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3 min read 354 Shares 368 comments

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.

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  • No worse solution i found yet!

  • No this hasn't help I've done all the above I've switched everything off then it tell me to give permission for storage I click on permission for storage and it tells me screen over lay detected all I want to do is access word to read an attachment

  • I suddenly started having this problem today on my LG Stylo.
    Now i can't install a new app and get it to run without being told to turn it off.
    I also can't use some current apps as well.

    I've shut off permissions for all the apps listed including system ones.

    No help. Same message pops up

    Even went into safe mode and tried.
    Nothing.

    Really frustrated!

  • The fix for me was uninstalling FileManager HD.
    Motorola Moto x pure edition 2015

  • Still facing the same problem in Motorola phone even after following the steps. Kindly help. It's an emergency

  • Seems like an error with the sharing bit, not screen overlay. If you go to the sharing app (in my case it's google drive) and try to upload the file directly, it doesn't show that error.

  • "If there’s no obvious cause, disable everything", thank you ❤ that was it! Great work thank you very much.

  • I did everything step by step. And I'm still getting the same damn error message. it's bad enough now that it won't even let me save a picture

    • Uhm, I don't know if this would help but when you're on "draw over apps" the top right corner where the settings are (three vertical dots) it might say "show system" that would mean your system is hidden so therefore you didn't disable all apps, so show your system , and follow the steps given.

  • mhel 1 week ago Link to comment

    i was having the same problems on my new samsung galaxy A7 2017 , i have done disabling all of them and even uninstalling facebook messenger and whatsapp but still getting that error 'screen overlay " problem. what should i do now , please help. i cant attach a pic on facebook messenger or go live because of that "screen overlay" problem.

  • very helpful fixed my problem

  • I follow the steps but still facing an issue please help me i have Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Model# SM-A500F and i had updated 08/02/2017 before updating Marshmallo 6.0.1 version i used lollipop 5.0 something version no not sure it was working fine but after updating this version my is useless for me i am requesting you to please advise me how do sort out this issue or how do i revert back on old OS before releasing Marshmallo 6.0.1

    One more thing which is very important for your customers that if the any new release have some bugs please do not uploaded on cloud because if some one have any resources without phone so he will be in big problem same as me.

    look forward to receive your help full response.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Sajjas

  • The above steps did not work for me on the ZTE Grand X4. Solved the issue by uninstalling DU Battery Saver. No longer getting the error message now.

  • Ahamed 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    Please how to fix over lay screen in Sony Xperia c5 with picture.... Please please

  • Hey every one. Just restart your mobile device . I had trouble while fixing this damn error . I followed above steps but no success until i restarted my device.

  • Tutorial with samsung galaxy s5 neo?

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