How to Fix a Nasty Android Phone Bug (esp on HTC M8)

You may have noticed in the last few days that some apps don’t work right on your android phone – they close as soon as you open them, or in the middle of using them. I had this problem with Handcent, and also with clicking on (most) articles on some (but not other) apps from online news sources. Many other apps are also closing unexpectedly. This is certainly a problem in my HTC One M8, and I gather it has hit some android tablets too.

The source of the problem is an update Google did to the “Android System WebView” app. Despite looking like an app, this is really part of the Android operating system: Google is moving to transition from having all Android updates come in Android version releases and spinning off parts that it update more quickly (and behind the back of the phone makers and cell phone companies) via the Play Store.

To solve the problem you must do 3 things:

  1. Turn off automatic app updates in the Play Store (unless they are off already). This will mean you’ll have to go in and accept updates by hand every day or two, but it’s worth it. Alternately, in Androd 5.x you can just find the “Android System WebView” app in the Play Store, then tap on the three dots in the upper right and make sure “Auto-update” is unchecked. This won’t change your global settings.
  2. Go to settings, App Manager, find the “Android System WebView” app, and uninstall the updates. This will revert the app to a working version. It might be insecure, but at least it will work.
  3. Do not accept offers to update the “Android System WebView” app (or if it does update repeat step 2), until there’s a version more recent than 42.0.2311.129 dated Apr 24, 2015, which is the bad one.

No word from Google yet when they will fix this. You’d think HTC would be on to them about it.

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7 Responses to How to Fix a Nasty Android Phone Bug (esp on HTC M8)

  1. This post was looking for a long time. But bug of HTC M8 not fully fixed yet.

  2. Matthew P Clements says:

    I just recently got hit with the HTC One M8 Mail app issue ‘not responding’ … removing the Android System WebView update fixed it. Come on HTC! Get with the program!

    • michael says:

      Odd, it’s worked fine for me since HTC updated past version 42.0.2311.129 of Android System WebView.

      I’m currently on (updated Feb 9 2016) and not seeing any email problems on my HTC M8 (Verizon edition). What version gave you trouble?

      • Tony says:

        I’m having the same issue of mail stopping whenever I try to compose / reply etc a mail message.

        Uninstall Android System WebView and the problem is fixed. HTC 1M8, ASWV 48.0.2564.106 9Feb16.

  3. Dave says:

    HTC one M8 same problem with Android System WebView causing email to not work.. uninstall and fixes the problem

  4. Jon says:

    WOW! i know this is old, and gosh i hope someone comes around still…

    lmao this is totally not limited to the HTC-whatever. i own a Sony Xperia Z1 and have this same issue. all-of-a-sudden SEVERAL apps just stopped working. and while i have had the latest version of this webview installed for a while, the issue just happened.

    i tried several things to fix it. everything short of a complete wipe. WEW.

    disabled the webview, which completely uninstalled it, and BAM the apps instantly worked again.

    seriously? google needs to hurry up and fix they stuff. ROFL

    • Larry DeMuth says:

      Just had the email problem of not being able to send emails on a HTC one. Removed the upgrades from webview and the email works.

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