Google slams the brakes on Chrome 79 update after reports of it deleting data

Google has paused the rollout of Chrome 79 for Android after discovering that the browser update was deleting data from other apps on users’ phones.

As Android Police reports, the problem involves WebView, which is the component that renders webpages in other apps, such as Facebook and Twitter. These apps don’t have a way of rendering pages themselves, so they use Chrome to do the job for them.

One of the changes made in Chrome 79 involved the location of some web data, but not all data was migrated across properly, as a comment on the Chromium bug page explains.

This meant that, when users updated to Chrome 79, this web data became inaccessible. That’s not a major issue for some apps, but for ones like Twitter Lite, which are effectively web apps that run entirely in WebView, it’s a real nuisance.

Not so fast…

The troublesome update has already reached 50% of users, but Google has confirmed that it’s paused the rollout while it decides what action to take. According to a comment on the Chromium blog, it’s considering two options: either continuing the migration and moving the files to their new locations (as originally intended) or undoing the change and putting them back where they were previously.

It’s tough to know exactly which apps are affected, because they don’t typically advertise how they use WebView, but data stored online will be safe, and hopefully the problem will be rectified within the next couple of days.

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