Update: May 19, 2020 (8:35AM ET): Xiaomi previously detailed MIUI 12 in China earlier this month, and the firm has now unveiled the new Android skin on a global stage.
The Chinese and global MIUI 12 skins are pretty much identical (check out the original article below), featuring dark mode 2.0, Super Wallpapers, floating app windows, an app drawer, improved health tracking, and a variety of privacy features.
Other MIUI 12 features announced by Xiaomi at the event include improved casting capabilities (such as screen-off casting and hiding private content), and an ultra power saving mode that only offers basic functions (SMS, calls, network). Xiaomi says the latter feature is able to make a phone on 5% last up to five hours rather than one hour by default.
Xiaomi confirmed that MIUI 12 will come to a variety of devices from the end of June — you can check out all the compatible devices in the screenshot above. Furthermore, the company said beta testing will be available from next week, adding that you can apply via the Mi Community forum or social media.
Original article, April 27, 2020 (4:06 AM ET): Xiaomi has announced a new version of its Android skin MIUI. Succeeding MIUI 11, the latest MIUI 12 software will bring a number of UI and visual improvements to eligible Xiaomi phones. It also gets new features such as a revamped dark mode, improved privacy and security tools, new animations, new wallpapers, and much more.
At its MIUI 12 reveal event, Xiaomi also noted that MIUI now has 310 million monthly active users and that the latest version is the first mobile operating system that has passed TÜV Rheinland’s “Android System Enhanced Privacy Protection Test.”
Let’s break down all the new features of MIUI 12 along with details about phones eligible to receive the update.
MIUI 12 features
Dark Mode 2.0
The new Dark Mode 2.0 on MIUI 12 will bring wallpaper dimming to Xiaomi phones. The feature will work in tandem with the time of day and will gradually dim the wallpaper as daylight changes to night time.
Xiaomi is also tweaking the way text is displayed as users switch between light and dark modes. In MIUI 12, the phone will automatically adjust the weight and boldness of the font to reduce glare when the dark mode is turned on. Font contrast will also be adjusted depending on the user’s ambient environment. This should vastly improve legibility of text in low-lit conditions.
Sensory Visual Design
In MIUI12, Xiaomi has visualized the core system information, allowing you to see the status of the system at a glance. Xiaomi is calling this the new “Sensory Visual Design.” What this basically means is that now when you visit the Settings page on your phone or check out things like storage availability, you will see the system information presented in the form of graphs and visual diagrams, making it easier to understand and consume. You can see examples of Xiaomi’s new design in the images above.
Xiaomi has also introduced “Super Wallpapers” with MIUI 12. The company has created high-precision animated 3D models of Mars and Earth based on available space exploration data from NASA. You will be able to set these Super Wallpapers on both your locked and unlocked phone screens. When the dark mode is turned on, the planet chosen by you for the wallpaper will also enter night time, thereby enhancing your visual experience.
— Xiaomishka (@xiaomishka) April 27, 2020
Xiaomi has focused a lot on visual redesign when it comes to MIUI 12. The new skin will bring realistic weather animations and show real-time weather changes displayed in the form of a time-lapse movie on your screen.
The animation of app icons also gets a refresh. App icons will now generate real-time feedback based on your gestures. Xiaomi says changes in gesture direction and speed will cause application icons to react differently.
For instance, when you delete an application, the ripple animation will also affect the surrounding app icons.
In other areas, you’ll notice new animations for screen rotation, buttons, charging, opening and closing apps, and more.
— BEE 008 Tech #StayHome (@BEE008Tech) April 27, 2020
MIUI 12 also brings some new gestures to your phones. For instance, you will be able to swipe down on the notifications panel to interact with a notification without having to abandon what you’re doing. You can also slide out the notification panel to expand it into a small window, which you can drag to the side for a split-screen effect.
With MIUI 12, Xiaomi users will also be able to record activities like walking, running, cycling, and climbing stairs, by just keeping their phones in their pockets. Xiaomi says its uses a self-developed “AI motion behavior perception algorithm” to record accurate health data and also save power at the same time.
Xiaomi also wants you to sleep with your phone on your pillow. MIUI 12 will bring sleep tracking that works by placing your phone on your pillow while you sleep. This, the company claims, can help track when you went to bed, how long you slept, how deep you slept, and whether you has dreams or snored.
Xiaomi has been training its AI assistant — Xiao AI — to answer calls for users since last year. It’s similar to Google’s Call Screening feature which was introduced with the Pixel 3.
Xiaomi has now revealed that after half a year of testing, the AI phone assistant has answered 4 million calls for closed beta users. With MIUI 12, Xiaomi has officially upgraded the AI phone assistant to a feature called “AI Calling.” With it, users will be able to customize the language in which they want their calls to be answered. They will also be able to switch between automatic or manual call answering. However, it’s unclear right now if the feature will roll out to users outside of China.
MIUI 12 also brings enhanced privacy features to Xiaomi phones. For instance, you can now choose to grant permissions to apps only once or only while you’re using them. Permissions will be revoked once you’re done using an app. For apps that don’t clarify the use of permissions on your phone, the “Always Allow” option will not be provided.
MIUI 12 will also help users keep track of app behavior. You will be able to view a record of how an app behaves on your phone, the information it collects, the other applications it uses, etc, all in one place. You’ll also get a clear reminder on the top of your phone screens when a sensitive permission, such as your location, is being used by an app.
Another feature Xiaomi refers to as the “Mask System” provides rogue apps with blank information and a virtual identity to protect user data for five permissions including contact lists, calendar, and call records.
Photo sharing will also be safer. Xiaomi says sensitive information such as device details will be removed from image files before you share them with anyone.
MIUI 12 release date and availability
Xiaomi says that it’ll start rolling out the stable version of MIUI 12 by the end of June, 2020. Meanwhile, it’ll open the beta testing program in China today at 6AM ET.
Eligible MIUI 12 update phones
The Xiaomi and Redmi phones eligible to receive the stable MIUI 12 update starting June include the following devices:
- Mi Mix 2
- Xiaomi Mi Note 3
- Xiaomi Mi Max 3
- Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
- Xiaomi Mi 8 Youth Edition
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
- Redmi Note 8
- Redmi 6, 6A, 6 Pro
- Redmi 8, 8A
- Redmi 7, 7A
- Redmi Note 5
- Mi CC9e
We’ll update this article regularly as more MIUI 12 update details are revealed.