Chrome Sync and Android

27 Aug 2011
Tags: Android

A word of caution; last night I enabled the new “Encrypt all synced data” option in Google Chrome. It is awesome that we now offer this.

The Android browser also talks to the chrome sync servers; their (not Chrome) browser in Honeycomb 3.1 looks like it doesn’t handle encryption yet, and crashes hard when the option is enabled on my G-Slate. Periodically, the process crashes, often while I’m doing something else on my tablet. Looking at the output of adb logcat:

E/AndroidRuntime( 2861): FATAL EXCEPTION: SyncAdapterThread-1
E/AndroidRuntime( 2861): java.lang.NullPointerException
E/AndroidRuntime( 2861): 	at
E/AndroidRuntime( 2861): 	at
E/AndroidRuntime( 2861): 	at
E/AndroidRuntime( 2861): 	at android.content.

So…don’t turn on encryption on all your browser sync data in Chrome if you have a Honeycomb tablet! Since you can’t disable this once it’s on in Chrome, the workaround is unchecking Accounts & sync > (your Google account) > Sync Browser until their browser supports encrypted datatypes.

(In general, if you’re wondering why something is crashing, you can usually get a good idea by using adb logcat from the Android development SDK or one of the logcat programs on Market.)