If you landed on this article, chances are good that your Android phone has just recently started acting a bit bizarre. For us, it started earlier this evening as my wife tried to open her Amazon app only to find it simply crashed and closed. I checked my phone and sure enough, my Amazon app was crashing. We checked for updates and did the usual restarts but nothing seemed to fix the problem. A little while later, the frustrating bug began to affect my Google app. Whenever I attempted to search something, I would type a letter or two and then the Google app closed. We discovered that the inexplicable crashing was affecting Audible, Gmail and even Yahoo Mail.
I took a quick look at Down Detector and discovered that hundreds of users were reporting similar issues related to Amazon and Google services alike. Given the fact that the two companies have their own respective hosting grids, there wasn’t any explanation that made much sense. Then, in the Down Detector comments, I spotted the culprit and it all hinged on a recent update to one of Android’s core system applications.
Android System Webview
Put simply, Android System Webview allows Android applications to display web content. Consider it like a tweaker Chrome browser that works within apps. A recent update looks to be breaking a wide variety of applications. At the time of this post, I haven’t seen a fix or update for the system app but it is possible to “rollback” Android System Webview to get your apps back while we wait.
To uninstall the latest update, head to your phone’s settings menu. You can usually find a gear icon by swiping down on the notification shade at the top of the screen. Click the gear or find the settings in your app launcher. Scroll down and find “apps” or “applications.” Click that and then, select “all apps” and find Android System Webview. Click the app and on the next screen, you should see a three-dot menu at the top right. Click that menu and select “uninstall updates.” You can also find Android System Webview by heading to the “installed apps” section of the Google Play Store and clicking uninstall. This will remove the latest update and your applications should be restored immediately. This isn’t the best solution for the problem but it’s the only viable option to get your other apps up and running.
We are looking to Google for a response and/or update to the system app that should resolve the problem while getting us all on the latest version. We will update this post as more news arrives.
At 7:05 last night, Google acknowledge the app crashing issue via the Google Workspace Status page.
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 by 3/22/21, 8:05 PM detailing when we expect to resolve the problem. Please note that this resolution time is an estimate and may change.
Google continued to update the status throughout the early hours of this morning stating that its team was still investigating the issue. At approximately 2:18 AM, the status was updated to “fixed” and as we expected, Google identified the issue as a problem with Android System Webview. A fix has been rolled out and users can updated the system app to the latest version via the Google Play Store. We have checked the update and it does appear that Android apps are now working as intended after the update.
The problem with Gmail has been resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better. Updating Android System WebView and Google Chrome via Google Play should now resolve the issue for all users.Google Workspace
1. Navigate to Play Store app
2. Search for Android System WebView
3. Select the “Update” option
4. Repeat these steps for Google Chrome (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.android.chrome)