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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 ES File Explorer, 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.



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  • I'm using Mote X Play. I tried all these steps but it dint solve the problem. Is there any alternate solution?

  • Galaxy J5 Prime ES Explorer was the problem, Uninstalled and the error vanished.

  • I tried everything on my grand prime+ but still getting that problem i need help...please...

  • Motorola Turbo Droid. I removed ES Explorer. Problem fixed!!

  • same here on note 4 got rid of es explorer and solved the screen overlay permissions issue. re installed es and still working as it should

  • My phone is a Samsung A5 2017 model and I have followed the instructions, even going a far as resetting my phone and I am still getting the screen overlay message. Help this is frustrating!

    • Got the same problem on a Samsung j7. Switched off ALL "apps that can appear on top", done the one-handed keyboard setting, even tried "safe mode" as some youtube vids suggest (though safe mode seems to prevent some apps appearing). Either this is a virus, or there are hidden apps running in the background that cause the problem. This seems so fundamental to Android 6, surely there is a more comprehensive fix needed.

  • ihave no du speed booster neither ihave the es explore but the problem has persisted someone reply me please its my tecno w3

  • Thank you so my case twillight was causing the problem..thankss..( user of moto g3)

  • I have a Moto G 3rd Generation and this problem is driving me mad! I have tried all solutions and still it persists - help

    • DeroG 2 weeks ago Link to comment

      check if you have babel fonts installed on it
      force stop that app in the app settings and try again

  • Bri Fox 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    I did everything suggested and factory reset my phone and it still is doing it

  • I fixed it!I did a factory reset,problem gone

  • I have done what you asked and deactivated all my apps but i still get screen overlay detected when I try to open certain apps

  • ES Explorer was the main and only culprit. I have tried every possible things, but unable to resolve this error...At Last I uninstalled ES Explorer and and the problem gone. Thanks Everyone for writing here

  • Removed ES File Explorer instant fix. Samsung Galaxy S5 Android 6.0.1

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