How to see if your Android phone is affected by Google's Chrome 79 bug

Google has abruptly halted its roll-out of the latest version of its Chrome browser.

Chrome version 79 was released into the wild last week but the tech giant stopped it after it was revealed a nasty bug was making data on Android smartphones inaccessible.

The new software is believed to play havoc with the ‘webview’ feature which lets you look at the internet from within apps.

According to reports, the update has already been downloaded by about 50% of Android users worldwide. Unlike Apple’s iOS, which is limited to iPhones, the Android operating system can be found on phones from the likes of Samsung, OnePlus or Sony.

How to check your version of Chrome

To check which version of Chrome you have installed, you’ll need to go to the settings menu on your phone.

From there, click the list of installed apps and scroll down until you find the Google Chrome browser.

You should be able to click on ‘About’ or ‘Advanced’ or some variation at the bottom of the settings for Chrome that will tell you which version you have installed.

Many apps auto-update, so you may have the latest version installed without consciously doing it.

The version with the bugs is Google Chrome 79.0.3945.79. If your phone has this version of the browser installed, you may notice the effects of the bug.

What are the dangers?

Unfortunately, some people who installed the update say the data inside other apps has been deleted. That’s because the apps are not much more than gateways to an internet location that use the Chromium source code to operate.

The developers behind the software say that while the data hasn’t been deleted by the bug, it has essentially been remapped to a different location and rendered inaccessible.

So, to all intents and purposes, deleted.

One of the apps known to be affected by the bug is Twitter Lite, a stripped-down version of regular Twitter that takes up less space on your phone.

It’s not clear yet how many apps in total are affected or what the fallout may be.

What can I do about it?

Sadly, at this point there doesn’t appear to be a fix. However, developers are working furiously to try and solve the problem.

In all liklihood, that will be a newer version of Chrome that will come with the bug fixed. The problem is that for those who have lost their data, rolling back the browser or bringing out a new version likely won’t bring their data back.

‘Everyone, please keep the discussion constructive, assume good intent, and give the developers space to work on the best possible solution for this problem,’ wrote an admin for the Chromium software on a discussion thread surrounding the problem.

‘I’m sorry for the data loss! I know from experience that it’s really frustrating to have to deal with a problem that you have little control over, and I understand that losing data puts you in very difficult positions.

‘This issue is marked P0 so, at this point, we don’t need more reminders about how important this is for you 🙂 Please understand that the team is working on a solution that minimizes the data loss, and that can be rolled out safely. It is in everyone’s best interest that the folks working on this issue can focus their full attention on resolving it.

‘After we deploy the best mitigation that we can, we’ll figure out how to do better in the future. Thank you for bearing with us!’

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