Facepalm: Google has stopped the rollout of Chrome 79 on Android following reports that a bug in the update was deleting data from third-party apps that use the WebView framework—a pre-installed system component powered by Chrome that allows apps to display web content.
Unlike Windows, Chrome updates tend not to run into major issues, but it looks as if Google has dropped the ball this time. The problem is due to Google developers changing the location of the Chrome directory in the update and failing to move the contents of localStorage or WebSQL into the new Chrome 79 directory, meaning the data can’t be accessed.
As reported by 9to5Google, Android developers who rely on WebView and local storage began reporting an issue where their apps lost data after users updated to version 79. They described the problem as a “catastrophe” and a “major issue.” One dev of a mobile cash management app says over 250,000 of his users have been affected, and two million more face problems over the coming days.
While Google has now paused the rollout, Chrome 79 has already hit 50 percent of Android devices. “We are currently discussing the correct strategy for resolving this issue,” wrote a Chromium engineer in the bug tracker.
To try and resolve the problem, Google says it will either continue the migration and move the missed files into their new locations, or 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,” the engineer added. Right now, there’s no official word on which apps have been affected, though users have been asked to collect a list. It’s estimated that a patch will arrive in 5 to 7 days.