As we all know Android OS is developed by Google. That’s why Android OS comes with some Preinstalled Google Apps or services. Like Maps, Google Package Installer, Google Play Services, Text to Speech, Google calendar, camera, drive and some other basic (Stock) Apps. And you can easily find out these Apps in App menu. But there is one more App “Android system WebView” which you can’t find in App menu but you can see in Settings> Apps.
If you’re getting error “Storage Space Running Out“. And thinking to remove WebView to get some extra space. Then don’t uninstall this App package, Because space will not be going to free by uninstalling it. Now you thinking what it is and why you should not uninstall it. Well, If you really want to know then follow this article to Get Complete Information About “Android System WebView”.
Android System WebView is powered by Google Chrome, It allows the third-party application to view web content within the App. In other words, It helps third-party Apps like Facebook, Banking Apps to view web content using Chrome Browser without opening it. It is the core part of web related Application and you should keep it if you use some banking Apps.
if you have read carefully then you can understand its meaning by its name. WebView – View Web Pages.
Few Examples of Android System WebView.
WebView use in Facebook App – If you’re using Facebook on your smartphone, and click on any link to open. It opens the web page within the App (In-App browser) instead of opening it to Chrome or Android Default Browser. And it is possible only with Android system Web View Application.
Although if you’re using a too old version of Android, then the link will open up within the App without Web View App. Because the older version of Android comes with inbuilt Web View. And if you don’t want to use that mini inbuilt App browser then you can change settings of App. Open Facebook App> App Settings> Enable Links to open externally.
But it’s not a good idea, because if you disable WebView in Facebook App. Then the app will redirect links to the default browser. And to navigate back to Facebook you need to close Browser and Open the App Again. WebView makes this process simple, All you need to do is just hit the back button after opening the link in App.
WebView use in Banking Apps – WebView isn’t only designed for Facebook to open links. Mainly it’s designed to open Banking Apps transaction pages. When we add money to any banking Apps using net banking and debit/credit card. WebView open net banking or transaction pages (Pin/OTP verification) page within the banking App.
Android System WebView and Android OS Support.
Till Android 4.4 KitKat Web View was based on chrome web browser. But google noticed few vulnerabilities (Security Issues) in WebView. But it wasn’t possible to provide whole OS update only for WebView. So in the next version of Android (Android Lolipop 5.0), Google changed WebView into separate App. With Separate App, Google can easily fix vulnerabilities of WebView by pushing App update using Google Play.
If you’re using Android 7.0 Nougat or Latest version of Android which is Oreo 8.0 then you don’t need to install Web View App. Because chrome is taking care of WebView App, So you only need chrome mobile browser. But if chrome browser is disabled then you need WebView App to view third-party apps Web pages.
Not only Facebook and Banking Apps, All other Apps that open hypertext links within the App use WebView.
What If I uninstall or Disable it?.
Yes, you can uninstall WebView App, Or you can disable if you’re unable to install it. But removing it from Android device doesn’t make sense. Because it provides you web functionality in many Apps. And if you uninstall it, you”ll face some serious security issues in banking Apps. But if you’re using the latest version of Android then you can uninstall it.
Removing it doesn’t stop links to open within the App. Because Android devices come with stock WebView. And system WebView App boost performance (Load Web Pages Faster) and provide you some sort of security. So Better keep it if you’re using Android Marshmallow or Lollipop.
If you’re the one who likes to flash custom ROM then this section is for you. While flashing custom ROM we use GApps file to get Google Apps. And mostly we all use Pico package to get google play store functionality. But If you’re flashing Android Marshmallow and Lollipop then you should flash stock package to get Web View App. Although you can install later by using Google Play, GApps makes it system App.
For Developers – If you’re an Android App developer then you can add Web View to your App. By including WebView library and creating an instance of a Web View class.
Note: To load web pages in WebView, you just need to add INTERNET permission to your Android manifest file. You can get full info regarding “Add WebView to your App” on Android Development site.
Conclusion: Should I Keep it or not.
After reading complete post hopefully, you understood that it is useful. And if not then in simple words I can say “Android System WebView an Android App that provides basic functionality to open Web Pages in third-party Apps.” And if you’re still confused that you should keep it or not. Then my answer is yes, “You should” only if you’re using Android KitKat, Lollipop or Marshmallow. But if you’re using Android Nougat and App exist on your device then you can remove it.
Note: If you’re using latest Android OS (Nougat or Oreo) and unable to Uninstall it. Then read Remove Bloatware Android Article to get rid of.