Android O breaks apps like Twilight and Status that draw over the system UI


There is a number of Android apps that draw (or display content) on top of everything else on the screen. Such is the case with popular blue light dimming app Twilight, which applies a color overlay on top of other apps and the system UI, as well as status bar “replacement” tool Status, which enhances the status bar with a host of neat features. Twilight and Status are just two of the most popular examples, but there are other Android apps that also take advantage of the permission to draw over everything else on the screen.

However, with the arrival of Android O, such apps will be severely limited in functionality, if not flat-out broken, due to a change in system behavior that restricts apps from drawing over portions of the system UI. The TYPE_SYSTEM_OVERLAY window type has been replaced with TYPE_APPLICATION_OVERLAY, which allows applications to display windows and content over other applications, but not over the system interface, Android Police reports.



In the case of Twilight, this means that the app won't be able to apply its warming filter over the status bar, nav bar, lock screen, and notification shade, among other parts of Android's interface. Status, on the other hand, becomes completely useless, as the app draws exclusively over the status bar.

A Google rep has already confirmed that this is in fact Android O's intended behavior and not something caused by a bug. If no way around this is found, Status developer James Fenn says he may be forced to discontinue support for his app on newer versions of Android.

This is not something that's going away for the final release of Android O and has likely been done with security improvements in mind.

sources: Google (1) (2); James Fenn via AndroiPolice

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9 Comments

1. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

I don't think it matters much now. Most likely android O will have baked in blue light filter like most android skins already do.

2. DeDex

Posts: 121; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

True. However, Twilight's strength lies in its flexibility: you can customize the brightness, color temperature, activation times, etc. Whether or not Google will grant as much control as these apps remains to be seen.

3. vincelongman

Posts: 5732; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I hope Google gives us more options like those I hate that Night Light just suddenly turns on They should make it slowly turn on like Flux (I barely notice Flux turning on most days)

9. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

My phone with lineage os can do that, adjustable color balance, screen temperature​, automatically​ activation times..

4. vincelongman

Posts: 5732; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Its sad that apps like Twilight, Status and notification ticker apps will be broken But its important for security reasons (hence why iOS doesn't have those type of apps) Hopefully Goolge adds more options to Night Light and UI Tuner, and brings back the notification ticker as an option

5. SleeperOne

Posts: 370; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

...Please don't break my favorite launcher, please...

6. bohmcj

Posts: 12; Member since: Mar 19, 2017

This was one of the big pulls of android: the customization. Now they're trying to take it away. Good luck with that.

7. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

I see Android O messing around with certain developers and apps.

8. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 652; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Android pretty much sucks worse with every rendition since Lollipop. Android O's overlay restrictions also means no more Navbar Apps or Rounded Corner. F**K you too Google...

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