Text Reflow Feature has been just Removed from WebViews in KitKat

Are you currently aware of the most important improvements added to Android’s built-in web browser for offering us a better experience?  We are absolutely sure that several features are out there and you don’t even know about them. Or better said, you find out about their existence only when they are gone and only then you realize how important they’ve actually been all this time. The text reflow feature is an ideal example for that, being an ideal function if you have in mind the idea of a comfortable reading even on a small screen. But now that it has been removed from WebViews in KitKat, just imagine what difficulties are waiting for us.

In order to understand this situation that we are dealing with, you should now that this text reflow feature usually allows the browser to automatically adjust and reformat text on any web page. So, it was designed to give you the possibility to adjust the zoom level, not to mention that the text is perfectly aligned within the page margins without cutting off the words.

Text Reflow Feature has been just Removed from WebViews in KitKat

Text Reflow Feature has been just Removed from WebViews in KitKat

And the fact that it worked with all web pages as long as there was no need for any page to be especially designed for mobiles to be readable was one of its most important advantages that has just turned into the biggest problem.

Now, a change in Android 4.4 (adopting the new Blink engine instead of the previous WebKit one) resulted in the loss of this text reflow feature which means that not only Chrome and AOSP browsers are affected, but actually anything relying on the WebView class shares the same faith. It is true that some popular alternative browsers like Lightning or Dolphin have their own customizations too, but even these ones use the built-in WebView for rendering.

This wasn’t an accident that has to be fixed in the near future, but Google actually intended to remove it. And there’s no solution available for the moment! We have simply lost an amazing feature that made mobile browsing more accessible than ever even for those with poor eyesight, but let’s remain positive. If something changes in the future, you’ll be the first to find out about that!