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What Is Android System WebView?


Android System WebView Overview:

is Android System WebView Taking too much space? Clearing your applications on your phone and you are faced with Android System WebView? Let’s review this application and whether you should delete this or not.


What Is Android System WebView?

If you are an Android user or had used an Android device previously, you might have encountered an application called Android System WebView. Did you know about it? Well, if you don’t, it’s okay. It is not a very well-known application but is pre-installed on most of the Android devices. It is a background application, which means it runs on its own in the background processes of the device, you cannot run it just by pressing on some launch button.

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If you do not know about this unique application, you would be surprised by its incredible capability of integrating web services into your smartphone. If you want to locate this app, it is present in the System Apps section inside settings.

Essentially, Android System WebView is a Google OS Chrome powered integral subset that enables the applications (browser) to open the webpage from the app you are using itself. This is accomplished without initiating any browser or closing any application.

  • For example: if you are using Facebook App and come up to a page that asks you to open that certain product by tapping on the link that is mentioned below the post. By tapping on the Facebook link, the Android System WebView will allow Facebook  to take you to the website without using any browser. Instead, it launches the website in a mini browser of Facebook, itself, that has nearly all the features that are integrations to read an article such as navigate history, zoom in/out, search, scroll up and down, find, etc. After you end the website you will be automatically directed to Facebook again. So basically Android System Webpage makes it time-saving and effortless to open links within applications like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Quora, and etc.
  • If you disable this, you will have a lot of issues with a lot of different applications as Android System WebView is used and integrated. It is almost essential for many applications these day to function properly.
  • If you disable this, you’d have to do a lot of the manual processes within applications to re-direct/direct yourself to external websites.


What is Android WebView?

It is an integrated web-browsing engine installed on an operating system (Android in this case) that provides the functionality for certain applications to open webpages inside the application rather than closing that app and opening it on a separate web browser. With Web View, you can access any webpage inside that application and continue to surf it. Web View is a pre-installed application on most Android devices, if it is not you can always download it from the Play Store or simply just update it to use.

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Understanding Android WebView

WebView is a smaller component of WebKit Engine, which was brought into use when Android KitKat was released. The WebView uses the Chromium browser to fulfill the function of opening webpages on the same app you click the link on. This browser works the same as Chrome or Safari, so you do not feel any delays in loading. Before Android 5, WebView was integrated into the core software; you could only update it by updating your Android version. After Android Lollipop, Google decided to detach WebView from the core and develop it into a different system application. Now, you can easily update WebView from the Play Store like any other app, and updating the Android version is not required.


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Importance of Android WebView

WebView has made things easier not only for the user but also for the developers. Android App developers can make their apps more usable and reliable. WebView soon became a popular and important part of Android Studio (IDE for developing Android Applications). Developers can now easily integrate web browsers into their app just by having a little coding knowledge and skills. In newer versions, you can also customize the browser according to their own preference and desire. If you are a developer and want to use WebView in your project, you can simply import the WebView code library and build your web browser inside your application.

You can understand the concept with this example, imagine your friend or someone from your family sends you a link to a YouTube video or an article on Facebook. When you click on it the Facebook application opens the link in a mini-browser built inside it. This tab contains all the specifications of a fully-featured browser. You have access to features like scrolling, text searching, browsing through different videos, etc. If there was no WebView engine, everything would be too time-consuming and complex as the content would open in a separate browser and window.


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To see more answers to common Android questions and tips: see here.

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