Why does Settings.canDrawOverlays() method in Android 8 returns "false" when user grants permission to draw overlays and returns back to the app?

I'm developing the MDM app for parents to control children's devices and it uses permission SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW to display warnings on device if forbidden action has performed. On devices with SDK 23+ (Android 6.0) during installation the app checks the permission using this method:


and if this method returns false the app opens system dialog where user can grant the permission:

Intent intent = new Intent(Settings.ACTION_MANAGE_OVERLAY_PERMISSION,
                    Uri.parse("package:" + getPackageName()));
startActivityForResult(intent, REQUEST_CODE);

But on device with SDK 26 (Android 8.0), when user has successfully granted permission and returned to the app by pressing back button, method canDrawOverlays() still returns false, until user doesn't close the app and starts it again or just chooses it in the recent apps dialog. I tested it on latest version of virtual device with Android 8 in Android Studio because I didn't have real device.

I've done a little research and additionally check the permission with AppOpsManager:

AppOpsManager appOpsMgr = (AppOpsManager) getSystemService(Context.APP_OPS_SERVICE);
int mode = appOpsMgr.checkOpNoThrow("android:system_alert_window", android.os.Process.myUid(), getPackageName());
Log.d(TAG, "android:system_alert_window: mode=" + mode);

And so:

  • when the application does not have this permission, the mode is "2" (MODE_ERRORED) (canDrawOverlays() returns false) when the user
  • granted permission and returned to the application, the mode is "1" (MODE_IGNORED) (canDrawOverlays() returns false)
  • and if you now restart the app, the mode is "0" (MODE_ALLOWED) (canDrawOverlays() returns true)

Please, can anyone explain this behavior to me? Can I rely on mode == 1 of operation "android:system_alert_window" and assume that the user has granted permission?


  • I've found this problems with checkOp too. In my case I have the flow which allows to redirect to settings only when the permission is not set. And the AppOps is set only when redirecting to settings.

    Assuming that AppOps callback is called only when something is changed and there is only one switch, which can be changed. That means, if callback is called, user has to grant the permission.

                    (AppOpsManager.OPSTR_SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW.equals(op) && 
                         packageName.equals(mContext.getPackageName()))) {
        // proceed to back to your app

    After the app is restored, checking with canDrawOverlays() starts worked for me. For sure I restart the app and check if permission is granted via standard way.

    It's definitely not a perfect solution, but it should work, till we know more about this from Google.

    EDIT: I asked google:

    EDIT 2: Google fixes this. But it seem that the Android O version will be affected still.