What Is Android System WebView, and Is It Safe to Uninstall?

It’s part of the operating system that apps use to show web content

Android System WebView is a feature that allows apps running on the Android operating system to display content from the internet without needing to open a web browser. Since it’s a component of the Android OS, and apps use it for a specific purpose, there’s no reason to worry about it running on your phone. You can disable Android System WebView if you want, but doing so will prevent some apps from working correctly.

If you’re running an old version of Android, specifically Android 7, 8, or 9, you can disable WebView without causing any problems with other apps, because those versions of the OS had WebView functionality built directly into Chrome.

What Is Android System WebView?

Android System WebView is a component of Android that retrieves and delivers content from the internet without opening a separate browser. It was originally built into Android as an integral part of the OS, and it wasn’t visible to users. It was broken out into a discrete app in Android 5, which is why you can see it in your app list.

Since Android System WebView is an app, and you can see it in your app list, you can interact with it the same way you would with other apps. You can disable it, force it to stop, clear its storage and cache, and see how much data it has used. It’s also updated through Google Play just like other apps.

How Does Android System WebView Work?

Android System WebView is an Android OS component that allows apps to access and display content from the internet without opening a separate web browser. When an app developer wants to display content from the internet, like a website, they have three options: display the content directly in the app through WebView, open the content in Chrome using the Custom Tabs feature, or launch a web browser, like Chrome, and load the content there.

The benefit of WebView over the other options is that it essentially gives the developer the tools to have a pared-down version of Chromium right in their app, for a visually-integrated and seamless experience. The downside is that it doesn’t have all the features of a real browser like Chrome, and it doesn’t share things like login data and cookies for websites that you’ve previously visited in Chrome. 

WebView is commonly used to display web pages inside apps, like privacy policies, log-in pages, and web-based apps. WebView allows the app to display this content without a browser, so the user experience is more seamless.

In social media apps like Facebook and Twitter, WebView allows you to click links within the app and open the linked website without opening a separate browser like Chrome. The link opens directly in the original app, which makes it easier to get back to what you were doing in the app when you're ready.

In some cases, the app you download from Google Play will essentially just be a wrapper that uses WebView to access a web-based app. In that case, the app won’t work at all if WebView is disabled. 

Is Android System WebView Safe to Uninstall?

Android System WebView is a system app, which means you can’t uninstall it. You can uninstall updates through Google Play, but Android won’t actually let you remove the app itself. You can force it to stop if you suspect it’s malfunctioning, and you can also disable it, but doing so will cause issues with other apps if you’re using Android 10 or newer.

While you can’t uninstall WebView itself, you can uninstall updates to the app. This can create security holes though, so only uninstall WebView updates if you have a good reason.

Here’s how to uninstall Android System WebView updates:

  1. Open Google Play, and tap your profile picture next to the search box.

  2. Tap Manage apps & devices.

  3. Tap Manage.

    Highlighted steps to manage apps in Android.
  4. Locate and tap Android System WebView.

  5. Tap Uninstall.

    Steps to complete the uninstall of Android System WebView in Android.

How to Disable Android System WebView

You can disable Android System WebView without causing any problems if you have Android 7, 8, or 9. These versions of Android have WebView functionality built directly into Chrome, so the WebView app isn’t as important. If you have Android 10 or newer, then you shouldn’t disable WebView unless you have a good reason. 

Here’s how to disable Android System WebView:

  1. Open Settings, and tap Apps or Application.

  2. Tap More or See all apps.

    Steps to get into App settings in earlier versions of Android.

    Depending on your version of Android, you may need to type Show system now.

  3. Tap Android System WebView.

  4. Tap Disable.

    Final steps to disable Android System WebView on older versions of Android.
  • What is the difference between Chrome and Android System Webview?

    Android System Webview is a part of Android that displays web content in the app you are using without having to open a separate app whereas Chrome is a dedicated web browser. Android System Webview uses Chrome's rendering technology to display the information (so the web info should look the same whether you are using Android System Webview or Chrome).

  • How do I delete apps on an Android phone?

    You typically have to press and hold on an app on the home screen and then tap Uninstall and then OK. There are always, too, and we cover that in our How to Delete Apps on an Android Phone article.

  • Are there other web browsers for Android?

    Yes. Chrome is not the only browser available; others are available via Google Play. We gathered up the best web browsers for Android if you are interested in finding another one.

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