Android System WebView: Everything You Need To Know About

Google has been running Android OS successfully for the last 10 years and counting. Today, this OS is present on the majority of devices running around the world. Android and Google are tightly bound to each other. This means that there is a so-called Google Ecosystem present on each and every Android device around the world excluding China. This ecosystem is consisting of apps like Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube and Google Play Store, etc.

There are times when the storage on our smartphones would get filled and we need to uninstall some applications from the smartphone to get rid of “Phone is running low on space” error. That time you start to wonder which apps are really necessary and which ones are not. If you are on Android KitKat then you would find Android System WebView. Here in this article, I will tell you all about this application and also, I will explain why this application is worth taking space of your device.

What is Android System WebView?

An Android System WebView application is developed by Google. It is powered by Google’s Chrome browser which allows apps to show links without the need of opening any browser and even you don’t need to close that application as well.

You might not even know if your phone has Android System WebView or not but it is doing its job perfectly. This application is very useful when we using a particular app and we need to open the link embedded inside the app. For this, we had to copy the link and paste it in the browser earlier or we were redirected to a browser when we clicked the link. But now, links get opened in the app itself. This is because of the Android System WebView.

Android System WebView

To simply these things for you, I will take an example of Facebook or Instagram which most of us are using on a daily basis. You might have noticed that whenever you open a link inside Facebook or Instagram, you are not redirected to any browser like Chrome or UC Browser. Instead, the link opens in the same window where Facebook was opened. The link gets opened in the Android System WebView, as I mentioned earlier, it is powered by Chrome. It contains the same functionality that Chrome browser has such as zooming, scrolling, searching and whatever you need for a quick reading experience.

Installation

Google developed Android System WebView with the intention that the user does not have to close the application to open a link. For this reason, only, Android System WebView was bundled with Android 4.3 so that everyone can get it as they update version of Android. But after that, Google separated it from the Android package and uploaded it to the Play Store.

There is no explanation for why Google separated the Android System WebView from the Android package. There were some vulnerabilities found in Android System WebView, I think this was the main reason Google separated this application from Android. Because the vulnerabilities could affect many android users.

Now, Google has changed the working of Android System WebView in recent versions of Android. You no need to perform any steps to install this application separately because it is already installed in the latest version of Android.

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Android System WebView for Developers

Android developers need to adapt their applications to the latest features of Android. Android System WebView can be easily added to any Android application. If you are a developer then you need to add WebView library inside your application and create an instance of WebView class. Adding library and instance class will embed a mini browser inside the application which will open the webpages inside the application itself.

There is one point to be noted that the Android System WebView has not achieved all that Google expected it to. For this, Android Developers are also responsible because there is a lack of integration of WebView inside the applications.  This is why some of the links still open in a browser instead of the opening inside the application itself.

Android System WebView in Nougat and Oreo

If you are having Android Nougat or Oreo running on your device then you would not find this WebView application. There is nothing to worry about because Google has changed their mind and have removed it in favor of Google Chrome since the release of Android Nougat. If you are on Nougat then you might see it installed but you will find Android System WebView disable on your smartphone.

Now, Google has completely removed it in Android 8.0 Oreo and the above versions. On opening this application in Play Store on my smartphone running Android Nougat or Oreo, I couldn’t find the install button. There is no other option to enable or disable this application on my device as well. Now Google has switched their focus on Google Chrome. Now, links will be open in Google Chrome rather than in Android System WebView.

Should You Disable it?

My advice is you shouldn’t disable it because this is a very useful application present on your Android device.

Apart from that, this application comes pre-loaded on the latest Android devices which means you cannot uninstall it. But you have the option to enable or disable it. For Android Oreo and above users, you don’t have to worry about as the application isn’t present at all on your devices.

Conclusion

Now we have come to the end of this post and expect you to be informed about how to use this WebView application. Also, you should have learned that which applications should be on your device and which applications shouldn’t, so you could remove it.

If you are Android Nougat users, then this application is disabled by default so if you want to try it then you will get information about its installation process. However, if your device is running on Android Oreo or above, there is no point in keeping this application on your device.

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shubham sawant

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