In previous versions of Android, in-app browsing was facilitated using WebView (1). Disabling in-app browsing system-wide could be achieved by uninstalling the WebView app (2).

Recently, an in-app version of Chrome, called Custom Tabs, took over the WebView app (3, 4). This meant the previous trick no longer worked.

How to disable in-app browsing has already been discussed previously (5). However, the answers included uninstalling Chrome and, thereby, uninstalling Custom Tabs.

Is there a way to keep Chrome as the default browser, while also disabling in-app browsing? Clicking on links in certain apps would, then, result in the full Chrome app opening and rendering the webpage.

  • @beeshyams Thanks, it's related but not the same. At least, your answer there is suggesting exactly what I am trying to avoid (editted Q to make this more clear). Also, Daniel Mahler states "Chromer is a nice way to manage links opened from other apps (Web Heads) but AFAIK has no control over if other apps use it. If somebody knows a one shot method to change the browser settin for all app I am all ears". I too, am all ears.
    – LBogaardt
    Sep 7, 2018 at 8:55
  • The WebView component is just a special app. You can have multiple WebViews installed and select the one you want in the Developer Options. Unfortunately the System WebView have to be signed as system app, therefore installing some sort of a "dummy WebView" requires root.
    – Robert
    Sep 7, 2018 at 17:55
  • @Robert Are you suggesting that, if one has root access, a dummy WebView app can be installed which, for example, simply launches the Chrome Browser and opens the clicked URL there? Also, could you explain what the Developer Options is? Is there anything I can exploit there?
    – LBogaardt
    Sep 8, 2018 at 12:56
  • The "Developer Options" is the developer settings menu you can unlock by touching the built number 4 times. I was talking about a dummy WebView app that just does nothing. Opening an URL designed for a WebView in Chrome does not make sense, as Chrome does not have access to the app-internal resources.
    – Robert
    Sep 8, 2018 at 15:31
  • 1
    Seeing that they're are no answers try this- 1. Install "Shelter" from FDroid. It's an open source app that creates a work partition to run apps safely 2. I happened to notice that in developer settings Chrome is disabled and web view is enabled for work profile in sheet mode. 3. Clone Lynket (referred in now deleted comment) to work profile and also the apps you want to open in Lynket 4. Set Lynket as default browser in work profile 5. I tried with one app only and it opens up by default in Lynket rather than in app. Of course Lynket is not Chrome fully (slim version of Chrome)//
    – beeshyams
    Sep 12, 2018 at 5:38

2 Answers 2


You need to know this before disabling all in-app browsing,

In-app browsing is a required component by built-in requirements in order for web functions to render properly, as described by Google:

Android WebView is a system component powered by Chrome that allows Android apps to display web content. This component is pre-installed on your device and should be kept up to date to ensure you have the latest security updates and other bug fixes.

So there may be a chance that if you disabled in-app browsing and the Android System WebView, while Chrome as the default web browser, some web components may start failing to function properly.

  • 1
    Is it really powered by Chrome? You can completely neuter Chrome (and possibly even delete it), but still use and update WebView. Jul 29, 2020 at 6:05
  • Well I am not the only one saying that it is powered by Chrome, Google says it too. Aug 6, 2020 at 13:36
  • Do you have a source for Google claiming that? Aug 7, 2020 at 0:35
  • play.google.com/store/apps/… (Read the description to see what I am saying) Aug 7, 2020 at 15:16
  • Thanks William. First of all, that was written by Google, so we know it's not true. ;) All kidding aside, I'm not sure they are being accurate in that case; Google may just be using it as an opportunity to promote their browser. I'm very interested if you find any other references of WebView being based on Chrome instead of chromium. Aug 15, 2020 at 2:14

Considering you click the 3 dot, then "open in chrome" and it has the exact scroll position you were at... Yeh I think it's using chrome 1:1 with a modified ui

From the Google app, click more, general, open in app

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