What Is Android System Webview? Can You Disable It?

In Short
  • Android System Webview is an important Android component; hence it's important to keep it as is.
  • It helps apps open web pages within them, without the need of opening the webpage in your default browser.
  • It cannot be uninstalled on modern Android smartphones but can be disabled without consequences on phones running Android 9 or lower.

Android has many system-level apps and components. Some of them are buried deep inside while others are visible on the surface often but users have no idea about them. One such component is Android System Webview, which, for new users, may look like a suspicious app, but it plays a vital role. In this article, let’s look at what is Android System Webview, how it affects user experience, and if you should disable it.

What Is Android System Webview?

Android System Webview

Android System Webview is a component that comes built into Android devices and helps apps open web pages within them. An example of the same would be when you are scrolling through Instagram and see an ad that intrigues you. When you click on the link, the webpage opens in a popup window, in what looks like a half-baked Chrome browser. The behavior is facilitated by the Android System Webview app.

Android System Webview, thereby, dismisses the need to start a new instance of Chrome on your phone to view the contents of a webpage if you are trying to open a webpage from an app.

In Android versions 7, 8, and 9, the Android System Webview was bundled with the Google Chrome browser. In earlier versions, the component used to exist as a part of the core OS. From Android 10 onwards, Google has again provided Android System Webview as a standalone component that can be updated using the Google Play Store.

Do I Need Android System Webview?

Android System Webview in action

Yes, Android System Webview is an important component of the Android experience. You cannot uninstall it from modern Android smartphones, or phones running Android 9 or above. We do not recommend disabling it as doing so could result in app and system crashes. However, if you’re on Android Nougat, Oreo, or Pie, you can disable it as it used to be a part of the Google Chrome package back then; Chrome used to handle Webwiews back in the day.

How to Disable Android System Webview?

There’s no way to disable or remove Android System Webview on modern smartphones unless you forcefully remove it using ADB (Android Debugging Bridge). All you can do is uninstall updates to the app, which will restore it to factory settings but will not disable it.

If you’re on Android version Pie or lower, here’s how to disable it:

1. Go to Settings > Apps > Search for Android System Webview

2. Tap the app listing to go to app details.

3. Tap Disable.

Doing so disables the app completely. Your default browser will then handle the Web views.

The bottom line is, that Android System Webview is an important app and doesn’t harm your device in any way. Hence, there’s no need to disable or uninstall it unless you’re running Android 10 or prior and want to free up space for other applications.

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