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Looking Back At A Week Of Android Glitches

Technology

Isadora Teich wrote this article

0 Comments

If you are an Android user, you may have noticed something odd going on with your phone last week.

This may not have hit everyone, but users around the world were complaining that numerous staple apps were suddenly unusable and kept crashing.

One of the biggest problems was that suddenly, Gmail was unusable on many Android devices.

So, what exactly happened, and how is the process to address these issues going? Is there anything that you can do if you are still having issues?

Let’s take a look.

Don’t Panic.

In situations like these, many people might assume that either their phone has been infected with a virus, or perhaps it’s time to buy a new phone altogether.

They also might get stuck in a loop of deleting and reinstalling apps, believing that the apps themselves are the problem.

While it’s common for especially newer apps to have a few bugs, and depending on how much you have running on your phone at once, it’s likely you have experienced some apps crashing randomly.

However, don’t wipe your phone clean or throw it out just yet, Google is working on it.

The scale of this problem is what makes it a little bit more interesting. There have been a wide number of apps that Android users can no longer access. Yahoo, Gmail, Amazon, and even BBC weather have been crashing for users.

So, why is this happening?

Google’s Explanation

Google reports that they have fixed this issue.

They say it is because of a system component called Android System WebView. This component enables Androids to display content from the web. In order to fix the issue, users must update both Android System Webview and Google Chrome to the latest versions. You can find both on Google Play if you are still having issues.

The bulk of the reports of these issues occurred on Monday. Google even made a statement 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.”

Manual Fixes

Full disclosure, I am an Android user.

I noticed the glitch on Monday for a few hours, but have had no problems since. For me, it resolved itself on its own and I did absolutely nothing.

However, Twitter users are all having different experiences. For some, the update was fine, and others are still having issues. If you are still having problems, here are some things other users have done with successful results.

Some users reported that removing the latest update to WebView fixed the issue.

Samsung’s official US support Twitter account even recommended doing exactly that.

However, many Twitter users are saying that this did not solve their issues. Some people are saying that their phones will not let them click the update buttons at all.

How To Get The Update

For these users, Google has released some advice:

“In some rare cases in Android 10 or 11, a manual update of WebView or Chrome may fail to complete. Here are additional steps users can take to resolve the issue: Open your phone’s Settings app • Tap Apps & notifications > Google Play Store > Storage & cache > Clear Data.”

 

“Please note that doing this will clear some of your Play Store settings like parental controls, auto-update preferences, etc. Please recheck these settings after following these steps. Repeat the steps above to update WebView and Chrome.”

According to Google, only a small number of users running Android 10 or 11 will have to take these steps.

However, the internet has been flooded with angry tweets for much of the week. This issue has been reported globally throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

What Exactly is Android System Webview?

You don’t really need to understand the nitty-gritty of the tech jargon to fix this issue.

However, I think some clarification can help to ease stress and also help you approach the problem if you are still experiencing it. WebView is a core part of the Android operating system.

It powers a number of apps that have been developed by both Google and others. It is tied in with Google Chrome.

This is why the thousands of users who got caught in a frustrating loop of deleting and reinstalling apps didn’t fix the problem.

This bug is a part of the Google operating system itself, not individual apps. This is also why both Android System WebView and Google Chrome need to be updated for it to be resolved.

So, Has It Been Fixed?

As of Thursday, March 25th, Twitter was still flooded with complaints.

Google has confirmed over the next 24 hours that the Android team will be pushing automatic updates to users who still need them, which will fix the issue.

While it appears that only a small minority of users are still having issues, it is yet to be seen if these issues will be solved.

Final Thoughts

What I find incredibly interesting about this situation, is the wide variety of user experiences of the glitch.

For me personally, it resolved itself. Google told everyone certain updates would fix this glitch, and many users are unable to even access these updates.

And, certainly, some users likely did not experience it at all.

If you are an Android user, what was your experience like last week? Are you still waiting on the problem to be solved?

Talk to me.

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