What exactly is Android System Webview

What exactly is Android System Webview

Have you ever faced a situation, where you clicked on a link given within an application, and the link opens a sort of mini browser, directly within the app, rather than opening up your main web browser?

The reason this happens is Android WebView.


What is Android system WebView?


The technical definition of the Android system WebView is that it is a system component for the Android operating system, that allows Android apps to display content from the web, directly inside an application.

Now, there are two ways you can view web content on your Android smartphone –

  1. Using the default web browser that you have installed on your Android device (Chrome, Edge, Opera, etc.)
  2. Viewing the content within an application directly using Android System Web view.

The second option is possible if the application has the Android System WebView functionality, pre-installed. What the Android System WebView does, essentially, is that it embeds a browser within the application, that is capable of rendering web pages and running JavaScript. This feature has made applications a lot more powerful, as apps can now directly interact with web content, and also feature their own browser.

Earlier, the Android System WebView was coupled to the operating system, which meant that the utility was only upgraded with every version upgrade for Android. This meant that users had to wait for a year before the WebView feature saw an upgrade and optimizations. However, the WebView utility was separated from the OS when Android 5 was released, and this allowed Google to push updates and bug fixes more regularly through the Play Store.

Subsequently, Google dropped support for Android versions 4.3 and lower, in order to prevent hackers from exploiting any vulnerabilities in the WebView utility in these older versions. As of today, Google has recommended that users upgrade their devices to the latest build available and ensure that Android System WebView is upgraded whenever prompted.

We have seen a lot of questions from viewers, asking whether the Android System WebView should be deleted from the devices. The answer is no. It is a critical utility on every Android device and is built-in.

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