Android: Allow or Disallow Apps to Display Over Other Apps

Since the last Cortado update, MDM admins can globally allow or disallow content overlay on other apps for fully managed Android devices.

Android: Display over other apps disallowed
Display over other apps: Users of fully managed Android devices can view the status of this policy directly in the Cortado app.

On Android, it has long been possible for app windows to display over other currently-active apps to show the user content. It is probably best known when displaying Google Maps or a YouTube window while apps remain visible in the background. But other apps also make use of this feature and display notifications, as well as video and music apps playing in the foreground.

Allow or Block Apps to Display Over Other Apps via MDM 

With the latest Cortado update, MDM administrators now have the option to globally control the overlaying of apps. You can use the option “Allow apps to display over other apps” in the Android Policy Configuration to do so. 

Android policy: Display over other apps
The “Allow apps to display over other apps” feature is found in the Cortado Administration Portal in the policy settings for fully managed Android devices.

The new policy setting is enabled by default. However, since it results in security-relevant data being displayed, apps that should be allowed to display over other apps still need to be explicitly enabled on the device to use the feature. This is recommended, for example, for apps that need this permission for essential functions, such as the phonebook app, which uses the feature to warn about incoming spam calls.

Disabling apps to display over other apps can make sense as well, for example, to avoid important alerts being covered or modified by apps displayed in the foreground, or to avoid an entry, possibly a password, ending up in an area that is not intended for it. 

Kiosk Mode: A Special Case

Setting up policies for the Android kiosk mode is a particular case. Here, unlike other policy templates, by default, all apps are prohibited from displaying over other apps. This is a default setting that makes perfect sense for most kiosk use cases. Of course, you can also allow displaying over other apps in kiosk mode, but enabling this policy setting, in this case, should be carefully considered. 

You can find detailed instructions in our Support Center:
How to manage the “Display over other apps” policy on fully managed Android devices.

If you have any questions on how MDM can be best used in your organization, our team of experts is on hand to answer any of your questions. Simply contact us here.