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PSA: Update Android System WebView to fix crashing apps

A large number of Android users in recent hours have experienced continuous shutdown of Gmail and other apps, and some find that uninstalling Android System WebView will stop the crash.

Update 3/23: Just after 11 pm NPT on Monday, Google issued a permanent solution to the problem of crashing in the app. It involves updating both Android System WebView and Chrome to version 89.0.4389.105:

Google has since confirmed that the unexpected app crashes were the result of a bad update of the WebView system component, which was pulled last night and replaced by the new versions mentioned above.

The company also provided a solution for rare cases on Android 1

0 or 11 where a manual update of WebView or Chrome “may fail.” Go to Settings> Apps & Alerts> Google Play Store> Storage & Cache> Clear Data. You can then continue to follow the update steps, while Google notices how this solution removes some of your Play Store settings, including parental controls and auto-update settings.

Original 3/22: This issue starts with Android displaying messages warning of how apps “continue to close.” Applications that are in the background and not currently open are also affected.

If this error affects your device, all Android apps that use the WebView system component, which is responsible for viewing web content and updating alongside Chrome for a few weeks, will continue to crash. This includes Gmail – which many users are seeing broken right now – and many other third-party applications. Google has acknowledged the email problem and is actively working on a solution. Users are advised to visit the web interface:

“We are aware of an issue with WebView that is causing some apps on Android to crash. We are currently working to fully validate the scope, and a solution is underway. “- Google Spokesman

The immediate solution to this issue is to find the Play Store listing for Android System WebView either by going to this link directly, or by going to the “My Apps and Games” page, swiping left to the “Installed” tab and scrolling down – it should be one of the first apps. Then press “Uninstall” and confirm the message that appears.

If for some reason it does not work, go to another system settings> Apps & Alerts> View All Apps> Android System WebView> tap the three-point overflow menu at the top right> Uninstall Updates> OK. These instructions are for Android 11 on Pixel phones, but there should be a similar process on other OS versions and OEM devices.

Following these steps should stop the crash series, with Samsung support recommending the same procedure today. It does not affect all users, but it is quite widespread across Pixel and other devices.

Google seems to have rolled out a bad update to Android System WebView. Although this particular release is buggy, it is important to have WebView in the latest version for security updates when the issue is resolved.

Updating …

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