What Does Display Over Other Apps Mean

What Does Display Over Other Apps Mean

If you have been using apps such as Facebook Messenger, you may know that you can have the app display over other apps. While this can be very helpful at times, it can also prove to be problematic.

Sometimes, the app display will encounter an error and will not lower the display, blocking other apps from being accessed.

This can be quite frustrating as it contradicts what you aim to do, which is use the app display and still be able to use other apps or features.

What Does Display/Draw Over Other Apps Mean

An app display is also known as a screen overlay; A screen overlay is a part of an app that displays over other apps, such as the chat heads in Facebook Messenger. If you receive a screen overlay error because an app is blocking part of another app on your screen, you can turn off this permission.

When an app asks for permission to display overlays, the user will be sent to the general ‘Display over other apps’ permission list, so they’ll have to find the app in the list and select it there.

Not a big deal, but it does add a bit of friction that may prevent users from blindly giving malware access to overlays. Drawing over other apps is a lot like a screen filter in the way that it is not in the foreground.

The app being used with the “drawing over other apps” feature will float on either side of your phone’s screen, and you should be able to move it around by holding your finger on the icon and dragging it where you would like it.

Using the Android feature known as “Draw over other apps,” in which an image or dialog box appears on top of anything else that might be on your device’s screen. The “chat heads” used by Facebook Messenger are one example of how this works.

Google routinely grants apps the right to draw over other apps if they request it. While this can be a very useful feature, it can also possibly interfere with other apps, as some apps will not allow it due to privacy and security protocols.

If you are planning on using this feature, keep this in mind. Luckily, you can disable this feature rather easily and when it is disabled, it is indeed disabled.

Now, if you are looking to utilize this app feature and use it for YouTube videos, Picture-in-picture (PiP) allows you to watch YouTube videos while using other apps on your mobile device.

Step 1. To turn on picture-in-picture:

Step 2. Go to your Android settings. Apps & notifications > Advanced > Special app access > Picture-in-picture.

Step 3. Tap YouTube.

Step 4. To turn on, tap Allow picture-in-picture

This will enable PiP (Picture in Picture), allowing you to continue watching that crafty YouTube video while you are looking at the price of tools to do it properly.

This can prove to be quite useful; this can really speed things up and provide you with the ultimate viewing experience by allowing you to carry out other online tasks and app actions while you are doing something else.

This may be what you are looking for and maybe not; as everyone has different comfort levels of allowing permissions and access to their mobile device, some may like to ride the line a little bit; essentially running the risk for the buzz.

Some folks simply do not care who may see and have access to their personal information and some like to know they are absolutely secure and protected against anything the app or internet has to throw at them.

So, maybe this app feature is for you and maybe not; just remember, if you use the app feature you are essentially trading security for practicality, which, as stated, is a different point of view for everyone.

Just be sure you are taking the proper steps to protect yourself, your identity and sensitive information while using your mobile device, as sometimes it can seem like it is a never-ending pool of uncertainty when working with a vast amount of applications (Apps) that are out there for your use.

However, if you are smart and have a pinch of common sense, you can navigate this large pool of apps and find the ones that are safe and offer what you are looking for.

So just remember the permission part when working with apps and their features, even when in a rush; it is worth looking over the permissions and access granted section of said app, to be sure you know what you are getting and what you are signing up for.

Should I Disable Display Over Other Apps

Now, as stated the Android “Display Over Other Apps” feature can be a very useful feature; for example, if you are on the phone with a friend trying to find a good place to get pizza nearby, you can put them on speaker and switch over to your browser or Google Maps and find a pizza place while talking with your friend; the call is displayed usually in the upper right side of the screen (which you can move).

This is definitely when it can be very helpful, however, there are occasions when this feature may have an error or glitch, causing the bubble to either not go away or will not move, which can be quite annoying and problematic.

As to whether or not you should disable this feature is entirely up to you. If you utilize the feature regularly, then it might be good to keep it. If you do not use it often and have encountered issues with it before then you may want to disable it, as if it is not useful, then why have it. If you do wish to disable the “Display Over Other Apps” feature, you can do it rather easily just follow these steps.

Step 1. Go to Settings on your Android devices.

Step 2. Tap Apps & notifications.

Step 3. Tap Advanced.

Step 4. Tap Special App Access.

Step 5. Tap Show above other apps.

Step 6. Tap The app you want to be disabled.

Step 7. Turn off “Allow display over other apps”.

This will disable the “Display Over Other Apps” feature for all of the app’s you have done this for. While this “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature can be helpful, it can be better to do without it; as it can bring about problems with other apps.

This feature is also under what is called “IAM” Android’s (Installed Application Method) which allows applications (Apps) to silently interact with other programs on a device.

They use two methods to retrieve various kinds of information related to installed apps, neither of which is classified by Google as a sensitive “API”. API stands for (Application Programming Interface).

In the context of APIs, the word Application refers to any software with a distinct function. Interface can be thought of as a contract of service between two applications. This contract defines how the two communicate with each other using requests and responses.

So, while Google does not classify it as “sensitive”, you just might and that is your choice. If you do not want this feature to be active, that is understandable for your security and privacy.

