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Google fixes Android crash issue that affected important apps like Gmail, Chrome

Google has acknowledged the issue and said that a fix for this problem is in progress.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | March 23, 2021 | Updated 15:08 IST

Highlights

  • Important apps such as Gmail and Google Pay are among the apps crashing on Android.
  • Google has found that Android WebView app is what is causing these crashes.
  • Samsung phone users are the worst affected Android users.

Several users were left puzzled when their Android phone suddenly started throwing incessant notifications saying that apps have crashed. The notifications, when tapped, did not open apps giving troubles to users. And these inaccessible apps include important ones such as Google Pay, Gmail, Google Chrome among others. Google took note of this issue almost instantly and found the culprit. The Android WebView app is what is causing some apps on Android to crash. The sudden crashing of apps on your Android phone is annoying and it seems it is going to pester you further since a fix is not available yet.

Update: Google has fixed the problem by pushing updates for both Android WebView and Chrome apps. The Android WebView version 89.0.4389.105 includes the fix, so now your apps are not likely to crash on your phone. You would also need to update Google Chrome to the latest version. The updates are available in Google Play Store. A Google spokesperson told India Today Tech, "We have resolved the issue with WebView that caused some apps on Android to crash for some users. Updating Android System WebView and Google Chrome via Google Play should now resolve the issue."

Previously, in a statement, a Google spokesperson said, "We're aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a significant subset of users. The affected users are unable to access Gmail. We will provide an update, detailing when we expect to resolve the problem." Google also advised the affected users to use the web versions of important services, such as Gmail. "Affected users can use the desktop Gmail Web interface instead of the Gmail Android app," it said.

Right after these apps began crashing on Android phones, people took to DownDetector and Reddit to see the intensity of this issue. No wonder, a large number of Android users were complaining of their Android apps going kaput for no reason. Google's Workspace Cloud Status Dashboard also did confirm the outage that several Android apps were facing. And the culprit turned out to be Android's WebView app. And there is, unfortunately, no solution as of now. Google, however, did say that it is working on a fix for this issue as soon as possible.

Since Android is the most used mobile platform, it nearly affected all users no matter what brand they use. Samsung phones were the worst-hit by this issue. The problem got so severe over time that Samsung had to recommend its users to uninstall the WebView app to avoid crashes. In a reply to an affected user, Samsung's US support said, "Please remove the Webview Update and then restart the phone. Here are the steps: Go settings > apps > tap the three dots in the top right corner > show system apps > search for Android System WebView > select Uninstall updates." Xiaomi, too, posted a note on its forum to intimate users about the issue, asking them to uninstall or disable Android WebView on their phone.

Essentially, this process of uninstalling Android WebView is universal to all Android phones. So even if you do not have a Samsung phone and use some other brand, you can follow these steps to get rid of the Android WebView app from your phone. The WebView app helps other apps show you web pages, so be cautious before you remove the app. And since Google is working on the fix, it should not take long before an update to the app is out. For instance, when you see a link in an app, say, LinkedIn, and when you tap it, the link opens on top of the app without needing to open Google Chrome externally. This is what the Android WebView does. So, when you uninstall the app, you simply cannot see such features unless you reinstall the app -- which is unadvisable right now.

On DownDetector.com, several users said the Google app is crashing repeatedly on their Android phone, which makes sense because the WebView issue seems to have impacted Google apps mostly. But, surprisingly, some other users have even flagged issues where certain things such as adding people to the Hangouts group or searching for Wikipedia information is not ending up well. According to these users, there are anomalies in how these processes are normally showed to users. Some users even said they were logged out of Gmail or YouTube app on their phone following the issue.

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