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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.

403 comments

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  • I have this problem but I am unable to find the prob app what should I do?

  • In my case, what was causing the problem was Google Photos, which had been updated this afternoon. Once I went to the PlayStore and realized it had been updated, clicked on "Uninstall" and my problem was instantly solved. Nothing else worked, not even disabling "Permit draw over other apps" for every single app did the trick. Only solution was uninstalling Google Photos.

  • Yes yes mine was being caused by DU battery but after unistalling it everything is perfect now thanks Amanda Powers

  • Dishi 2 days ago Link to comment

    I m using moto g turbo and I still have the same problem!!! I tried all your solutions but nothing works.... Due this I can't use any app.. please help me!!!

  • I still have the problem! It didn't change the issue at all! Tried it again and again...

  • You're AWESOME!! Worked like a charm! Did exactly what you said to do, which you explained PERFECTLY, and problem fixed! By the way, just as you called it, the culprit was the app that adjusted my cell phone brightness. You did good! Thank you so much! Now I can get on with my life :)

  • It worked thank you so much ,😘😘😘😘

  • ACKH 1 week ago Link to comment

    If you do not want to waste time finding out which floating app causes the displaying of the "Screen Overlay Detected" dialogue in order to temporarily disable the floating app to draw over other apps and then have to re-enable the overlay permission of the floating app after you let Android grants the required permissions of your newly installed app by selecting "ALLOW" in the permission dialogue, or the annoying "Screen Overlay Detected" dialogue still pops up every time you select "ALLOW" in the permission dialogue after you confirm all floating apps overlay permission have been disabled(this happens to my phones sometimes when I tested my app), all you need to do is to grant the required permission of your newly installed app yourself directly using the Settings app. The steps are:
    1. Open Settings App
    2. Tap on "Apps" to open the Apps page
    3. Scroll down the list of installed apps to find your newly installed app and tap on it to open the App Info page of the newly installed app. You would see "No permissions granted" under Permissions
    4. Tap on "Permission" to open the App permissions page of the newly installed app, tap on all the switches to grant all required permissions to the newly installed app.
    5. Return to your installed app, if the "Screen Overlay Detected" dialogue is still displayed, tap elsewhere (not on the dialogue) on your app screen and the dialogue would disappear, if the permission dialogue is displayed, just select "ALLOW" and it would disappear.

  • guys, when I search for "draw" I found nothing. pls help, thanks

  • I had disabled everything but the error would still pop up. I figured out it was the DU battery saver app and as soon as i unistalled it everythong worked again! this was on my samsung s6. Hopfully this helps someone else!

  • I disabled the overlay with all my apps, restarted the phone but am still get the overlay error message. I don't have any of the trouble apps mentioned (Drupe, CleanMaster, Lux and Twilight etc) and haven't installed any new apps recently. It just happened for no reason. I have also tried uninstalling a bunch of my apps. I am reluctant to reset my phone back to factory settings in case this doesn't fix the issue. I have a Motorola Moto G. Any other suggestions would be appreciated!

    • I just deleted a bunch of apps (Facebook, Messenger, What's App etc) and restarted my phone and it has fixed the issue... Finally! Hallelujah! ;-)

  • I disabled the overlay with all my apps,restarted the phone but still get the overlay error message.I have an LG G3

  • I was trying to free up space. I reset the FB app. And as such the permissions were reset too. When that happened, I had also setup OneNote, which comes with a new feature of OneNote Badge. Well that was an error in itself. SO I tried disabling and enabling App Permission for FB still the same. SO I disabled the OneNOte Badge App and it was grand. So I looked the issue up and it's actually a known error. So will have to submit an error to Microsoft as I really wanna use that feature. But the article did help in terms of Identification.

  • I tried all your suggestions and still has not resolved this issue. I have a Sumsung S5

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