Several users have brought to my attention that the clock app no longer works after a device factory reset due to a permission problem. The dreaded message appears:
Unfortunately, your device’s rom does not support a user interface for granting the overlay permission :/
These are my findings so far:
Not brand or model specific problem
When I received the first report, I uninstalled the app on my Nexus Player (Oreo) and reinstalled it and guess what: same problem. In the meantime I received reports on Sony TV and Nvidia Shield TV.
Android TV Marshmallow and higher
Yes, all trouble started with Marshmallow. 😉 I received reports on Nougat and Oreo and tested the app also on a Nexus 7 tablet (KitKat) and Pie phone. Unsurprisingly on KitKat no problem since no permissions exist yet, on Pie my phone showed a permission dialog to grant the permission (which is good, but still abnormal).
Unfortunately, I have not encountered an Android TV rom yet which provides a user interface for granting the overlay permission (it’s not in stock android TV and none of the vendors seem to care).
All reports were due to device resets, but as I already pointed out: simply uninstalling and reinstalling the clock app will exhibit the problem. Updating the app is no problem since it will preserve the previously granted permission. By taking advantage of this, I can test out a fix without impacting existing users.
I did a quick search on the interwebs but no luck so far, it’s kind of a niche topic after all. 😉 I suspect a google Play Services or Play store update is the culprit but didn’t find any news yet. If it’s part of a security fix, information will be sparse anyhow.
I see several options:
- google did a small fuckup in the play services or store (as they did with the remote not responding, deep sleeping) and might fix it (can take several months)
- google intentionally changed the way the overlay permission is granted (and no longer wants to grant it automagically)
- the permission not being granted anymore might be a side effect of some other policy change
Overlay permissions have always been tricky on android (tv), so let’s hope there is a solution possible.. (or a hack at least)