Google Halts Chrome Update on Android Following Reports of Data Loss on Apps

Posted on December 16, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Google Chrome, Web browsers, Mobile, Android with 0 Comments

Google started rolling out a new update to Chrome last week. The new update, Chrome 79, introduces some new features and changes behind the scenes on Android, but it also introduces a major bug.

The bug not only affects Chrome itself, but it can also affect other apps on your device. Because Google Chrome powers Android’s built-in WebView engine, any other app using the WebView are affected by a new issue which leads to data loss.

With Chrome 79, Google changed the location where web data is stored. However, certain data from websites weren’t migrated to the new location properly, leading to a loss in data. The problem here is that the lost data technically still exists, but it simply wasn’t migrated properly to the new location, causing all these problems for users and app developers.

Google has confirmed the issue (via Android Police) and has halted the rollout of Chrome 79 for Android at 50%. The company is currently evaluating two different approaches for a fix:

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.

It’s hard to tell exactly to what extent apps using Chrome’s WebView are affected by the data loss problem, but it’s possible you will have to log in to a lot of the apps you were already signed into if this issue has affected those apps.

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