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On March 23, Android users experienced a massive crash of Google apps on their devices. The reason for that was an Android WebView update released by Google.
Android WebView is a system component that allows Android applications to display web content right in the app. This is convenient both for the users (no need to leave the app to view web content) and for the developers (easier tracking of users’ activity). However, the latest update became problematic as Android users were not able to open the apps and received numerous “keep closing” messages.
Luckily, Google promptly released a WebView update and recommended users to update the Android System WebView to the 89.0.4389.105 version (go to Google Play and find it there) and to update Google Chrome to the latest version as well.
Another solution was suggested by some users and was actually supported by Samsung’s official support. The solution is simple yet efficient: just roll back to the older version of the WebView and remove the update.
Either updating to the latest version or rolling back to the older one, the issue with Android WebView was successfully resolved and hopefully, it didn’t have any serious aftermath. It is worth noting though that the majority of the apps affected by the WebView update are cross-platform, written in Ionic or Cordova. The reason for that is that cross-platform applications are written around WebView. Hence, if the WebView crashes, the app will most likely crash as well. In addition to that, Ionic has a relatively poor performance and is overall considered a relatively mediocre tool for app development.
This being so, we side with native mobile applications or React Native for cross-platform development. Not only do these options offer a superior user experience but they are also safeguarded against such incidents as unsuccessful component updates and are overall more reliable.