If you’ve owned an Android phone for a while, then you’re probably familiar with the “Screen Overlay Detected” notification. The first thing to know is that this isn’t strictly an error and is more a notification letting you know that there’s a screen overlay active – such as virtual keyboard, night lighting, floating widget and so on – which can prevent newly installed apps from getting the permissions they need to run.
Here we’ll show you how to fix and work around the “Screen Overlay Detected” error.
Why Does “Screen Overlay Detected” Appear?
The best way to get rid of this notification is to really have an understanding of what it is that causes it. Most apps you install require you to give them permission to use certain features on your phone, such as camera, contacts, phone functionality and so on.
One such permission is the ability to “Display over other apps.” Basically, use a layer over the top of whatever screen you’re on to permanently display a feature of that app, such as a blue-light filter which goes over your entire screen.
The app permissions box when you install new apps comes in the form of a pop-up, which can conflict with certain screen overlays that you may have enabled. Technically, a full-screen overlay like a night light may be “covering up” the permissions pop-up even though you can still clearly see the pop-up through the overlay.
It’s essentially a security feature, requiring you to temporarily disable the overlay to give the new app the permissions it needs to work properly. The problem is that your phone doesn’t tell you which app is causing the conflict.
As we mentioned before, the kind of apps that use screen overlays include the following:
- Floating widgets like Facebook Messenger’s Chat Heads, or the quick-access floating widget in OneNote that hangs around on the edges of your screen.
- Night light apps like Twilight
- Camera apps, scanner apps, health tracker apps, video-calling apps, and others.
How to Disable Screen Overlay Apps
If you get the “Screen Overlay Detected” message, the best thing you can do is disable your screen overlay apps one by one until you stop getting the message when you try to install new apps.
To do this, either tap “Open Settings” in the “Screen overlay detected” pop-up, or go to “Settings -> Apps notifications -> Advanced -> Special app access -> Display over other apps.” (If you’re still on Android Marshmallow, the setting will be called “Draw over other apps.”)
Here you’ll see a list of all the apps that have permission to use screen overlays. Start by disabling this feature on third-party apps one by one. So tap Facebook, for example, then tap the “Allow display over other apps” slider so it’s off.
You could just go through each third-party app and disable it to make sure the problem goes away, but if you have the time you should check to see if the issue is resolved after each app you disable. If it isn’t, then re-enable screen overlay on that app, and disable the next one until the problem is fixed.
This way, you can actually isolate which app has been causing the “Screen Overlay Detected” conflict.
The “Screen Overlay Detected” error isn’t anything serious and can be resolved with a little bit of detective work to find out what’s causing the problem. Generally, this happens much less often than it did when the pop-up first appeared with Android Marshmallow, but for those times when it does rear its head, now you know how to deal with it.