If you have an Android phone, you may have been surprised by a pop-up message about an application called Android System Webview. It is a tool that is constantly updated, but we cannot open, delete, or interact with it.
Although it seems that we do not use and that it is useless, it is one of the most relevant components when developing applications on Android, so it is advisable to have it updated and in this way make sure that the applications that use it will do it correctly.
What is Android System WebView used for?
As detailed on the Android developer page itself: “Android WebView is a component of the system with Chrome technology that allows Android applications to display web content. This component is pre-installed on your device and should be kept updated to ensure you receive the latest security updates and other bug fixes. ”
That is to say, Android System Webview is a technology created by Google thanks to which we will be able to surf the Internet from our Android mobile without using a web browser. For example, if someone shares a link through WhatsApp, and click on it we will access that page without using a browser, but through the same WhatsApp application.
Well, this is achieved thanks to the Android System WebView tool, so it is highly recommended to always have it installed on our mobile. Of course, it is a more limited tool then if we use a browser like Google Chrome, although its use is oriented to a specific case not to use it as our default browser.
Access web content from apps
Some time ago, the only way to access web content from our mobile phone was to do it through the browser. However, we can now surf the internet directly from a large number of apps. This is thanks to the Android System Webview, a fairly practical technology.
In this way, being able to see the different contents that we access from mobile apps is much faster and more comfortable, so it is absolutely essential. If you are in an app and you have to make a payment, from that same app you can access the payment website, without having to leave it.
We also have the example of twitter, when we use the app and click on the link of a tweet, it does not open the browser, but continues in the same twitter application, showing us the website and the content in the twitter app itself.
It is true that many users complain that it takes up too much space or that updates are even too frequent. But, although in principle we do not know well what it is for, the reality is that it is an app that must be installed if or if, for the good functioning of the smartphone.
Why is it important to have it updated?
Android System WebView is a tool that is updated quite frequently, which can be a problem if we have WiFi nearby and we do not want to spend our data connection. In addition, it occupies a lot of space on our device which can be an occasional nuisance. If you have space problems remember that thanks to the new Smart Storage feature of Android 10 you can save space.
Despite some inconvenience, it is recommended that we always have this tool updated, as it guarantees that we will have access to the web content correctly from any application we use.
Within Android, there are many applications installed by default that its utility is unknown, although they are of great help in our day to day and we stumble upon them without knowing it. This is what happens with WebView, an internal Android application with which many of you are sure, if not all, have you ever encountered. Today we will explain what it is.
How to update Android System Webview?
Updating the applications of your Android device, you may have ever encountered ‘WebView of the Android system’, an app that is constantly updated, but that we cannot open, delete, or interact with it (at least in the way that we usually do with the rest of the applications).
Despite this, Android System WebView is one of the most relevant components when developing apps on Android, and it is quite important to keep it updated both for security reasons and to make sure that the applications that use it work correctly. Therefore, it is necessary to explain what this component is, and how it works on our Android devices.
Android System WebView, or how to navigate within your applications
The information about the Android System WebView is detailed on the Android developer’s own page, in which we are explained that it is a component that allows applications to display web content.
“Android WebView is a system component with Chrome technology that allows Android applications to display web content. This component is pre-installed on your device and should be kept updated to ensure you receive the latest security updates and other fixes from mistakes”. Google.
As we can see, the description of WebView is simple: it is the component that allows us to browse the web within the applications themselves. But what advantage does this bring to users and developers? Let’s look at it with an example.
In the GIF we can see that, for example, when opening a link within Facebook, a web page is loaded. However, when we return to multitasking we observe that we are still inside Facebook, Chrome has not had to open, which has several implications.
WebView allows us to navigate safely and quickly within applications, in addition to getting developers to keep us within the apps, being able to access web functions within them.
For users, we have the guarantee that being from Google and having Chrome technology, WebView is a fast and secure way to surf the web within apps. On the part of the developers, they have it simple to integrate links to external pages or functions of the app that can only be configured via the web, without the need for users to leave that app to go to the external browser.
