In iOS, there have been two webviews for a few years now, UIWebView and WKWebView. Historically, Ionic apps have used UIWebView, but no longer. Ionic now uses WKWebview by default when building for iOS.

We strongly believe WKWebview is the best option for any app, as it features many improvements over the older, legacy webview (UIWebView). These features include:

We wanted to make sure that people could easily switch to WKWebView without many issues, but there are still some things that you’ll need to consider.

Update Ionic CLI

WKWebView plugin needs latest Ionic CLI in order to work properly.

Please make sure that your global CLI is using the latest 3.x release. If not, please upgrade:

npm uninstall -g ionic
npm install -g ionic


UIWebView never enforced CORS, but WKWebView does.

Unfortunately there’s no API to disable this, so you’ll need to ensure any remote API that your app use, implement CORS correctly: CORS MDN Docs

Origin: http://localhost:8080

CORS checklist:

  1. Whitelist Origin: http://localhost:8080
  2. Whitelist Methods
  3. Whitelist Header
  4. CORS preflight request (OPTION)

Rewriting file://

WKWebView still has some issues when referencing local files, file://. We tried many solutions but went with a local server, as it was the only solution that worked for every case.

If you’re working with local files (text files, images, videos), you’ll need to make sure that the path of file does not have file:// in front of it.

For example:


Should be rewritten to:


We added built-in function (Ionic 3.2.0) that will rewrite file:// URLs automatically:

import { normalizeURL } from 'ionic-angular';

let path = cordova.file.dataDirectory;
console.log('Original: ' + path);

path = normalizeURL(path);
console.log('Fixed: ' + path);


Original: file:///Users/manuelmartinez-almeida/Library/Developer/CoreSimulator/Devices/94646EFE-DE04-46BD-AFC1-B4F312BA06CB/data/Containers/Bundle/Application/6AD1018C-6836-4BF9-83DA-4430392D10D5/ionic-wk-test.app/www/index.html

Fixed: /Users/manuelmartinez-almeida/Library/Developer/CoreSimulator/Devices/94646EFE-DE04-46BD-AFC1-B4F312BA06CB/data/Containers/Bundle/Application/6AD1018C-6836-4BF9-83DA-4430392D10D5/ionic-wk-test.app/www/index.html

Or from within a template:

<img [src]="imagePath" />
takePhoto() {
    this.imagePath = normalizeURL(img);

Note: Core cordova plugins also allow you to reference a file via the cdvfile:// protocol. Unfortunately, we cannot rewrite this path as it is something that gets resolved in native code. We suggest that when ever you reference a file, use the full path for rewrites, not cdvfile://.

Upgrading to WKWebView (UIWebView users only)

ionic cordova plugin add cordova-plugin-ionic-webview --save

More info: https://github.com/ionic-team/cordova-plugin-ionic-webview#installation-instructions

Downgrading to UIWebView

As we said previously, we strongly recommend developers upgrade to WKWebView, but if you still need to use UIWebView, here’s the step to downgrade:

Option 1: Force UIWebView usage

You can force cordova to use the default engine (UIWebView) by explicitally telling so:

<preference name="CordovaWebViewEngine" value="CDVUIWebViewEngine" />

Option 2: Uninstall the Ionic’s WebView plugin

$ ionic cordova plugin remove cordova cordova-plugin-ionic-webview --save
$ rm -rf platforms/
$ rm -rf plugins/
$ ionic cordova build ios


App data is not copied over

I just migrated from UIWebView to WKWebView and the storage data looks lost.

Since WKWebView is essentially a new browser, any data that you could have in LocalStorage or IndexDB will not be copied over. In this case, migrating data to a native storage mechanism, SQLite, is suggested to make sure that the data will still be available.

We strongly recommend to use the ionic-storage package which abstracts aways most of the problems with persistent storage.

My app does not load, white screen

I don’t have any error in my code, but still I get a blank screen

Most of the time, this kind of problems come from an incorrect installation of cordova.

Malloc: *** error for object 0x1700af180: pointer being freed was not allocated

It looks like its a Safari bug and therefore only appears when you are debugging your webview with Safari. In Safari under: Develop -> Your_Device_Name uncheck “Automatically Show Web Inspector for JSContexts”.

This should resolve your issue.

My local resources does not load

Some of the <img>/<video>/<audio> does not load.

Ensure, that the URL of the resource does not start with file://. If it is the case, use normalizeURL() to rewrite the path:

import { normalizeURL} from 'ionic-angular';

imageSRC = normalizeURL(url);

Configuring AVAudioSession doesn’t affect WKWebView

WKWebView runs in a separate process from your app. It is likely that it has its own AudioSession separate from your app’s AudioSession. One possible workaround is to allow your app’s AudioSession to mix with others:

[[AVAudioSession sharedInstance] setCategory:AVAudioSessionCategoryPlayAndRecord 

Fortunatelly, Ionic’s WebView can do this for you by setting the AudioCanMix cordova preference to true.

<preference name="AudioCanMix" value="true" />

XHR requests does not work

I am trying to call some remote service using XHR (or fetch), but it is not working.

As we said previously, WKWebView enforces CORS. You will need to whitelist http://localhost:8080 as “Origin” and/or implement CORS properly.

I can’t implement CORS

I don’t control the backend, so I can’t add CORS to it, how can I make it work with WKWebView?

If it is not an possibility to implement or configure CORS in the server, there is a native plugin that can “proxy” the HTTP requests using native code, so CORS can be completely bypassed:

Read more here: cordova-plugin-http.