Chrome 79 Has A Bug Which Is Deleting Android App Data; Google Pauses Chrome 79 Rollout
A few days ago, Chrome 79 started rolling out on desktop and mobile platforms.
But a bug has cropped up that wipes data in certain apps that use Android’s built-in WebView unfortunately, which has riled up both developers and regular users.
How Did This Happen?
Everyone might be wondering – how is it possible that a Chrome bug erase data in other apps.
Well, In the most recent versions of Android, Chrome acts as the system’s WebView — the component that renders web pages inside of apps.
When users log in with a web page inside an application or use browsers like DuckDuckGo that lack their own internal rendering engine, Chrome is responsible for loading that content.
Apart from that a few Android apps actually run entirely inside WebView, For example, the applications built with Apache Cordova (PhoneGap) or packaged web apps like Twitter Lite.
In Chrome 79, It has a change in that the location where web data is stored was updated.
Although, one of the comment on a Chromium bug page pointed out, the data from localStorage and WebSQL — two types of storage commonly used by web apps and packaged apps — wasn’t migrated properly.
In simple words, when devices were updated to Chrome 79, web apps and WebView applications had some (or all) local data deleted.
However, the data is still technically intact, since Chrome didn’t delete old data after the migration, but there’s no way to access it right now.
How Is It Affecting?
The users are giving one-star reviews for apps that are affected by the bug, and app developers are railing against Chromium developers.
What Does Google Suggesting?
Google is currently considering different options to fix this bug. They are considering the below approaches.
- Continue the migration, moving the missed files into their new locations.
- Revert the change by moving migrated files to their old locations.
They said that they will let us know about which of these two options have been chosen soon. (Reference)
It would be a good idea 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.
So far it is hard to get a full picture of the apps affected since applications rarely advertise how they are built. The only assurance is that data stored in accounts online is safe.