Google was forced to halt the roll-out of Chrome 79, the latest version of its hugely popular web browser due to issues regarding a bug affecting Android WebView, which is wiping device’s app data.
While Android WebView renders web page or content within apps, the bug causes it to use new location for storing the local data, and failing to successfully migrate the existing data. Whenever a user or developer tries to open an app the relied on locally stored data on the device, their previous information would fail to show up, which appeared as if their data has been lost.
Albeit, the stored data was not actually lost, rather because Chrome 79 is referring the apps to look for local data in new location, the apps that relied on Android WebView would not be able to access the old data.
Google admitted the fault in its bug report on Friday, adding that the issue is related to file migration from Chrome 78 to the latest version, Chrome 79. And given that Chrome update happens seamlessly and behind the background, the latest version might already have been automatically installed on millions of Android devices.
According to Google, an estimated 50 per cent of devices are already running the latest Chrome release. Though Google is aware of the bug, haven marked it as P0 (the highest priority-level), still no fix is within sight.
What can be done about the Chrome 79 bug?
As the update doesn't really delete the previous stored data, but only misplaces it, it can therefore be recovered with debug tools, although this is not easy for ordinary users, but for a developer.
But the two options as described by the Chromium team are:
1. Continue the migration, moving the missed files into their new locations.
2. Revert the change by moving migrated files to their old locations.
In the meantime, rolling back to the previous version, Chrome 78 would perhaps be the less stressful of the options, as it would still preserve saved data before the update to latest version, but at the expense of losing new local data saved since Chrome 79 was automatically installed on your device.
For those who haven’t updated to Chrome 79, it is recommended to wait until a permanent fix has been issued by Google and make sure your Android phone is unchecked from automatic update to prevent your device from auto-updating to the latest version.
Update: Google has fixed the Chrome 79 bug with the release of Chrome 79.0.3945.93, which is now rolling out to Android devices.