How To: Ditch Google's WebView & Switch Android's System Browser to Bromite

Ditch Google's WebView & Switch Android's System Browser to Bromite

Apps don't need to come bundled with an entire browser just to be able to display web pages — instead, they can call on the system WebView browser to render content for them. Android's default WebView renderer is Google software, which isn't quite as privacy-forward as some other options.

For instance, Bromite comes with browser fingerprinting protection enabled by default. You can also enable ad blocking, send "Do not track" requests, and even open new tabs in incognito mode by default. It's based on the open-source Chromium code base, so the actual browsing experience is almost identical to Chrome. It's just way more private overall.

Requirements

Step 1: Install Webview Switcher

To start, open your Magisk Manager app and tap the puzzle piece icon on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen. Here, tap the search button and enter "webview," then tap the download arrow next to the top result: Webview Switcher. The module will take about 3 minutes to install, so be patient while it downloads and installs Bromite and Bromite WebView. Make sure to tap "Reboot" when it's done.

Step 2: Adjust Bromite Privacy Settings

When you get back up, your system WebView renderer will already be switched to Bromite. In your app drawer, you'll notice two new icons: one for the main Bromite browser and one for Bromite WebView. The latter cannot be opened (it's just a stub for managing the app's data), but go ahead and open the Bromite one to view settings.

Here, tap the three-dot menu button in the top-right corner and choose "Settings" to do some minor tinkering with your WebView's backend. Once inside, choose "Privacy," then have a look through all the options — most of which were simply unavailable in Chrome. For privacy purposes, you'll definitely want to turn on "Do Not Track," and I'd also recommend enabling "Open links in incognito tabs always."

Sadly, there's not much user-facing change with this mod — it's all about the privacy improvements under the hood. Otherwise, you won't be able to tell anything changed from a visual standpoint since it's based on the same open source code as the default WebView.

One thing to note is that this doesn't apply to links opened with Chrome or Chrome Custom Tabs, which is the full-fledged browser some apps use to display content. Additionally, you may notice bugs with a few apps that refuse to use any other WebView than the default.

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Cover image and screenshots by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

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