How to troubleshoot apps that shut down with WebView disabled

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What is Android WebView?

And what is that word? We will agree that the stopping and unexpected closing of applications is a fairly common problem among all users of this operating system. Something that is closely related to that is Android System WebView, a name that Android users should not need to know, as it is a resource so that application programmers can integrate web content into your apps. That is, they can display a web page within the application, without having to resort to the full browser.

Like many other Android resources, it is modular and can be modified by the mobile manufacturer to include its own version. Android comes with one, although there are also other WebViews built into browsers. When there is another browser that fulfills the functions of WebView, the WebView that comes with Android is disabled, possibly to avoid incompatibilities.

This is why it is relatively common for WebView to be disabled on mobile. In fact, in the Android developer options there is a section in which you can choose which WebView implementation to use. The usual thing is that if you have Google Chrome, use Chrome and not the Android System WebView, which may then be disabled. Namely, that Android System WebView is disabled is normal and this is how it appears in many current mobiles. We have mentioned Chrome, but it can really happen with any app that display web content without using the browser.

What to do if WebView is disabled

First of all, if your mobile has no problem, you don’t need to do anything. Android System WebView is not a malicious application, but a series of incompatibilities with a specific version caused specific errors. If they do not affect your mobile, it is best to leave everything as is.

Yes, if you have application shutdown problems and your Android System WebView is disabled, then the solutions will not work for you in the case of app updates, since you cannot uninstall them. Also, being disabled, the application does not have updates and does not start either, so in this case the fault is not technically yours.

webview google chrome

In these cases, the fault of the closures is not the Android System WebViewbut rather the WebView implementation of Google Chrome. The solution is in this case the same, but applied to Google Chrome instead of Android System WebView. You basically have two options, of which we recommend the first:

  • Update Google Chrome to the latest version: Google has already fixed the bug in the latest version of Google Chrome, so you can download the update from Google Play. This will update both the browser and the WebView implementation within it.
  • If this doesn’t work, uninstall the Google Chrome updates. The process is exactly the same as for any other application. Go to Settings> Applications> Google Chrome and press the menu with the three vertical dots to choose Uninstall updates.

It is advisable to leave this option as a last resort, since will return Google Chrome to the version that came pre-installed in the firmware of the mobile and that may be months old. Older versions are prone to security problems that have already been fixed in newer versions.

How to enable WebView

We insist that technically you should not need to manually enable »Android System WebView», but if you are still curious about the matter or need it to debug a problem with your mobile, there is an easy way to enable WebView: disable Google Chrome.

Like in the Western movies, on Android there is only room for one, so when you disable Google Chrome, the WebView that comes with the system comes to life to take its place. To do this, you must go to the information of the Google Chrome application and press Disable. Doing so also uninstalls all updates and reverts to the factory version.

webview android

After doing so, if you enter the developer options again, in the »WebView Implementation» section, you will see that the one that is disabled is Google Chrome and instead Android System WebView is enabled. You can also see the application information from the applications section of the settings.

Now, it will follow you without leaving the »Uninstall updates» menu for a simple reason: it is as it comes with the mobile, without any update. Now that it’s enabled, you can update Android System WebView to the latest version directly from Google Play.

With this you will be able to enable Android System WebView, although you will have stayed on the road without Google Chrome. The truth is that to solve the sudden closure of apps caused by the WebView error, with update to the latest version Google Chrome -or, if you don’t use it, Android System WebView- should be more than enough.

Restore a previous version of the applications

A last and much simpler way to repair applications is to ‘downgrade’ them. Or what is the same: replace the latest installed version, the one that is giving problems, for a previous version. This refers to what we mentioned a few lines above, in case your problem is more related to updates, something that Android WebView has nothing to do with.

You can downgrade any application on your mobile, whether it is a system application or whether you have installed it from Google Play or in the form of APK. Of course, the process varies from one to another:

  • Delete the application that is giving you problems. Try to save the information and settings.
  • Look for the app on pages like APKMirror Y download one or two versions prior to the last one published. Avoid updating from Google Play because you will reinstall a version that will surely give you problems. Remember that apart from the web, APKMirror has its own app for Android, which we will also share with you in this article.
  • Once you have downloaded the APK, install it on your mobile accepting the corresponding permission and configure it: the application should work correctly. In case it continues to give problems, you may have to download another older version.
APKMirror Installer (Official)
APKMirror Installer (Official)