What is “Screen Overlay Detected” Error in Android and How to Fix It

Screen Overlay Detected

You’re using your Android device as usual when you suddenly get a pop-up message saying, “Screen overlay detected.” Unfortunately, not many Android users know what it is and what to do with it. The first thought one would have might be to ignore it merely, but the problem is this error can prevent you from launching specific apps, making it all the more annoying. In the article, we’ll help you get through this error by explaining what it is, what causes it, and what to do to fix it.

What is Screen Overlay?

The screen overlay is a feature in devices running on Android Marshmallow (Android 6.0) and higher, which lets apps “draw” over another app. For instance, when Facebook Messenger leaves chat heads open in the foreground even if another app, say, Chrome is currently open and running. That’s Facebook Messenger “drawing” over Chrome.

What Causes Screen Overlay Detected Error?

Screen overlay seems like a handy feature, so why does it cause issues? The problem comes in when you install and use an app that also needs permission to use the screen overlay feature. When screen overlay is already running, maybe because you have an app using it running in the background, the app needing the permission to enable screen overlay will detect that the feature is already active.

For instance, you currently have an active Facebook Messenger chat head in the foreground, and you try to run an app such as Twilight, a night mode app. You are likely to get the screen overlay detected error because both apps use screen overlay.

What Devices Are Affected?

So far, users who have reported about the error use Samsung and Motorola devices, but it is highly likely that it can also affect devices from different manufacturers. Majority of the users who reported the error were using Samsung Galaxy S5, S6, S7 Edge, J7, and J7 Prime.

What Apps Cause the Error?

Any app that requires permission to activate screen overlay can potentially cause screen overlay detected an error. These apps include Drupe, CleanMaster, and ES File Explorer, as well as night mode apps Lux and Twilight (as exampled earlier).

Step-by-Step Screen Overlay Detected Fix

When activated, display overlay can interfere with the dialogue that requests permission. So basically, fixing this error requires disabling the authorization or feature temporarily. Follow our detailed step-by-step guide below:

Step 1: Find out which apps might be using screen overlay.

On a Samsung device, do the following:

  • Open Settings > Applications > Application manager.
  • Tap More > Apps that can appear on top.

On a non-Samsung device, here are the steps:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap the magnifying glass icon found at the top-right.
  • Type in “draw.”
  • On the search result suggestions, tap Draw over other apps.

Alternatively, you may also go to Settings > Apps > Gear icon > Draw over other apps.

Step 2: Check app permissions.

Now, you have the list of apps that have been permitted to use screen overlays such as floating buttons. From the list, you need to select the problem app and temporarily disable screen overlay for it. Here are some pointers to remember to help you identify problematic apps:

  • Were you using a particular app that uses bubbles when you first got the screen overlay detected error? That app is probably the cause. Try hiding that app’s bubble or disabling the app altogether.
  • Is there an app in the list designed to change your screen’s colors or brightness? It could be the culprit.
  • Do you have CleanMaster installed? It’s been reported to cause the error, so disable it for now.
  • If you still can’t pinpoint which specific app could be causing the error, disable all the apps on the list.
  • If you’re using a Samsung device, the one-handed keyboard feature might also cause the error, so you can also try deactivating it. Go to Settings > Advanced features > One-handed operation. Turn it off.

Step 3: Try using the app/s again.

Now, try launching the app/s you have disabled in the previous step. It will request permissions again, but this time without the “Display overlay detected” error showing up.

Step 4: Re-activate screen overlay.

As you grant permissions for the apps, consider activating screen overlay only for those that you need to draw over other apps. For instance, Facebook Messenger chat heads are pretty useful, so enabling screen overlay for it might be necessary. On the other hand, CleanMaster can perform its job even without the bubble.

Step 5: Boot in Safe Mode.

If you’re still getting the screen overlay detected error, you can try managing app permissions while in safe mode, which lets you use your device without having to deal with mistakes caused by third-party apps.

TAKE NOTE: Before you boot in safe mode, take note of the app/s that are causing the error.

To boot into safe mode, do the following:

  • Press the power button.
  • Tap and hold Power off until a prompt pops up asking if you want to boot in Safe Mode.
  • Tap OK.

If that doesn’t work, try these:

  • Press the power button, then tap Power off.
  • When your device has completely shut down, press the power button again to turn it on.
  • As the logo appears, press and hold the volume down button until your device completes booting up.

You will then see “Safe Mode” at the bottom-left corner of the screen. Next thing to do is manage your device permissions.

  • Go to Settings > Apps/Applications.
  • Select the app causing screen overlay detected an error.
  • Go to Permissions.
  • Enable the permissions needed by the app.

Android devices come with a handful of useful features, but they can also cause issues as a result of some factors. To help make sure that your phone or tablet remains in excellent condition, we suggest installing Outbyte Android Care, an app specifically designed to clean out junk files, boost RAM, and extend battery life.

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