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What is Android System WebView? A guide (with examples)

TL;DR: Android System WebView (ASW) allows an app to seamlessly display web content within the app itself. Some pros: It offers seamless integration, performance optimization, and security updates made directly through Google. Cons: It drains resources from a mobile device, and can crash if updates are made while the WebView app is running. Uninstalling ASW can cause disruptions; however, disabling it should be considered. It’s also important to note that apps created using Median’s App Studio automatically use System WebView.

What is Android System WebView?

What is Android System WebView - Google Play image
Source: Google Play

Android System Webview is a system component in Android devices that lets an app display web content within the app itself, without the need for users to leave the app and open it in a separate web browser. 

Another way to look at it:  Android System Webview is essentially a mini web browser engine that gives app developers a way to seamlessly embed web content into their apps. Due to webview being based on the open-source Chromium — a.k.a. Google Chrome web browser — it supports modern web standards and technologies.

But, just like many other offerings on the digital market, Android System WebView comes with its own set of pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at them below.

What are the pros of Android System WebView?

Some of the benefits include:

  • Seamless integrations: This system allows for the seamless integration of web content within your Android app, creating a unified user experience without the need to switch between apps.
  • Performance optimization: ASW includes performance optimization features such as caching, which in turn improves the speed of web content within your app.
  • Personalization: Developers have the freedom to customize their webview app to match the overall aesthetic of their web content.
  • Offline capabilities: ASW supports offline access to web content previously cached by users.
  • Security updates: Regular updates and patches provided by Google ensures user data is protected, offering enhanced security levels.

What are the cons of Android System WebView?

The main drawbacks of ASW include: 

  • Resource consumption: When rendering complex web pages or running JavaScript content, ASW tends to consume higher system resources, including memory and CPU.
  • Dependent on system updates: Security and performance improvements are usually tied to system updates, which can lead to delays in important updates.
  • Other app interference: Multiple apps on a device using the common system webview can slow down the performance of your app.
  • Risk of crashing: If the system webview is updated while your app is running, it can crash.
  • Device-specific bugs: The system webview on some devices can have bugs and other issues which can then lead to unpredictable performance and behavior within your app.

How does Android System WebView actually work?

Android System WebView allows apps to access and display web content without the need for app users to open a separate web browser.

To display web content, app developers have the option to either display it directly in the app via WebView, use Chrome’s Custom Tabs feature, or use a separate web browser to load content there.

You’ve probably used an Android System WebView app without knowing it! There are some apps available in the Google Play Store that act as wrapper apps using WebView to display web content. If WebView is disabled in these cases, the wrapper apps won’t  work.

Is it safe to uninstall Android System WebView?

You can’t uninstall an Android System WebView app from your device completely. Why? Since it’s a system app, Android will not let you remove it, but you can uninstall updates through Google Play.

But: It’s important to know that uninstalling Android System WebView *updates* is not recommended. 

This is because WebView security updates depend on Google’s regular updates. Uninstalling these may leave your app vulnerable to security threats related to unpatched WebView apps.

Consider these strategies before you go the ‘uninstall’ route with Android WebView app updates:

  • Clear the caching and the data for Android System WebViews in your Android device’s settings.
  • Regularly update webview apps and the Android System WebView app from the Play Store to its latest versions to avoid bugs and security threats.
  • If your webview app’s performance is being affected by temporary issues, simply restart your device to clear these issues.

If problems continue and you’re left with no other option, then consider uninstalling Android System WebView updates. To do this, follow the steps below:

Step by step guide to uninstalling Android System WebView updates
  1. Open the Google Play Store and click on your profile picture — this is next to the search bar.
  2. Locate “Manage apps & devices” and click on it.
  3. Then, click on “Manage”
  4. Look for “Android System WebView”, once found, click on it.
  5. Lastly, click on “Uninstall”

Note: We do not recommend uninstalling Android System WebView updates as it will cause some apps to not work. Consider disabling this rather than uninstalling.

