Many Android apps have suddenly started crashing in the last few hours, with apps dropping the dreaded “keep closing” warnings when users try to open them. Twitter and Reddit forums are filled with reports of apps crashing. DownDetector also shows a large increase in interruption reports for Gmail and Amazon. The desktop web interface for Gmail and Google Workspace services is not affected.
As many users soon found out, the problem stems from a recent update of Android WebView. Android WebView is a system component that allows developers to view web pages in their apps. It comes pre-installed on all modern Android devices and is regularly updated via the Play Store with the latest security enhancements and fixes. It appears that an error update may have corrupted the WebView component. Just uninstalling the Android WebView updates fixes the crash issue (via Engadget), as it did for a large majority of affected users:
Suddenly, many Android apps started crashing for me this evening, including Amazon Shopping, Gmail. It turns out that the culprit is an Android System Webview update. Search for it in the toy store and press uninstall and it will solve the problem. #android #crash #amazon #webview
̵1; Craig Rouse (@craigrouse) March 22, 2021
If you are affected by the issue, open the Play Store, search for Android WebView, and uninstall the updates. Alternatively, you can also go to “Apps” or “Applications” from your device settings, find the Android WebView app among the system apps, and uninstall the latest updates.
A Google spokesman confirmed that the company was aware of the problem and was working on a solution:
We are aware of an issue with WebView that is causing some apps on Android to crash. We are currently working on fully validating the scope, and a solution is underway.
According to the latest update posted on the Google Workspace Status Dashboard, Google is still investigating this issue.
Google did not share any update on the solution at the time of writing this article. It is the responsibility of Android users to resolve this issue by uninstalling recent Android WebView updates.