Google rolled out the first developer preview of Android P just a couple of days ago and one of the most concerning changes in the updated OS is the removal of custom overlay support. The feature, which was introduced with Android 8.0 Oreo, allowed users to install custom Substratum themes without rooting their devices. However, the much-loved feature didn’t make the cut in the first Android P developer preview.
Substratum is quite a popular app with around 1 million users and over 500,000 installs on the Play Store. Since the CM Theme Engine development ended early last year, Substratum has been the go to choice for Android users who want to completely customize their device. Now that Google has taken away Substratum support in Android P, a number of users in the community have voiced their concerns regarding the move.
That means no more rootless #Substratum. No more custom themes. It’s all gone.
— Christopher Kardas ⚡ (@Chris_Kardas) March 9, 2018
In an attempt to convice Google and bring back custom overlay support in Android P, the Substratum team has launched a Change.org petition.
The petition, titled “Google, let Android users install custom overlays again”, states:
“Google introduced Sony’s Overlay Manager Service (OMS) in Android Oreo, letting us install custom themes using the app “Substratum”, with the need of root permission. However, OMS was locked down by Adam Lesinski (Google employee), with no apparent or described reason in the March Oreo update.”
With OMS support gone, Android users won’t be able to modify overlays, even with root access, and will have to rely on custom ROMs to install overlays. If you are one of the many Substratum users and want Google to reinstate Substratum support, we urge you to sign the petition and star the feature request in Google’s issue tracker.
As of now the petition has over 2,500 supporters and the feature request has been starred by over 1,200 people. It remains to be seen whether pressure from die-hard Android fans, who have championed the customization options of the OS for so long, will actually have an affect on Google’s development plans.