Some Android smartphone users have begun to notice an abnormal amount of app crashes. The reason for the crashes has been pinpointed to an issue with the WebView portion of the Android system, according to Google, which has been alerted to the problem.
For those unfamiliar with WebView, it is an aspect of the Android system which allows apps to display browser and web content, but in the case of some applications, prompting such a view is crashing the app altogether.
A Galaxy Note 10 user first highlighted the problem for Samsung on Twitter, with the company later replying that made Google aware of the problem and that WebView was the culprit. At the time of writing a fix is on the way, but no official update on its progress has been made.
Hi! Thanks for bringing this to our attention. 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. ^Nina
— Samsung Support US (@SamsungSupport) March 22, 2021
Google also acknowledged the problem to The Verge. “We are aware of an issue with WebView causing some apps on Android to crash for some users. We are currently working to fully validate the scope and a fix is in progress,” the company said in a statement to the publication.
Whether something more nefarious is wrong with WebView remains to be seen, but for the moment, this simply looks to be an innocuous error that needs a quick fix.
That said, the issue also appeared to be impacting Gmail from within the Google Workspace as well, with it since being resolved. If it persists though, Google advises users to open Gmail from within their desktop browser instead of mobile.
Either way if you encounter any peculiar app crashes in the coming days, you now know why.