How to Fix Crashing Gmail and Chrome Apps That Stop After Being Opened

Google says it has released a fix for Android users who continue to experience Gmail crashes when they attempt to open the mobile app.

Despite the issue seemingly being resolved on Tuesday, waves of frustrated users were still complaining about the issue on Wednesday morning on social media.

"Is it just my Gmail App that shuts down automatically? How do we fix it," one Twitter user questioned on Wednesday. Another person wrote: "The app seems to be going through a glitch. It shuts down the moment I open the app."

Google search analytics suggested Android owners were also asking how to stop the crashing. Some breakout search terms included: "Gmail closes as soon as I open it," "Why is Gmail crashing on my phone," and "Android apps crashing Google fix."

Hi there. We apologize for the inconvenience and the issue should now be fixed. Updating Android System WebView and/or Google Chrome via Google Play should resolve the issue if your device is still affected. For more information and steps, see:

— Gmail (@gmail) March 24, 2021

According to Google, there are some simple steps mobile users can take to restore their Gmail access until a full patch is rolled out to all Android users at a later date.

Both Android System WebView—a component powered by Chrome that allows Android apps to display web content—and Google Chrome need to be updated. Some devices don't have WebView pre-installed and should only only need to update Chrome.

To manually update Android System WebView and Google Chrome now:

  • Open the Play Store app.
  • Search for "Android System WebView."
  • Select Update. If it doesn't say "Update," skip this step.
  • Repeat the steps for Google Chrome.

"Google Play will soon download the update to these apps on affected devices, or you can update manually to resolve the issue immediately," a Google community manager named Deepak S. said in a support blog that was published on Tuesday.

Updates posted to its status dashboard suggested reports first emerged late on March 22 and had been affecting a "significant subset of users." It noted any affected users were still able to use the desktop Gmail version instead of the Android app.

In a statement on Tuesday, Google said it was resolved, adding: "We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better. Updating Android System WebView and Google Chrome via Google Play should now resolve the issue for all users."

The community manager's blog post said that a manual update of WebView or Chrome may fail to complete in "some rare cases." If that happens, follow these steps:

  • Open your phone's Settings app.
  • Tap Apps & notifications > Google Play Store > Storage & cache > Clear storage
  • Note that doing this will clear some of your Play Store settings like parental controls, auto-update preferences, etc. Recheck these after the steps.
  • Repeat the steps above to update WebView and Chrome.

"After... an investigation, we identified that the issue was related to a recent update to the WebView system app. We halted the update and have posted a new version of WebView (89.0.4389.105)," Deepak S. wrote.

Google Gmail app
A smart phone with the icons for the Google Gmail app is seen on the screen in Hong Kong, Hong Kong, on July 31, 2018. Google says it has released a fix for Android users who continue to experience Gmail crashes when they attempt to open the mobile app. S3studio/Getty Images