Yes, It’s possible to disable ASW, but this isn’t recommended either, as it may interrupt the performance of other apps within your device (see the next section for more on how to disable ASW).

How to disable Android System WebView

If you have an Android 7, 8, or 9, you can disable ASW without problems or interruptions to other apps. This is because the WebView functionality is built directly into these device’s operating systems, making the Android System WebView app not as important.

Follow these steps below to disable Android System WebView:

Step by step guide to disabling Android System WebView
  1. Open the Setting on your Android device.
  2. Click on “Apps” or “Application.”
  3. Then, click on “More” or “See all apps.”
  4. Locate and click on “Android System WebView.”
  5. Finally, click on “Disable.”

If you have an Android 10 and +, do not disable the System WebView unless you really need to.

Do apps created using use Android System WebView?

Android apps created using Median’s App Studio by default make use of the Android System Webview provided by the user’s device. 

This component is part of the Android OS — similar to other device functionality such as the camera, media player, Android biometric login, etc. — and is usually powered by Chrome, which is why it can be updated independently of the system.

Note:  Updating Chrome from Play Store will update the Android System WebView for all apps using it.

Different devices may have different Android System WebView components installed. While for most apps the System WebView is sufficient, in some cases for certain advanced functionality there may be compatibility issues experienced on some devices.

Because of these challenges some apps include an embedded webview —  built into the app itself — rather than relying on the shared System WebView on the user’s device. 

Median offers an embedded webview as a premium option for our customers who have very specific requirements. With this approach, your app will include the GeckoView webview from Mozilla

GeckoView uses the same underlying engine that powers the widely used Firefox browser, and is trusted by many apps to ensure a stable and consistent experience for users regardless of their device.

Examples of Android System WebView apps


An inside look into the Amazon webview app
Source: Amazon

In the ever-popular e-commerce app Amazon, webview is seamlessly integrated to show product listings from the web, allowing users to explore product information and even make purchases without having to leave the app. 

Users can have a seamlessly simple shopping experience without any interruptions, enhancing Amazon’s user experience.


Airbnb webview app showing the calendar to pick dates for a booking
Source: Airbnb

In Airbnb, webview is used to provide destination guides, making it easier for users to access multimedia content, maps, and booking information without causing any interruption to their “exploration” journey.

With webview functionality, Airbnb customers can browse around the app, make bookings and plan a travel  itinerary without any interruptions, again, enhancing Airbnb’s user experience.


Duolingo webview app showing the navigation instruction for a guidebook
Source: Duolingo

In Duolingo, webview allows users to gain access to supplementary learning materials including articles, videos and interactive exercises which sometimes can be from external sources, all within your app.

With webview, users can learn a new language easily without any interruptions to user experience.


Android System Webview (ASW)  allows developers to embed web content within an app. Allowing your app to benefit from optimized performance, personalization, and offline capabilities. 

Uninstalling ASW, in short, is not possible. 

However, you can uninstall new updates to ASW from Google Play or disable it completely. It’s important to note that doing either one can cause security risks and app crashes. 

Popular apps like Amazon, Airbnb and Duolingo use WebView to provide users an enhanced app experience — making web content easily accessible. 

Frequently asked questions

Does Apple allow using embedded webviews? 

Apple has always limited apps to using the system provided UIWebView and WKWebView components, and does not permit using embedded webviews. This is why all browsers on iOS — from Chrome to DuckDuckGo — use the same rendering engine under the hood. 

However, with the latest changes in the world of Apple, they are now allowing apps in the EU to use embedded webviews (subject to Apple's approval).

*DISCLAIMER: This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not exhaustive and may not be relevant for your requirements. While we have obtained and compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. This content is not to be considered professional advice and does not form a professional relationship of any kind between you and LLC or its affiliates. is the industry-leading end-to-end solution for developing, publishing, and maintaining native mobile apps for iOS and Android powered by web content. When considering any technology vendor we recommend that you conduct detailed research and “read the fine print” before using their services.*
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