It’s been a rough few hours for Android users. Last night, Android smartphone and tablet owners spotted a problem that left them unable to launch a number of popular apps, including Gmail and the Google app. Tapping on the app icon would result in the app immediately shutting down.
The issues, which started around 10pm last night, have continued into this morning. A number of third-party apps have also been impacted by the same bug, including Yahoo Mail, Outlook, mobile banking applications, and the Amazon shopping app.
Independent outage monitor Down Detector reported a spike in users complaining about the Android app problems – with thousands talking about the issues on Facebook and Twitter during the peak of the problems. Thankfully, Google has published a fix that stops the Yahoo Mail app from crashing and will fix the Gmail bug too.
In a statement about the problems for Android users right now, Google said: “We have resolved the issue with WebView that caused some apps on Android to crash for some users. Updating Android System WebView and Google Chrome via Google Play should now resolve the issue.”
Before the confirmation from Google, a number of users had speculated on social media that the so-called ‘WebView’ was the source of the issues. A recent change to the ‘Android System Webview’ seemed to link all of the disparate apps impacted by the crash bug.
It had been reported that uninstalling ‘Android System Webview’ via the Google Play Store fixed the issues, however, since Google has now rolled out a patch – meaning that updating the Android System WebView is now the correct way to solve the problems for good. A separate Google Chrome update has also been issued to the Google Play Store. Because “WebView” is a system component powered by Chrome that allows Android apps to display web content, running the latest version of Chrome is crucial to get everything fixed.
Meanwhile, the official @Gmail Twitter account has also suggested clearing the cache for the app could help solve the crash bug too. To do this Android users would need to go to Settings > Applications > Gmail > Storage > Clear Cache.
However, since there is now an official patch from Google, the workaround suggested by the social media team at Gmail is probably redundant now.
Besides Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Google Android users have today reported issues with other popular apps such as Discord and Outlook crashing as well. Thankfully, the patch should prevent any of these apps crashing. However, since the update has only just rolled out – some users haven’t had time to update the system component. As a result, a number of social media users are still complaining about the problems.
One person tweeted: “@Google Why is it that I can’t use half my apps because you guys have a massive outage?”
Android is one of the most used pieces of software in the world, with over two billion devices worldwide running the market-leading Google mobile OS.