Is Display Over Other Apps Safe

All too often we will hand out permissions to apps without a second thought, sometimes it can be since we just really need to use that app right away or we simply do not find it necessary.

However, these permissions can become problematic or even too invasive for comfort. Now, when you are using the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature, something to know is that the app that is using the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” can see everything you are doing on the other app, as when you allow an app to draw over other apps; it can interfere with other apps.

This allows it to see anything you are doing on your phone, it can also see what you are typing and can even record a video.

Basically, you need to be careful what apps you give permission to use the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature and what you give permission for, as these fine lines could cross a line with your privacy.

This feature being a “IAM” (Installed Application Method), meaning that apps can silently interact with programs on a device; can also mean that this happening without your permission or notification.

As discussed in the last segment; Google does not classify this as a sensitive “API” (Application Programming Interface); however, it is up to you if you want this on your Android device.

It is possible for the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature to expose you to hackers and keep in mind that if they see all that you are doing, typing, and viewing; this means that it could possibly expose your contacts, billing information, savings info, sensitive info, app habits, and account passwords.

Practicing and making a habit of securing your device and all your online activities is always good. You may think that a VPN might help you with this invasive feature, however, it is unclear if this can work.

Even with a VPN creating an encrypted and secure private network this may not be able to cover a “IAM” (Installed Application Method) as even though it can be enabled and disabled it is kind of a built in function.

If you do disable it; it really is disabled. It is very understandable that you would the most secure option to use your mobile device and it’s apps.

How to Turn Off Display Over Other Apps

Now, if you do not want the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” to be enabled, luckily this is a relatively easy fix; just follow these steps and the feature will be disabled.

Step 1. On your device, go to Settings.

Step 2. Select “Apps and notifications”. Then select “Special app access”.

Step 3. Turn off permission for apps to display over other apps. Step 4. Exit any screen recording apps and screen filter apps. Step 5. Restart your device.

This will disable the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature and grant you the privacy you deserve. In turn, giving you more security and comfort when using applications (Apps) on your Android device. With this proving to be a more invasive feature than one would think, you have probably made the right decision not to use it.

It is a useful feature. However, there are many attributes that can become troublesome and it is understandable not wanting to be watched with your app activities as there is plenty of private content such as contacts, billing info and account passwords.

All things you do not want getting into the wrong hands because as useful as the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature is, it can, unfortunately, be useful to hackers as well. Which is a situation nobody wants.

Display Over Other Apps Not Available

If you are having problems with the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature not working or just giving you an error detection. The app can sometimes bring this on you are trying to “Draw / Display”

over as some apps will not allow this action due to security and privacy reasons, however it is also possible that you may not have the feature active.

If you see a ‘Screen overlay detected’ error, it’s caused by conflict between a running app and a newly installed app requesting permission to display info on multiple screens (e.g., messengers, alerts, battery status, etc.).

There is also the case when your Android phone may turn off the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature since it may slow down your phone’s performance. This can also be triggered if you are low on battery and your phone will not allow it in order to save battery life.

On that note of your phone not allowing it Android 10 Go Edition doesn’t allow “Draw Over Other Apps” permission for apps that didn’t have it already enabled in previous versions.

If you are wondering how to turn on this feature, luckily, it is simple and relatively easy. Just follow these steps to enable the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature.

Step 1. Open Settings on your device either from the notification panel or Home.

Step 2. Under Settings tap on ‘Apps & notifications’.

Step 3. Now tap on ‘Advanced’ under ‘Apps & notifications’.

Step 4. Under the ‘Advanced’ section tap on ‘Special app access’.

Step 5. Next, move on to ‘Display over other apps’. and switch it over to enable.

If you are using a Android 10 and want to utilize this feature, you can simply by following these steps.

Step 1. Open the Settings app.

Step 2. Scroll down and tap on Apps.

Step 3. Tap on the gear icon next to the app you want to modify permissions for.

Step 4. Scroll down and toggle on the Show system permissions option.

Step 5. You should now see a list of all permissions that the app has access to.

Here you will find the option to enable the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps”, This will enable the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature and you will be able to utilize it.

Giving you the freedom to use the “Display Over Other Apps” feature for example, look something up on your browser while talking to a friend over the phone. As stated before, this is a highly useful feature that can be overlooked, some do not want it for privacy reasons.

However, it can change the way and the capacity of how you use your phone, it can definitely come in handy when you are trying to complete multiple tasks at once on your mobile device.

When considering if you should utilize this feature, consider what is practical and useful and what it will cost you privacy-wise. As stated before, when using this feature, it can see everything you are doing, of course also anything you are typing and can even record video.

So, if this does not sound like something you would like; than do not use the feature, as being without it is not so bad. One would think that a VPN (Virtual Private Network) might be a good way to mask yourself while using the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature, and while it is always good to use a VPN; it is unclear whether or not this would hide what you are doing from the “IAM” (Installed Application Method) of the “Draw / Display Over Other Apps” feature.

Being that VPN establishes a secure, encrypted connection between your device and the internet, providing a private tunnel for your data and communications while you use public networks; it is possible it might work. However, it is unlikely.

In the future, just be careful of what permissions you are willing to give to an app or even a feature, as it could be more than you bargained for. We hope there was some helpful information to be found in this article.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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