Chrome 79 for Android was launched earlier this week with new phishing protection and reordering of bookmarks. However, WebView issues related to this version are affecting third-party Android apps. The difficult part is that it is causing data loss.
According to reports, some applications are not native and are actually just wrappers for web pages. When Google updates the Android System WebView through the Play Store, developers building apps in this way will get the latest browser APIs and features. Android WebView is a system component that allows Android applications to display web content. This component is pre-installed on the device and should be kept up-to-date to ensure you have the latest security updates and other bug fixes.
On Friday morning, Android developers who relied on WebView and local storage started experiencing a problem where users lost data in their applications after updating to WebView 79. This incident is a “disaster” and “major problem” for users.
For users, the problem is that the application appears to be completely reset. This means that it is similar to when you just newly downloaded the app. Users lose all data and they have to re-login. Given the opacity of the system, most people blame the developers on the problem.
A member of the Chromium group apologized on Saturday morning and suspended Chrome 79 / WebView’s release. However, about 50% of devices already has the update. Google is addressing the issue with the highest priority (P0), and it says it is currently “developing a solution to minimize data loss and deploy it securely.”