Chrome’s data disaster: Browser update wipes out Android app data

  • 17 December 2019
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Google changed where Chrome stores data. Chrome handles data for HTML apps. Uh oh.


December 17, 2019 By Ron Amadeo 


Google's latest Chrome update is causing a headache for users and developers of some Android apps. Chrome 79, which is rolling out across desktop and mobile OSes, has been causing data loss for some other seemingly unrelated Android apps. Thanks to this bug, specifically on Android, updating your browser can now do something like wipe out the data in your Finance app.

The connection between Chrome and Android app data might not be obvious, but Chrome on Android isn't always just the browser that starts up when you press on the Chrome icon. For some versions of Android, the Chrome app can also provide the built-in HTML render for the entire OS. Apps can call on the system render to display in-app Web content (the API is called "WebView"), and, in this case, an instance of Chrome would seamlessly start up and draw HTML content inside your app. Whether you want to call them "HTML apps" or "Web wrappers," it's not uncommon for apps to basically be only a WebView. These apps just turn on and load a webpage, and the Web wrapper provides native Android features like an app drawer icon, full-screen interface, and Play Store distribution. These apps look and work mostly like native apps from a user's perspective, and it's hard for even technical users to tell the difference. Cross-platform development is a lot easier when you use HTML, though, since HTML code works everywhere.


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