MIUI continues to be one of the most popular Android skins around, with over 400 million users around the world. Xiaomi being the number one handset manufacturer in India means there are over 100 million MIUI users in India alone, and in recent years the Chinese manufacturer made decent strides in optimizing the skin for a global audience.
MIUI 11 was introduced back in October 2019, and just six months later Xiaomi is rolling out MIUI 12. The update is now live in China and will be making its way to the global MIUI build starting May 19. Even though it has just been six months from the release of MIUI 11, Xiaomi was able to add a host of new features to MIUI 12 to make it stand out. It’s clear from using the ROM that Xiaomi focused its attention on optimization and tweaking the overall look of the UI. As a result, animations are smoother, visual elements are more modern, and the interface as a whole looks much more cohesive.
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I flashed the MIUI China ROM on my Mi Mix 3 to test out the new features on offer. Because the build is limited to the Chinese market, there are a few settings that may not translate over to the global build. That said, it does provide a decent look at all the new features, so without further ado let’s take a look at everything that’s new in MIUI 12.
Xiaomi caught a lot of flak for collecting browser data even in incognito mode, and the manufacturer is now rolling out a toggle within its browser to let users opt out of data collection. Alongside the change, MIUI itself is getting a host of much-needed privacy and security fixes that make it easier to see what apps have access to permissions.
The privacy section has two tabs: Stats and Manage. Stats gives you an easy overview of all the apps that accessed key permissions for that day, and these include location data, contacts, call history, record audio, and storage. You can also hit the All apps button to get a detailed look at all the apps that you opened, or those that were allowed to autostart in the background. The Manage tab gives you a breakdown of all apps that have access to particular permission.
The feature offers a comprehensive account of all app behavior on your phone, and is a fantastic way to see just how many apps accessed key permissions. As always, you get granular access when it comes to allowing permission access to individual apps, and you can also set up alerts so that whenever an app accesses your location, takes a photo, or records audio, you’ll get a notification in the status bar.
Xiaomi is also adding secure sharing options for photos, with the ability to automatically remove location and metadata from images. There’s also a “Secure sharing” watermark that shows up when you share photos on WeChat without metadata. It’s likely this particular feature won’t show up in the global builds.
The new privacy tools go a long way in determining just how many apps have access to permissions on your phone. This is a big change, and it’s great to see Xiaomi giving users granular control over these features.