.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: WebView, a system component linked to Chrome

      Go back read article.

      1. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: WebView, a system component linked to Chrome

        ... Android System WebView, a system component linked to Chrome that handles the rendering of web content

        Google also advises updating Chrome for Android.

        I did. Did you?

        1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          Re: WebView, a system component linked to Chrome

          The key word being "also". The system webview and Chrome are separate apps. I don't think Chrome uses the system web view, although they are built from the same source, which is why Google are advising you upgrade that as well.

          1. DCdave

            Re: WebView, a system component linked to Chrome

            Right, System WebView is a subset of Chrome, and is designed primarily for handsets that do not have Chrome installed.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: WebView, a system component linked to Chrome

              It's also there to fix *some* of the problems and security for orphaned hardware

  6. RyokuMas

    That's what you get...

    ... when your "app" is actually just something that lets you display a web-page without having to directly use a browser.

  7. Pen-y-gors


    Got into work yesterday and boss was getting these error messages on her Samsung. Tried the usual, ended up following a long list of 'fixes' (re-install apps, delete cache etc) and of course didn't work. Eventually made sure all backed up and did a factory reset which cleared it (fairly straight forward, but stressful!) None of these useful reports on line at that stage.

    Not impressed.

    1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

      Re: Yep

      Same but it was the SO that had the issue... infinitely more painful on the ears!

      1. DCdave

        Re: Yep

        Same for me, but luckily I was only notified after the fix was available. Although the phone was set to auto-update apps, the staggered nature of Play Store meant it hadn't been installed yet. So for a change I was the hero for fixing it.

  8. Daniel Bower

    Rolling back the update or Force Stopping

    Android WebView worked for me as a temporary fix. Caused a bunch of third party apps to crash out but a quick scout of the interwebs showed these as likely fixes and both did the trick until Google pulled their finger out of their arse...

  9. tiggity Silver badge

    it was a pain

    Monday evening / night UK time was when I noticed it

    Affected some third party apps (& some with quite a large userbase) some to such an extent that they would not even start, just crashed early in init process, others would fail and workaround was clearing all stored data for the app,

    A big fail that a broken update like this got through to end users

  10. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Which apps? Are thy sure it's fixed?

    I ask because the BBC Weather App* seems unable to locate any weather information for me now. Met Office App seems fine.

    *Don't know why I bother tbh. Number of times it's said it'd be dry so I've put the washing on to be ready for the morning - and it's rained. Or vice versa

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: BBC Weather App seems unable to locate any weather information...

      How about a rebrand to the BBC Whether App?

    2. DrewWyatt

      Re: Which apps? Are thy sure it's fixed?

      For me it killed Waze and DuckDuckGo.

      Google Maps still worked fine though.

  11. MarkElmes

    Come on Google....

    This is really bad! I had both my mother and my partner contacting me with almost dead phones yesterday, unable to launch nearly every app, Google search, Gmail, Chrome, all instantly crashing. One phone was a Pixel 5 and the other an old Samsung S7, updates on the Play store didn't fix it, I had to get them both to revert webview/chrome to the factory version. This would have been hell for users that didn't know to do this, rendering their phones almost useless.

  12. Retiredwatcher

    Becoming the norm

    Spent some time trying to work out why Outlook and Google kept crashing on my phone before finding it was not my new phone faulty.

    To date all my phones have been very stable over the years looks like we are going down the Microsoft testing rabbit hole.

    PLEASE stable and secure first function second!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Becoming the norm

      Here, take these for next time ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, .

      Just joking just joking, don't be angry.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its to be expected.

    Don't put all your communication eggs in one basket. Every form of communication has occasion unexpected occurences and unpredicrable durations of downtime that does not comply with the convenience of business. For everthingyou do electronically you still need to keep alive and practised alternate ways of doing things and accounting for them

    Or you are going to be caught with your pants down with impossible expectations to fufill.

  14. Tron Silver badge

    Wild rides when autonomous vehicle software does this.

    -system reliability is a top priority at Google.

    Bollocks. If it was a top priority, they would test their crappy updates properly and have a roll-back or remove option to get rid of their duff 'improvements'. Then nobody would have lost 7 hours of functionality.

    Have a plan B, whether it is a candy bar phone or a smartphone/tablet you don't allow to update (that should save you unless the update is forced on you). And always keep your data on a memory card, not on the internal memory.

    On a mobile device, if something isn't working, it is far more likely to be a Google/Apple update failure than malware. Don't Panic and consult El Reg.

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