You may have encountered an application called Android System WebView on your smartphone. It is a piece of software that allows other applications on your Android device to display web content without opening a dedicated web browser.
However, since Android 7.0 Nougat (which integrates its features into Chrome), its history is slightly more complicated. This article describes its exact function and whether it can be safely disabled.
Do I need Android WebView?
The short answer to this question is that you really need the Android system WebView. However, there is one exception. If you are running Android 7.0 Nougat, Android 8.0 Oreo, or Android 9.0 Pie, you can safely disable the app on your phone without adverse consequences.
This is because Chrome handles the WebView responsibilities of these three OS versions, which makes the Android System WebView redundant.
Assuming your phone is still running these versions of Android, you can do the following to disable System WebView.
- First, go to Settings>Apps>More>Display System.
- Next, scroll down and tap “Android System WebView“, then tap “Disable“.
It is worth pointing out that you cannot uninstall Android System WebView because it is a system application. However, you can uninstall the update for it.
If you need additional storage space, this may be something you want to do, although keep in mind that updates usually contain important bug fixes, so from a security perspective, this may not be a good idea.
Assuming that you are not worried about security, in this case, you can uninstall the System WebView update by opening the Google Play store on your phone, finding Android System WebView, and then clicking “Uninstall”.
Again, this is only recommended if you are running the above version of Android, because Chrome (rather than Android System WebView) can handle WebView tasks for these systems.
Finally, Google returned the responsibility of WebView to Android System WebView of Android 10 (now Android 11). Therefore, if you are running these two systems (or Android 6.0 Marshmallow or earlier), we strongly recommend that you do not disable the application or delete its updates.
What exactly is Android System WebView?
To provide more detailed information about the exact functions of the application, Android System WebView is a system component of Android that allows your phone to display content from the web directly in an application that is not a browser.
By including the WebView code library in the software, developers can use Android System WebView to add browser functionality to the developed application. By including this feature, they can effectively insert a browser into their applications so that you can use these applications to interact with web pages and web-based applications.
WebView used to be a core part of the Android operating system and can only be updated by updating to a new Android version. However, Google separates WebView from the core operating system with Android 5.0 Lollipop, so the update of WebView must be downloaded through the Google Play app store.
Then, with the advent of Android 7.0 Nougat, it moved the System WebView component to Chrome, so you can only update the app by updating Chrome. Then, it moved it back to the separate Android System WebView app with Android 10 and remained in it.