Bug in Chrome 79 for Android found to delete data in some apps
Google is in hot water after the latest version of Chrome for Android has been blamed for wiping locally stored data for other apps.
The bug, which finds its root with Android’s WebView system, affects how web data is stored. Android uses Chrome’s WebView to render web pages for apps that do not have their own rendering engine. However, Chrome 79 (the latest version) changes the location web data is stored, save for two critical pieces: localStorage and WebSQL data.
Essentially, the new update wiped local data for apps that rely on Chrome’s WebView feature when Chrome tried to migrate web data to the new location. The data is still intact in its old location, but there is currently no way to access it. As such, affected data is basically DOA.
The bug prompted Google to pause the rollout of Chrome 79 until a fix can be found. On the Chromium bug blog, the developers posted the following:
We are currently discussing the correct strategy for resolving this issue which will be one of:
a) continue the migration, moving the missed files into their new locations.
b) revert the change by moving migrated files to their old locations.
We will let you know which of these two options have been chosen soon. In the meantime it would be good 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.
Finally: are you aware that you can test with beta versions of webview? This change was made in beta 6 weeks ago, and had the issue been picked up at that point we would have been able to address it before it significantly impacted users.
Have you downloaded Chrome 79? If so, have you experienced this bug and lost data? Let us know in the comments.