The new operating system (OS) for Xiaomi phones, MIUI 12, has been announced, revealing the features and upgrades it will bring to phones, as well as when we might start to see it.
MIUI, a fork of Android 10 which sits over that ‘base’ OS, typically brings changes to the look of your phone’s user interface, as well as changing some of the native apps and tweaking the controls menu.
MIUI 12, which has been anticipated for some time, brings tweaks and changes based on user requests as well as some new features entirely.
So if you’ve got a Xiaomi phone, it’s possible you’ll see MIUI 12 available for download soon.
MIUI 12 release date and availability
According to Xiaomi, MIUI 12’s initial roll-out will be ‘in weeks’ from the initial launch event on May 19 – that likely means mid-June for the first recipients.
After that, phones will update to MIUI 12 on a model-by-model basis, although we haven’t been told which phones or how frequently.
It’s likely some from the recent years, such as the Xiaomi Mi 9, Redmi Note 8 series and Pocophone F1 will get the update, but it’s not clear whether older phones or some of Redmi’s super-affordable devices will get it too.
Roll-out likely also depends by region, with devices in certain countries getting it before others.
MIUI 12 features
The biggest change that MIUI 12 brings is arguably the inclusion of app drawers, as while many other Android forks have the feature, which relegates newly-downloaded apps to a separate ‘drawer’ instead of the home page, Xiaomi phones typically dump all your new apps in a line on your phone’s home.
It seems the MIUI 12 app drawer isn’t on by default, but it is an option at least, letting phone users choose which layout method they like most.
Dark Mode has received an improvement too, with it now reaching out to third-party apps as well as first-party ones. It’s not clear what happens if this third-party app doesn’t have its own dark mode, but it seems the improved mode tweaks contrast when brightness is low, which could help eye strain.
MIUI 12 brings a new ‘Ultra Battery Saving Mode’, which some phones have already, which is a more dramatic version of typical battery mode which axes more features when activated, leaving just calls, texts and network connectivity.
Another big change MIUI 12 brings is floating windows, intended for multitasking, which can be brought up over other apps. This would let you, for example, create a note in a window while browsing the web for a recipe. It’s not clear which apps can be brought up in windows, but it seems they’re easy to control.
A security improvement MIUI 12 brings is actually an improvement on MIUI 11’s security features. Currently on MIUI 11, when an app asks for location data you can choose to enable it just when you’re using the app, and in MIUI 12 this setting also works for other permissions like microphone and camera access.
Finally, MIUI 12 brings some new ‘Super Wallpapers’ of the Earth and Mars, which are effectively live wallpapers that move when you unlock the phone.