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In modern phones, many system programs are preinstalled. Users will only learn about most of them when the software starts updating and a corresponding notification appears on the screen. As a rule, in such a situation, many have questions: what kind of application is it, what is it for and is it really necessary? Since some of them are really important and deserve special attention, we decided to talk about one of them in this article. We will talk about the Android System WebView found in smartphones based on the Android OS, such as Xiaomi, Redmi, Poco with a proprietary MIUI shell.
What is Android System WebView and what it is used for
Surely many have noticed that when trying to follow a link to a site from a social network or another application, the link opens inside the same program, that is, without redirecting to a separate browser window – this is exactly what the Android System WebView utility was developed for.
- Convenience – viewing news, information sites using links from social networks occurs immediately in the program, without redirecting to the browser, which saves time and system resources.
- Saves battery power as the app uses less power than conventional browsers.
- It helps developers collect additional data about your actions to monitor and improve the program’s performance, because if you use a third-party browser, developers will not have access to this information.
There are many programs in the code of which the use of the Android System WebView as the engine is originally built. For example, in applications for social networks VKontakte, Facebook, Odnoklassniki, Instagram, various messengers, browsers and others. WebView is responsible for the functioning of such applications without system failures, so it must be periodically updated to work correctly and securely.
Where to find WebView on Xiaomi (Redmi, Poco) and how to activate
As a rule, the application is active by default and is included in the software of devices running on Android 5.0-7.0 inclusive, as well as in versions 10+ operating system. If for one reason or another the component is disabled on your device, you can enable it as follows. V “Settings” smartphone must be navigated along the way “Apps and notifications” — “Show all applications” — “Three points” (in the upper right corner of the screen) – “Show system processes” — «Android System WebView» — “Turn on”.
From version Android 7.1 and up to 9.0 inclusive, the WebView application is inactive by default, since most of its functions are now performed by the Google Chrome browser. However, you can still find this component in the phone’s memory, but when Chrome is active, it will be turned off. To activate a component and assign the corresponding functionality to it, you just need to disable Chrome. In Android 7.1-9.0, login via “Settings” in the tab “Apps and notifications”, then press “Show all applications” (on different devices, the names of buttons or menu items may differ slightly, so be guided by the meaning), find in the list «Chrome» and press the button “Disable”.
Also, note that often turning off Chrome itself will automatically activate the WebView and other actions (described in the paragraph above) may not be required.
Now through “Search” you can easily find the application icon, it looks like this:
Click on the name and if you see a button in the new window “Turn on”, then the application is inactive. If the button is active, you need to click on it to start the service:
If WebView is not found in the list, then go to Google Play to download and install. After that, to check if the application is actually activated, you need to go to the menu “All Applications” and through “Search” you will see that everything works.
Updating Android System WebView and solving possible problems with updates
Since cybercriminals are constantly attacking our devices and looking for vulnerabilities in programs, developers are constantly improving protection and periodically releasing new updates. For the stable operation of WebView, new updates also need to be monitored and installed.
- In automatic mode, when you enable the corresponding setting in Google Play – “Auto update”… In this case, all updates will be installed by the device without your participation.
- In manual mode – in this case, you can control the process of downloading updates and prevent sometimes occurring problems, which we will discuss below.
How to refresh WebView manually:
- Open Google Play on your smartphone. You can also use the direct link to the utility page in the market:
- Find Android System WebView component via search box or tab “My Apps and Games”.
- Press the button “Refresh” next to the application logo, after which the update process will be launched. It is important to understand that it is often required to update the Google Chrome browser itself, which is deeply connected with this system component.
Why is it not updated and what to do
When updating, you may encounter an issue where the application refuses to update. The reasons can be different – from a trivial failure or lack of phone memory to more complex reasons.
The main options for fixing update problems:
- First of all, restart your phone, as often most of the suddenly arising problems are solved by rebooting the system processes.
- Your internet connection may not be fast enough to retrieve data from the Google Play store. If everything is in order with the Internet, it is possible that some application is running in the background and interfering with the download. Close it and the problem will be resolved.
- If you have a lot of programs and automatic updates are enabled on Google Play, or you manually launched several applications at once to download, then they may interfere with each other and only some of them will be updated. To fix it, either turn off the automatic update, or click on the “Update” button one by one for each program from the list.
- It is possible that the WebView cannot update if it is running in the background. If so, stop the application by selecting, as described above, WebView in the list “All programs”, then click on the button “Stop” and run the download again.
- If it does not help, then after stopping you need to additionally clean the data and cache, for which in the tab “Memory” you need to go through the buttons “Erase data” and “Clear cache”.
Errors in work and their correction
Basically, all errors that may arise in the operation of this system component are associated either with an incorrect update process, or with an unsuccessful version of it, and everything is solved in the same ways as described above, or by completely removing updates and even rolling back to factory settings.
If a failure message appears
- Go to WebView Repository across “Applications” and clean the data and cache.
- Please update the app via Google Play.
- If you repeat the error, if you have an Android version older than the seventh, try to additionally update Google Chrome, this may help to solve the problem.
Failed WebView refresh
An unsuccessfully released update can lead to the failure of various standard and third-party programs. This has already happened several times, for example, in March 2021, MSA crashed due to WebView.
The following steps can help to eliminate or correct negative consequences:
- Turn off Google Play’s automatic update feature.
- When manually downloading updates, check the reviews in advance to see if there is any recent information on the noticed errors that affect the instability in work.
- If this still happened, then as a temporary measure, until the developers fix the error and release a new update that can be downloaded manually, just go to the section “Applications” and choosing «WebView» click “Remove updates”… This will roll back to a fully functional version of the utility.
Is it possible to disable or uninstall the application
If you have Android below the 7th version, then you should not disable the Android System Webview, as it is guaranteed that the operation of many applications working with Internet content in their environment (weather utilities, social networks, instant messengers, and others) will be disrupted.
In later versions of the OS, this system service is also protected from complete removal. That is, you will not be able to completely remove the component, but if, for some reason, it bothers you, for example, you think that the resources of the smartphone are too depleted, then you can deactivate, however, if you have root rights:
- Root your device.
- Go through “Applications” to Android System WebView.
- Click on the “Uninstall Updates” button.
- Then stop the application by clicking on the “Stop” button.
Now the app will stop working and consume device resources.
Also, if you do not want this or that link in the messenger, social network or email client to open in the interface of the application itself, but transfer you when you open it to the browser, then go to “Settings”, go to item “Applications”, then select “All Applications” and in the upper right corner of the screen, click “Three points”… In the pop-up window, click “Default Applications”… Here, notice the tab “Opening links”, by going to which opposite point “Instant Launch Apps” put the switch to the state “Turned off”… A list of installed applications will be displayed below, where you can manually configure this function for each.
Android System Webview is a useful system service for the correct functioning of many programs on all smartphones with Android OS, especially for older versions. It is recommended to regularly monitor the release of new versions and try not to delete it from the device memory.
In some versions of Android, the resources of the Chrome browser from Google are used as a WebView, but at the same time, if necessary, this functionality can be easily activated manually through the smartphone settings. Also, in any case, you need to regularly update both applications, which will bring you joy from the smooth operation of your smartphone.