Android system webview is a system component that is powered by chrome. Its main specialty is to display the web components inside an app without having to open the browser or even close the app.
The app allows third-party apps on your device to open pages within the app without having to open the same pages on the default browser of the device. Users of this content should make it a point to update it on a timely basis in order to benefit from the latest security features and fix malicious bugs.
What is android system webview?
Android system webview is that feature which allows you to browse on your smartphone without having to open either one of Firefox or Google Chrome. It is the main component that allows the Android devices to render the different web pages.
The Android 4.4 has a comparatively recent version of the Web view based on Chromium, popularly used by the Google Chrome browser.
The Android 5.0 uses Webview as a separate app, mainly for the purpose of fetching direct security patches from the Google Play Store. The earlier versions required a firmware update for the same purpose of patching up.
However, this has changed drastically with the introduction of Android Webview. When a security patch is needed, it can be accomplished by pushing the update to Play Store.
What is its function?
The webview was introduced in the Android 4.4 KitKat for the purpose of making it more user-friendly as compared to the other Android version Jellybean.
The Android 4.4 KitKat used a Chromium-based version of the Android Webview and it worked in a way very similar to the Chrome browser.
However, after the KitKat, it was developed as a separate Android system webview app altogether. This was used in the Android 5.5 Lollipop and its main function was to push any new updates or bug fixes into the app directly, without having to get an update from the OS.
This Android system webview update was mainly done due to some of its vulnerabilities that were seen in the version used in Android 4.3 and below.
Does it require a separate installation?
Users of Android have this app already installed on their devices. Nothing extra is required for installing or running the app. It runs by default in the background.
However, it should be noted that not all apps that run on Android are compatible with the web view. This is also the reason why many a time, links take a browser to open them.
Although the web view can also be uninstalled or disabled by the user, it is usually recommended not to do so. This is to because many apps require it to open embedded links.
Android system webview for developers
Developers will find it convenient to add functionality of the browser to the app by creating a class of Webview for embedding the required browser for executing Java Scripts and rendering the web pages.
Permission should be added to the Android Manifest File before adding the Webview code for opening the web page within the app.
For maximum functionality, it is best to use the Android system webview as a default app. It is advisable for users of Android Marshmallow 6.0 or lower to run the app on their phones. However, this will not be required for Android Nougat 7.0 or higher as the Chrome will take care of the webview for the user.