Earlier today, we noticed a bug report for a very strange issue with multiple user accounts on the Nexus 7. Apparently, certain applications are displaying the underlying screen - be it the wallpaper, app tray, or the Play Store (depending on where the app was launched from) - through the foreground app. But here's the kicker: it's only happening on secondary accounts. Yeah, it's confusing and strange.

There's also a Reddit thread that confirms this is happening, and it seems to only be affecting apps that call on some sort of transparency. To make sure it's not just a N7 bug, though, I grabbed the N10 to see if it suffers the same issue. Sure enough, this is definitely another Android 4.2 bug.

Screenshot_2012-11-30-11-06-00 Screenshot_2012-11-30-11-28-37

On the left is a secondary test account on the Nexus 10 running Osmos. On the right is the same screen displayed correctly on the primary account of the Nexus 7. In this circumstance it's merely a splash screen and it doesn't affect gameplay; however, there are other examples of this happening during gameplay.

There is a (kind of) solution, though: if the game is also installed on the primary account, the issue no longer occurs on any of the secondary accounts. Remove the game from the primary, and the issue returns. It's quite bizarre.

At this point, there's little explanation as to why it's reacting this way. It's just another thing to add to the growing list of Android 4.2 bugs.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • CristianoAdiutori

    Who wrote android 4.1.2!? At the time is the best rom by google.
    Or was just a miracle?

    • http://twitter.com/physicalist09 Physicalist

      It's a bug fix release. Get it?!

      • CristianoAdiutori

        I'm on 4.2.1 now.
        Better. But 4.1.2 was good.
        I Miss...

  • yo-yo-ma

    I noticed this the first night I got it, but figured it was some new design aspect of 4.2. I noticed with Osmos HD, I could see my app drawer icons while the ball/blobs moved around the screen. Kind of annoying.

    • http://profiles.google.com/davidcesarino David Sousa

      They're called "motes" :-p

    • Daniel Carr

      Yeah it is weird. I thought it was a game bug at first myself until I realised how many games were affected. Can you confirm you only saw this with a secondary account and not the owner account?

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Definitely a weird one. The photo in the bug report is hilarious: http://i.imgur.com/SwvJZ.png

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo


    • Nick Coad

      Haha that made my day. Poor Google though, they really bungled this whole 4.2 thing - combine the bugs with the shoddy and irritating device purchasing experiences and it looks like Google is having a real tough time keeping it together at the moment. Are they trying to do too much at once perhaps?

  • Yorick

    Aaah, another 4.2 problem. I don't like 4.2. Well, perhaps photosphere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000338649747 Omario Amriky

    Stop bashing Google. Android devs are people and they make mistakes. Bugs are normal and compared to all the new features 4.2 brought I could care less about them.
    Try sitting infront of a computer all day writing scripts in multiple computer languages just so some dumbass on some forum can say. "I hate 4.2, it's buggy! What was Google thinking! Android sucks!"
    I'd go Ted Bundy on that dumbass.

    • letsplaaay

      That's not even the point. That they can make mistakes because they are humans is very obvious, but what Google as a company could have done better is use a little more resources and time to thoroughly test the build before releasing.

      • tookieboy

        not gonna defend anyone, but let's take a step back, and recall. users were whiny about multiuser (or rather the lack of it) and why it's taking so long and stuff. now you have it, don't complain. if it doesn't work for you, just leave it out for awhile, ya? Everything works in the primary user account, right? So stick with that.

        • letsplaaay

          Criticizing, rather than complaining, I think there is a difference (not even using 4.2). As a person who hangs out at AP to another same kind, I think we can all agree that we people here are happier and more forgiving than general population with whatever product Google releases.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      So, by writing an objective piece that highlights a very noticeable bug in the system, we're "bashing Google?" Give me a break.

    • http://twitter.com/Twitteninja ZZ

      Threatening gratuitous violence in order to protect a faceless, multinational corporation from moderate criticism?

      Sounds reasonable to me.

    • Nick Coad

      I'm a massive Android fanboy and even I can't deny Google really dropped the ball with 4.2 and their new Nexus lineup. I can't imagine what kind of mental gymnastics one has to pull in order to put a positive or even less-than-negative spin on this.

  • http://twitter.com/Bl4ckpheniX aaron nyquist

    I think that with the limited storage on the Nexus devices it would have been wise to only require that the apps need only be installed on the primary account. Then allow the primary account holder the option to share certain applications, and folders to other users. Would save a lot of space.

    • Bojan Gutic

      That's pretty much what it does. You go to the play store from the secondary account and "install" an app. All it does is activate it on that account, it doesn't install it a second time.

  • http://twitter.com/physicalist09 Physicalist

    Stop the whining. 4.2 didn't receive a new codename, but obviously multi user support is a very big change and this bug is laugheable.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Where do you people come from?

      • UtopiaNH

        The same people the apple trolls come from apparently, internet anonymity. I think this is one situation where the whole google+ pushing people's real names and faces out there may help. (of course I say that from a pen name as well)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It's laughable, as in the results are quite hilarious, you're right about that.

  • cy_n_ic

    A couple years ago transparency was all the rage. Now its a bug :P

  • Matthew Fry

    As bad as this is, the fact that my N10 freezes CONSTANTLY is a much greater and unsettling problem.

  • Irshad Chohan

    I also faced some glitches,

    Nexus 7:
    In multi-user scenario switching from one user to another with having option of Face unlock, it fails to work and fallback to pin unlock option.

    another problem what I feel, Notification pane, in case portrait I swipe just a bit right it goes to settings option. Android should add Phone like (button in top-right corner) in case of tablet as well.

  • jlschulz098

    Whats really buggy is that anyone would actually need or use a second user

    • Nick Coad

      Some people have friends and family. Do you need a hug?

  • Daniel Carr

    Hey thanks for picking up my bug report. I've added more screenies for your enjoyment.


    • Nick Coad

      Just finished laughing at that screenshot - good work haha

  • Jav11 .

    4.2 full of bugs!

  • spunker88

    It seems like Nexus users have become the Android beta testers, by the time the OEMs get to 4.2 all the bugs will have been fixed.

  • Dom Koop

    It's probably to do with the fact that the data directory on the secondary user is not pointing to the default location but a new one which can only be found with "this.getFilesDir().getPath()" instead of the usual /data/data/com.example.blah/files/ Most devs will link to the latter ;)

    As much as I like the multi-user approach I think it is just more codework for us devs ;)

    Also the sdcard is pointing to another location as well. On the sdcard side of things it has been soft linked to a location that most apps use so it's not such a big deal.

  • http://www.parafriv.net/ Para Friv

    I think that with the limited storage on the Nexus devices it would have
    been wise to only require that the apps need only be installed on the
    primary account.
    What was Google thinking! Android sucks!"

  • Daniel Collins

    Osmos is cool. :)
    (I think it might look better transparent…)