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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.

323 comments

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  • Another problem app - "shutapp" (actualy task killer with buble) - uninstalation solved problem on my Samsung Note4...

  • all i wanna say it's just fuck samsung fuck galaxy fuck Android sun of bitches !

  • FIXED: All of this is fine, but when it did not work, I found the solution. Sure, I turned of all of the "draw over other apps" permissions, and still no joy. There were no Facebook bubbles. So I looked at the drop down list of notifications, and there was one or two that never disappeared. So I cleared all that I could by swiping, and I tapped the ones that would not move, and I get into their settings, and I turned them off, or turned off their permissions. And bingo, problem solved. My phone is a Motorola Moto G3 Android.

  • Have been trying to use excel 9n my galaxy s7 by screen overlay message keepsopping up even after disablING it on all other apps
    Like Facebook and messenger. Getting very frustrated. Please help

  • Thank you! Exactly the help and info I needed, none that I didn't. (pairing a Fitbit)

  • I have turned off every overlay even system ones and still get the overlay issue.

  • Hi guys I have this overlay issue after downloading messenger.
    I tried all the above steps but am still getting the message even when I turned all apps off.
    I have now been denied access to photos and video
    HELP

  • Hi there, I have a Samsung galaxy s4note, I have followed all instructions referring to the screen overlay detected, but to no avail, could you please help me with this problem

  • Have a Samsung S6 edge and the overlay issue was resolved disabling the Du battery saver and rebooting the phone

  • Steve 6 days ago Link to comment

    My problem occurred after the latest Samsung-Android update 1-2017. DU Battery saver is the problem, I uninstalled, did a restart and all is good. I have used DU Battery saver for a year without a problem so I am guessing it is related to last Samsung- Android update.
    SUBMIT

    • Same problem here. Already try above tips but still same. Uninstalled DU apps & everything back to normal. Using Samsung S5. Dont forget to enable back the permission manually if you already disable it.

    • THANK YOU thank you!!! THANK you this was driving me crazy!!! When i deleted the DU battery app ot all worked again!!

  • I did this on my s7 edge but i still got the problem
    also before i switched off all of them and now my permissions are gone
    i cant use music, my contacts on whatsapp are gone,

    • Saad, it does it to me constantly. I recommend that you go back in and turn all the overlays off then on again. Restart your phone. It had worked for me. Hope it helps

  • DU Battery Saver was the culprit for my Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge. I uninstalled it and the screen overlay detected error disappeared!

  • The app that was causing my issues was DU Battery Saver. I removed it and everything was back to normal.

  • Hi I have followed all the steps that are told above but still find the same problem with my moto xplay dont know what to do pls ping me if you find a solution for the same.

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