You must have clicked on the links shared via a social media app and been directed to a web page that opens as a small window within the app itself. This is made possible by a certain app called the Android System WebView.
You might have noticed it in the update schedule of your phone. It allows other apps on your smartphone to display web pages without having to take you to a dedicated web browser.
If you don’t know what Android System WebView is, what it does, and if it is important at all, then read along. This article will tell you if it is safe to install or uninstall the Android System WebView app and how to do the same.
What Exactly is Android System WebView?
The Android System Webview can be thought of as a shorter variant of Google Chrome. So, it is a web browser engine built to work in the android operating system.
It is executed in a way such that the web pages open within the app itself. Your traditional web browser allows you to open any website but this app is meant for the in-built apps of your android operating system.
In other words, it allows your phone to display web content directly inside a non-browser app. The WebView is powered by a chromium browser that is supported by the WebKit Engine in Android version 4.4. This again is a part of the Android KitKat version. Also, Chromium is an open-source web browser just like Chrome and Safari.
Earlier, the Android System WebView was a core part of the Android Operating System. Also, it could be updated only when your Android was updated. But, since the launch of Android 5.0 (Lollipop), Google has separated WebView from the Android core operating system. So, in the latter case, the WebView updates are downloaded from Google Playstore.
Later the System WebView was moved to Chrome ever since Android 7.0 (Nougat). So, here, WebView can be updated when Chrome gets updated. Again from Android 10 onwards, the Android System WebView was made a separate app whose updates are downloaded from the PlayStore.
How Does Android System WebView Work?
The Android developers enable the WebView library within the android apps. Along with that, they also add web permissions along with WebView code in the Android declaration files.
This allows them to create a WebView class instance. Combining these with browsing skills allows the user to open external links and web pages as a small window in the applications.
Do I Need An Android System WebView?
The Android System Webview allows you to open, watch or visit any link shared in an application within the same application. For example, you can directly open a YouTube link shared with you in a Whatsapp message without having to open the YouTube app.
Similarly, if you click on a link in a social media app like Facebook, a mini-browser will open up to show you the content of that web page. Now, Android System WebView is responsible for invoking these mini-browsers.
If you disable the Android System WebView app, you won’t be able to open any more links and your phone’s apps will also start causing problems.
However, if your phone runs on Android 7.0 (Nougat), Android 8.0 (Oreo), or 9.0 (Pie), then disabling the Android Webview app won’t be a problem. The reason is that for these three Android operating systems, Google Chrome handles the responsibilities of the webView. So, Android System Webview was redundant either way for these OS versions.
Advantages of Using Chrome App Over WebView in Android 7.0, 8.0 or 9.0
- Disabling the WebView application allows you to save battery life. This allows background apps to run faster.
- Chrome works better than WebView and is a standalone app.
- WebView consumes a lot of RAM space when it runs. So, disabling it frees up a considerable amount of RAM.
- These days, there is an issue with the WebView that leads to several apps crashing.
Why Does Android System Webview Component Get Disabled?
The Android System Webview app is always active so that it can open a link anytime you want. This will obviously consume a high amount of energy and memory. So, a lot of users don’t want to keep it enabled all the time and choose to disable it instead.
However, they don’t realize that disabling this software won’t allow you to open links from other apps. As a result, you might get an error message saying “Android System Webview has failed.”
How To Enable Android System Webview App on Android 5 And Above From Google Play Store?
Step 1. Open your phone’s Settings and go to ‘Apps’
Step 2. You will find all the apps on your phone listed here. Tap on the Android System Webview android app.
Step 3. Then tap Enable to enable the Android System Webview.
How to Enable Android System Webview on Android 4.3 and Below?
In the earlier versions of Android, like version 4.3 or below, Google doesn’t support the functionality of System Webview. So, if you want to enable WebView in the earlier versions of Android, follow the steps given below:
Step 1. Go to the Apps section and look for Android System Webview.
Step 2. Tap on it and then tap on the dots in the upper right corner to open its Properties. Then, remove updates.
Step 3. Navigate to Memory or Storage and delete the cache along with other data.
Step 4. Now, you can manually download the Android System Webview on your smartphone from the Playstore to reinstall it.
How To Disable Android System Webview?
Android System WebView is an in-built system app. Since system apps cannot be uninstalled or deleted, you cannot directly delete or uninstall the WebView app. However, you can deactivate it by clearing the cache of your phone and also clearing the data residue left in the Application Manager.
Disable Android System WebView App in older Android OS versions:
Keep in mind that disabling the WebView can create a lot of disturbance for the apps that are interconnected with it. If you are using Android Nougat, follow the steps given below to disable Android System Webview:
Step 1. Open the Google Play Store app and look for the Android System WebView app.
Step 2. Tap on the Disable option and that will disable the app.
You can also go to your phone Settings > Apps > Android System Webview > Tap on Disable to disable it.
Disable Android System Webview on Newer Android Device Versions
Here’s another way to disable Android System Webview on Android versions 7.0, 8.0, or 9.0:
Step 1. Go to your phone Settings
Step 2. Tap on Apps or Applications
Step 3. Tap on More and then on Show System
Step 4. Now, keep scrolling until you find Android System WebView. Tap on it and then tap on Disable to disable it.
Uninstall Android System Web View Updates
While you can’t uninstall Android WebView because it is a system app, you surely can uninstall the updates for WebView. You can do this if you require extra space.
However, the WebView updates might be for bug fixes and so from the point of view of security, it might not be a great idea.
To uninstall all updates for Android System WebView, follow the steps given below:
Step 1. Open Google Play App Store on your smartphone.
Step 2. Look for Android System WebView, then tap Uninstall.
If the uninstall button doesn’t show up, go to Settings and disable Chrome and start from step 1 again.
Note: Keep in mind that uninstalling the WebView updates or disabling it is recommended for the aforementioned Android versions because Chrome handles its tasks.
If your phone has Android 10 or 11, then, the Webview duties are performed by Android System WebView and not Google. We recommend that if you use Android version 6.0 (Marshmallow or earlier) or Android version 10 or 11, don’t disable the WebView application or delete the updates.
Android Apps Crashing Due To WebView: How To Fix?
Recently, a lot of users have reported that WebView has been causing a lot of apps to crash. To this Google has responded that they are working on the problem and will come up with a solution as soon as possible. However, if you want to fix the problem now, follow the steps given below:
Step 1. Go to Settings on your Android device
Step 2. Tap on Manage apps
Step 3. Type Android System Webview in the search box. Tap on it
Step 4. You will find the disable option at the bottom of the screen. Tap on Disable to disable WebView on your device.
Step 5. Repeat the entire process. This time you will find the Enable option instead of Disable. Tap on Enable to enable the Webview app again. This should fix the issue.
If you can’t find the disable option, that means your phone has one of the latest Android versions which doesn’t allow the user to disable the System Web View app.
The System WebView app is there on your Android device to allow you to view a web link’s content in the app itself. The above article discusses what exactly WebView is, why it is important, and how to enable or disable it.
After going through the aforementioned points, you should be able to judge based on your Android version, if it is alright to enable or disable the WebView app.