Google has stopped the release of Chrome 79 on Android after several reports of the update deleting data from third-party apps starting popping up.
It appears that there is a bug in the Chrome 79 update that is causing issues with apps that use WebView extensively. While we are not sure which apps have been affected heavily by this bug, but Twitter is an example that makes use of Google’s platform.
Bug in Chrome 79
The bug appeared during the update process from Chrome 78 to Chrome 79 when Google changed the location of the Chrome directory.
In a bug report filed last week, Google devs acknowledged they made a mistake as they forgot to move the contents of localStorage or WebSQL into the new Chrome 79 directory — which makes the data inaccessible for all users.
LocalStorage and WebSQL
LocalStorage and WebSQL are both storage mechanisms using which a website or web app stores data on a user’s device (inside a user’s Chrome profile directory).
While some sites use localStorage or WebSQL, the majority prefer using dedicated database servers to store user data on the server. But, both localStorage and WebSQL are popular on mobile devices and heavily used by mobile app makers.
Nowadays, several Android Apps run on a website loaded inside the WebView component — which is basically a stripped-down version of Chrome.
Hence, these apps heavily rely on localStorage or WebSQL to save settings and user data locally, instead of storing it on a server.
The bug in Chrome 79 caused such apps to lose access to all the files and data saved inside the old Chrome 78 localStorage and WebSQL folders. Now, some users have lost data, settings, files, and even access to their accounts.
A fix is on the way but it is probably too late
Unfortunately, the update has already reached around 50% of the Android userbase, which means a lot of damage.
Google developers are currently working on an update to fix the data migration process, but a patch might be too late for many.
It is unclear whether the older localStorage and WebSQL data is still there, or it was deleted during the Chrome update process. Sometimes, cleaner apps delete such data after the update process.
We recommend our users not to install Chrome 79 or if you’ve already installed it, then, wait for the patch to sort out the issue.