WebView, in other words, the internal browser of Android applications
WebView is an application provided by Android that developers have access to when programming their applications. How many times have you been in an application and at some point has turned to a website to, for example, make a payment? Well, that is WebView, the browser integrated into an application, as is also the case on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Of course, the developer can make available to the user to open in the internal browser or give the option to open in the web browser that is installed on the device. But there will be occasions, such as payments, that we have no choice.
Questions about what WebView comes from the launch of Android Lollipop and its arrival to more devices on the market. The reason is that users have received an update of « WebView of the Android system » and it is because, since version 5.0 of Android, this sub-application will be in Google Play. This is because it is a tool vulnerable to malware and has to be updated to strengthen the security of user data.
Until Android Lollipop was launched, manufacturers had to launch a complete software update that corrected a certain WebView security flaw. But if we take the application to Google Play, the sub-application update can be immediate and without the need for an OTA update. So, that’s why we sometimes see that this application is updated because it corrects certain bugs continuously.
As a tip, I would always recommend updating this application, which is free.
How to activate the desktop view in Android
For more than a year, Google has forced all websites that want to appear in the search results, to have available to users who access through a smartphone, a version adapted to this device. While it is true that most websites offer us design according to our device, sometimes it leaves much to be desired.
If you usually access a web page whose mobile design is not well optimized, either because of the resolution of your mobile phone or the neglect of the web itself, you can choose to visit it directly as if you did it through a computer, activated the desktop view from your usual browser. In this article, we are going to show you how to activate the desktop view in Chrome for Android.
But this small visualization problem not only occurs in smartphones, but it is also quite common to find it in tablets, where many websites choose to implement a specific theme for these devices that force us to move sideways through the web instead of down.
Turn on the desktop mode in Google Chrome for Android
Once we have opened the browser, we go to the three points located in the upper right of the screen that allows us to access the configuration.
Then we just have to activate the Computer version box.
Automatically, the web will load as if we did it from a computer with all the advantages and disadvantages that this implies.
Turn on the desktop mode in Firefox for Android
Once we are inside the browser, we click on the three vertical points that allow us to access the browser settings.
Next, we activate the Request desktop site box.
Then, the web will load as if we did it from a computer with all the advantages and disadvantages that this entails.
Is It possible to completely Delete Android System WebView?
You cannot change this without root.
The framework system is coded for the use of a specific package for applications that require a webview component. By default (in AOSP) the value is used com.android.webview, which is the version that was collected during the AOSP construction process. In the devices of the manufacturers that modify this component, the package name may vary. Regardless, in order to replace the webview that is delivered with the device, you have to modify this value instead of being com.google.android.webview.
The “hand” way to do this would be to throw the framework-res.apk file of your device, compile it, and change the value config_webViewPackageNameof the variable’s resources. It must be located in/res/values/strings.xmlinside the .apk. Once you have done this, you would have to go back to the whole package and push the new .apk to your device, replacing the old one.
An alternative method that you can try is to install the Xposed framework and then use the webview” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>WebViewGoogle module . If you use a custom ROM, you may also be able to find a package that will permanently modify the necessary component framework (or it can be built for Google webview use by default).
My hypothesis would be that this restriction exists in part because the system is based on an existing webview application in some way, so if it could be modified by a user it could break the system strangely. There would also be security implications to allow applications to replace the webview system, as a bad actor in the attempt to provide a malicious one without the user knowing
Can I uninstall Android System WebView?
If you have a mobile with Android 7 Nougat operating system or higher and you use Google Chrome you can uninstall Webview from the Android system without problems. Otherwise, if you do not use the Chrome browser or have a version lower than Android 7 it is not recommended that you disable since Android System Webview provides extra security on your mobile, as the system needs to update the application to avoid vulnerabilities.
If for some reason you have made the mistake of deleting Android System Webview from your phone, the best thing you can do is to reinstall it, which is as simple as looking for it among the applications of the Google Play Store and reinstalling it.