Google Chrome 79 update halted for Android users: Here’s why

Google has paused the roll-out of its Chrome 79 update on Android devices after a critical bug was reported.

| Updated on: Dec 16 2019, 12:18 IST
Google Chrome 79 browser halted for Android
Google Chrome 79 browser halted for Android (Google)
Google Chrome 79 browser halted for Android
Google Chrome 79 browser halted for Android (Google)

Google has halted the roll-out of its latest Chrome v79 browser update after a critical bug wiped data in select applications that use Android's WebView feature.

As AndroidPolice explains, WebView is responsible for rendering web pages inside applications. A number of third-party applications use this feature to open a page. In such cases, Google Chrome loads the content. Some apps that use WebView functionality are Twitter Lite and PhoneGap.

"Android WebView is a system component powered by Chrome that allows Android apps to display web content. This component is pre-installed on your device and should be kept up to date to ensure you have the latest security updates and other bug fixes," Google explains.

In the case of Chrome 79 update, Google moved the location where data storage is stored. According to a post on Chromium bug page, the update didn't migrate the storage properly, leading to the bug affecting many applications.

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Shortly after the update, users and developers took to Google's dev forum to point out the problem. "This is a catastrophe, our users' data are being deleted as they receive the update," wrote one user on Chromium bug page.

"Same here. This is a major issue. We can see the old data is left in the filesystem, but it's not "found" by Chome 79 - which I consider even worse - for one, it breaks the apps as it's not available , but also because it keeps old data silently persistent... with no way for the app to update or clear it without recurring to native access. Any ideia for a fix? (it looks it add "Default" to the path ; ie. it becomes "/Default/Local Storage," wrote another.

Google said it will soon roll out a fix while halting the Chrome 79 update. Here's what the company said:

"We are currently discussing the correct strategy for resolving this issue which will be one of:

a) continue the migration, moving the missed files into their new locations.

b) revert the change by moving migrated files to their old locations.

We will let you know which of these two options have been chosen soon. In the meantime it would be good to collect a list of affected packages, and details of whether any mitigations have been released to users, and in what versions so that we can test that the respin doesn't interact badly with the mitigation."

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First Published Date: 16 Dec, 12:17 IST