How to Fix Screen Overlay Detected Error

App permission issues can cause this problem

What to Know

  • Go to Settings > Apps & Notifications. In Advanced options, select Special app access > Display over other apps.
  • Select the app suspected of causing the issue and toggle to disable its ability to draw over other apps.

The Screen Overlay Detected error can be a frustrating thing to encounter. It often appears when you're about to dive into a new app or make a purchase at a store. Fortunately, getting around it is easy. Learn how to fix the error using any device with Android 10 or later.

How to Fix a Screen Overlay Detected Error

To bypass the Screen Overlay Detected error, disable the draw overlay function of the app getting in the way. You can reenable it later if you wish or leave the function off permanently to hopefully avoid this problem in the future. Here's how to do it:

  1. Open Settings > Apps & Notifications.

  2. Open the Advanced options and select Special app access.

  3. Select Display over other apps.

    Apps & notifications settings showing path to Display over other apps
  4. If you know which app is causing the screen overlay error, select that application and use the toggle to disable its ability to draw over other apps. If you're not sure which app is causing the issue, you may need to experiment.

Some commonly problematic applications noted to cause the Screen Overlay Detected error include Facebook Messenger, ES File Explorer, and Twilight, but there are likely others as well.

What Is the Screen Overlay Detected Error?

The Screen Overlay Detected error usually appears as a pop-up that reads: "To change this permission setting, you first have to turn off the screen overlay from Settings > Apps."

Although it provides you with a quick link to your device's settings and some basic instructions on how to fix it, the solution to this problem isn't immediately apparent, nor does it give you much detail on why it's blocking you in the first place.

Screen overlays are a function used by applications to draw over other apps, which allows them to continue operating even if you have another app open. Think Facebook Messenger's chat heads, which can pop up when you're doing something else to let you know you received a message.

The function could be used maliciously to hide information from a user, tricking them into agreeing to, or paying for, something they otherwise wouldn't. The error message appears to ensure screen overlay is turned off before making important decisions on your device.

Which Devices Are Affected by Screen Overlay Detected Errors?

Any device that supports screen overlays is susceptible to the Screen Overlay Detected error. Samsung and Lenovo devices commonly encounter it because they're popular, but any Android device has an equal chance of running into the problem.

This error has reportedly appeared since at least Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. How it appears and how it's fixed has changed over the years. Google introduced a more streamlined system settings menu with Android 8.0 Oreo, making the problem easier to counter.

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