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How to fix "Screen overlay detected" error

So, you’ve received the “screen overlay detected” message and have no idea what to do. Well, follow this step-by-step guide, and be troubled no longer.

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Error message “Screen overlay detected”: the cause

The problem: Android suddenly warns you that a screen overlay has been detected.

AndroidPIT screen overlay detected 1
The error message in question. / © AndroidPIT

The reason: This message appears when you’re running a floating app, and then start a newly installed one, which requests access rights. Floating apps include the chat heads of Facebook Messenger that can appear floating above other apps.

Affected Smartphones: Users across the internet have reported experiencing this problem on Samsung and Motorola smartphones. It seems likely to affect many manufacturers. AndroidPIT managed to replicate the behavior on a Vodafone and a Samsung smartphone.

Problem apps: We replicated the problem using Drupe, but CleanMaster, Lux and Twilight have all been blamed for the problem.

AndroidPIT screen overlay detected 2
Drupe is one of many apps that may be the cause of the error. / © AndroidPIT

The technical background: As a security measure, apps ask for permission to use certain parts of your phone (internal storage, camera, etc.). In theory, a display overlay can interfere with the dialogue requesting permission, so you need to disable the feature to interact with the dialogue.

The solution: a step-by-step fix

Step one: "Screen overlay detected" fix

Find you what apps have permission to draw over the screen. On a non-Samsung smartphone, follow these steps:

  • Open the Settings
  • Tap the magnifying glass at the top right
  • Enter the search term “draw”
  • Tap Draw over other apps
  • Alternative route: Apps> [gear  icon]> Draw over other apps

For Samsung users:

  • Open the Settings
  • Then Applications > Application manager
  • Press on More > Apps that can appear on top
AndroidPIT screen overlay detected 3
How to find the settings for app overlays on a Samsung device. / © AndroidPIT

Step two

You will find yourself in front of a list of apps that have permission to use floating buttons or other screen overlays. Now you need to identify the problem app and temporarily deny it permission to draw over the screen. Here is are some pointers on how to identify the app that’s causing trouble:

  • Do you see an app bubble on your screen? If do, this app is almost certainly the cause. Either you hide the app bubble or disable the app in the list
  • Do you have an app installed that changes the colors on the display or adjusts the brightness?
  • Reportedly, Clean Master can be a trouble maker. If you see Clean Master in the list, disable it
  • If there’s no obvious cause, disable everything
AndroidPIT screen overlay detected 4
The list of apps that are allowed overlay permissions. / © AndroidPIT

Step three

Now you can try launching the app again, and it should request permissions without the “Display overlay detected” error getting in the way.

For Samsung users: We have also received a report that suggests the one-handed keyboard setting could be the root cause. Deactivate it by going to Settings> Advanced features > One-handed operation.

AndroidPIT screen overlay detected 5
Drupe can also be a victim of the screen overlay error, but here it is fixed. / © AndroidPIT

Step four: reactivate screen overlays

In order for the app(s) that you have disabled in step two to work again, you need to re-enable its overlay permissions. If you turned off all apps, it might be worth considering only reactivating those apps that you actually use.

This is a rather inelegant workaround, but it's the best we have until Google makes the necessary changes to prevent app overlays from interfering with permission dialogues.

Has this guide helped? If you are still experiencing the error after following our guide, leave a comment, so we can try and address the problem.

205 comments

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  • Sofia Flores 22 minutes ago Link to comment

    I suggest looking through all your apps and seeing which affects display or anything core to the phone. I had this exact problem so i deleted CM Locker which interacts with my lock screen and BA BAM THAT GODDAMN POPUP STOPPED

  • SOLUTION: At least this worked for me. Just close all the apps and then retry the permission change that triggered the overlay error. When I say "close all the apps" -- on my S7, i have that "close all" option whenever I hit the "recents" button to the left of the home key. Bingo.

  • Okay. I've had about enough. My phone doesn't show the apps that are causing the problem. It'll show any other apps, system apps included, but never the app causing the problem. I've enabled permission, dissabked, rest all permissions, and even factory reset my phone. I've looked everywhere but I haven't been able to find someone with my problem.

    I can'tcan't go to settings, and I can't fix it by disabling it because it doesn't even show me the app as an option too. Quite frankly I'm pissed; because this artical is the closest I got to an answer.

    • Samsung S5 phone
      Constant issue now, all of a sudden, preventing use of FB messenger, Messages, chat apps, everything. Even a couple of games that worked flawlessly for months.
      Now, permission requests popping up allover the place, and NO apps able to get permissons answered due to the ever present Overlay detector problem, with no resolution.
      I couldn't care less if something else has an overlay, JUST DO IT ANYWAY.

  • Moto G4 4th gen, Android 6.0.1.

    I disabled the overlay for all apps and still had the problem. Then I decided to uninstall CleanMaster. That appears to have fixed the problem.

  • Nothing worked for me, except using "Install Button Unblocker" application...

  • I just turned my phone off and then back on, it clears the memory that ay, and it now works

  • Great Help! it fixed my phone. Thanks a lot! Kudos!

  • Okay, I've been struggling with this for two weeks. I tried everything else on this thread and nothing worked. I have a Samsung S5 and this is what I did:

    <Settings><Application Manager>tap on whatever app the "screen overlay popup" message said was giving you grief about (mine was my gallery, among a few others)<Gallery><Permissions>Turn on the permissions that the message was warning you about (I did all of them just to be safe).

  • Best solution is to leave the app, go to settings, Apps, find the app that you want to give permission and enable it thru the permission settings.
    Than force close the app and open it again.
    It always works for me.

  • I've disabled everything and it is not resolved, what do I do? Phone: Samsung Galaxy S7, Android Version: 6.0.1

  • How do i disable those apps?

    • you should click on each app on the draw over the apps and turn them off manually. works for my phone.

  • Receiving a "turn off/on screen overlay" message when youclick on an app? Even after you gave it permission!?
    DO NOT FACTORY RESET YOUR PHONE!!

    Go to SETTINGS >BACKUP and RESET> RESET SETTINGS
    *your phone will restart and wala!* it worked for my NOTE 5!! I didn't Uninstall any of my apps, Didn't have to turn any of them off, didn't lose any media. Nothing.. see if this works for your phone

    • Doesnt fucking work, also you have to put back in all the customized settings you had.

    • This process worked everyone but it resets everything wallpaper theme etc. But then u can apply permissions easy and no more hassle. Thanks Jasmine 🤗

  • I've disabled everything and the problem still is showing up, what do I do? (Application that is showing the problem: MAME4droid (0.139u1), Phone Model: Samsung Galaxy J7, Android Version: 6.0.1)

  • I am going through the same hardship as most of the people here. I cant send or read messages, watch videos, use my apps..the setting overlay pops up..ive tried everything and it still does not work..i even went to the Verizon store and they couldn't figure it out..i feel like throwing the phone at a wall or something..it is so frustrating.

  • Twilight was the cause of my problem. Thank you so much.

  • bluelight filter was my problem

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