The update to the latest version of Google Chrome caused user data loss in a number of applications due to a WebView issue. Google has since stopped the rollout of the Chrome update as it’s working around the clock on a fix.
Google Chrome 79 was officially launched last week, and according to Google itself, the rollout already reached 50 percent progress – worth noting, however, is that not all devices that were offered the update installed it; preliminary data shows only 10 percent of them deployed the new version.
Google engineers explain that the issue removed local storage and database in WebView apps because these were not migrated together when the context storage tooth path was changed into Default/ subdirectory.
In other words, apps running on WebView, which means they are mostly web wrappers that use Google Chrome’s engine to run, experienced data loss to the point where recovery might be impossible.
“Currently, M79 is rolled out at 50%, and there is new data that the user might have created. With this change, that new data will remain in Default/ subdirectory, and the old data from M78 will be picked up and used,” Google explains.
Fix coming this week
For the time being, however, Google’s engineers are yet to publish a fix, but a patched version of Chrome 79 is likely to land any day now. What’s important to know is that users whose devices haven’t yet been updated to Chrome 79 won’t encounter the bug when they update to the new version that includes the fix. Of course, if the update is already pending installation, they are recommended to avoid deploying it, especially if they’re running WebView apps.
Developers complain that the bug destroyed their reputation, as users who lost their data removed their apps altogether.
“Seems to be a big issue with countless apps and users affected. For me this horrible. My app can never restore the currently lost repution [sic] and many users uninstall the app right now,” one dev explained on reddit.
“My app currently get review bombed with 1-star ratings because all users lose currently all stored data.”
Apps affected by the bug appear as a fresh install with no saved user data. At this point, it’s still not known if the data can be recovered or not.