Xiaomi's decision to introduce ads in the UI made MIUI 10 and 11

With MIUI 12.5, Xiaomi made me like its software again

MIUI 12.5 doesn't introduce groundbreaking features — it instead fixes long-standing issues.

Although Xiaomi now makes some of the best Android phones, it started with MIUI, it provides a software interface with a design inspired by iOS but with several unique additions, a powerful theming engine, and useful pre-installed apps. The first time I used MIUI in 2013 was on the Nexus 4; The MIUI 5 was very different from the default Jelly Bean interface, which had a wonderful level of customization (for the time being), permission management, live icons, a music player that was better than what you get on most phones, and powerful security features.

Of course, Xiaomi was already making phones at the moment, but they were limited to her home market. MIUI allowed Xiaomi to determine its interest in its software interface outside of China, and the brand quickly gained a good user base, paving the way for its entry into the Indian market, where it launched its first phone - the MI3 - back in 2014.

With MIUI 12.5, Xiaomi made me like its software again
Xiaomi's decision to introduce ads in the UI made MIUI 10 and 11 nearly unusable.

MIUI has gone through many changes in the last seven years. MIUI 6 has introduced a new UI with bright colors and notification management updates. MIUI 7 came with better customizability and more optimized UI and had a data-saver mode that works system-wide. MIUI 8 has introduced dual apps, video editors for galleries, new notification panels and spam call protection.

Xiaomi's decision to introduce ads in UI has made MIUI 10 and 11 almost unusable.

Xiaomi has further refined the notification panel with MIUI 9, added new editing features to the gallery to remove background elements, introduced several under-hood optimizations and MI video. MIUI 10 introduced some of the features that still exist today: round settings for quick settings tiles and a brightness slider, vertical recent menus with a card-based UI, and picture-in-picture mode. MIUI 11 has introduced a system-wide dark mode, AOD, cleaner design with modern icons, and a new battery-saving mode.

Features added year after year mean that the interface swelled during the introduction of MIUI 10. Xiaomi has a limit on its hardware margins এ which is why its phones are so affordable so it turned into ads between MIUI and pre-installed apps as a way to maximize profits from its phones, keeping MIUI 10 far from enjoyable. That pattern continued with MIUI 11; The Redmi Note Pro in particular had more bloatware than any other phone I used, and the constant ads caused a stir among users in India and other Asian markets, where Xiaomi created an ad-based model for MIUI.

Xiaomi wanted to amend with MIUI12 last year. It was a big update for Xiaomi, the brand has a clean design with privacy and security in mind, an app drawer for the first time, Google's defined navigation gestures, cleaner settings page, floating windows, and fun new animations across the interface. But most importantly, there was significantly less bloatware out of the box and Xiaomi removed the ads from the UI.

The change to MIUI 12 means that the Mi 11 was the first Xiaomi phone I used in three years where the software had no flaws. This applies to budget-centric Redmi Note 10 series as well as Redmi series entry-level devices. Xiaomi has built MIUI behind the community feedback, and the brand doesn’t use it as much as it does with its users, it has been able to do so in this case.

The ability to delete system apps in MIUI 12.5 is a big step.

MIUI 12.5 Continuation of MIUI 12; It will not blend user-facing features, Xiaomi is focusing on UI optimization instead. Of course, this isn’t the most exciting MIUI update in history, but it did introduce a feature I’ve been waiting for a long time: Uninstall system apps. Excluding the seven "core" apps that are critical of Xiaomi, you can uninstall each app in MIUI 12.5.

This is a big deal for Xiaomi because traditionally, Chinese manufacturers have focused on its software-based services as drivers for revenue other than hardware sales. But with MIUI 12.5, you can disable Mi Music and Mi Video, and uninstall almost every Xiaomi service, including notes, weather, scanners, compasses, screen recorders, and more. The ability to do this means you can set up MIUI without any bloatware, and I'd like to follow in the footsteps of other manufacturers - especially Samsung.

Other than that, MIUI 12.5 has an under-the-hood change that uses an interface that makes it much more enjoyable. It is optimized for low memory and resource usage, and generally feels much more responsive on devices with 120Hz panels. But the biggest deal here is that Xiaomi has fixed a number of chronic bugs in MIUI. Every Xiaomi phone I've used for the last six years had a annoying memory management problem where I couldn't get push notifications from my mail client until I set it to auto start. With MIUI 12.5, I didn't have to do that; I haven't seen any problems with push notifications for Newton Mail, Slack, or any other service.

I use Xiaomi phones several months a year; With the exception of a few weeks of testing other phones, the Mi 11 Ultra was my go-to phone for the better part of the last four months. Xiaomi had 150 million users worldwide for MIUI 7 in 2015, but that number rose to 400 million when MIUI 12 debuted last year.

MIUI has clearly focused on Chinese users for a large part of its journey, but in recent years, Xiaomi has made efforts to make the interface delicious to a global audience. MIUI 12.5 reinforces this idea, and with Android 12 on the horizon, I'm excited to see the direction Xiaomi takes with MIUI.

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