MIUI 12 Hands-on: 12 new features available added to Xiaomi’s Android OS

Xiaomi’s Android skin, MIUI, may not look or function like stock Android, but that’s what makes it one of the most popular outdoor skin. MIUI is full of useful features, sometimes much better than their Android stock counterparts. Xiaomi also adds some fun features that often encourage Google to keep up with all Android users – one can argue that full-screen swipe gestures are one of those features. In addition to the continued development and regular addition of new features to existing versions of MIUI, Xiaomi continues to bring loads of exciting new features to each additional MIUI update. Xiaomi has announced the latest version, MIUI 12, recently, and is bringing impressive development and great graphics for Mi and Redmi-brand typices. Xiaomi has introduced a few new privacy and health features.

Download the closed MIUI 12 beta built for Xiaomi and Redmi devices
Download the latest wallpapers for MIUI 12 and Super Wallpaper

While the design of the MIUI 12 components will not be available until the end of June 2020, we have been able to install the MIUI 12 China Beta ROM on the Redmi K20 Pro (or Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro, as it is known in Europe). This article contains a brief overview of some of the most exciting new features we see in MIUI 12.Before we go in and discuss the new features in MIUI 12, here is a complete changelog for the update.

MIUI 12 update full changelog

MIUI 12 Full Changelog

  • System animations
    • New: All-new physically based animation engine with advanced architecture will refresh your device’s look.
    • New: Dynamic window technology takes switching screen orientation to a new level.
  • System visuals
    • Brand new visual design works for all types of content and languages.
    • Magazine-level layouts bring important things into the spotlight and make content structure clear.
  • Privacy protection
    • New: MIUI 12 is the first Android-based mobile OS that went through the rigorous enhanced privacy protection testing.
    • New: Reset your device ID and control how it’s used based on virtual ID technology.
    • New: Grant permissions that will be used only while you’re using an app.
    • New: You can also grant permissions just once, and decide again next time a permission is required.
    • New: Restrict access to telephony to third party apps.
    • New: Return blank messages to the apps that require personal information.
    • New: Receive notifications whenever apps record audio, use camera, or access your location.
    • New: Use secure sharing to control what additional data is sent along with shared items.
    • New: Get comprehensive stats on how apps use permissions in app behavior history.
    • New: Visit privacy.miui.com to learn how MIUI protects your privacy. Optimization: Apps aren’t allowed to launch other apps in the background now.
  • AI Call Assistant
    • New: Mi AI can answer your calls now!
    • New: You can record a customized greeting that will be played to the other person during AI calls.
    • New: Customized greetings are also supported for outgoing calls.
  • Xiaomi Health
    • New: All-new Xiaomi Health gives you more options and makes your health stats more accurate.
    • New: Put your device next to you before falling asleep to analyze your sleep cycle and record talking and snoring.
    • New: You can sync data with supported wearable and smart home devices.
    • New: Xiaomi Health can remind you to stand up and move when it detects that you’ve been sitting down for too long.
    • New: The app also analyzes your stats and gives you simple health advice.
  • Control center
    • New: Swipe down from the upper right corner of your screen to open Control center.
    • New: Animated icons are a joy to look at!
  • Accessibility
    • New: Mi Ditto combines dictation and speech output, making mobile devices more convenient for people who have difficulties using conventionally designed smartphones.
  • Trips
    • New: Traffic and suggested routes to airports and train stations.
    • New: You can track your previous trips now.
    • New: Checklists for trips.
    • New: Alarms for train arrivals.
  • Mi Carrier Services
    • New: View your SIM balance and mobile data usage stats.
    • New: Save frequently used phone numbers to top up balance and buy mobile data later.
    • New: Buy SIM cards and services.
  • Messaging
    • New: Promotional messages are grouped according to their content now.
  • Status bar, Notification shade
    • New: All-new design.
  • Weather
    • New: New animations bring the weather from outside directly to your screen.
  • Settings
    • New: Security introduces new comprehensive privacy protection mechanisms.
    • New: Lite mode simplifies your device and brings essential features upfront.
  • File Manager
    • New: Use the floating shortcut to filter and sort items, as well as switch view.
  • Calendar
    • New: New layout tailored for landscape orientation is available now.
    • New: We added lots of fresh animations that will accompany your actions.
    • New: Calendar cards will remind you about important events and anniversaries.
  • Notes
    • New: You can create folders with notes now.
    • New: New dynamic backgrounds look gorgeous!
    • New: Tasks are completed with a satisfying animation now.
    • New: Checklists of subtasks make managing your agenda much simpler.
  • Security
    • New: New animations feel natural and refreshing.
    • New: Keep your home safe with smart home device alerts.
    • New: Binging your favorite shows will be more convenient with our new video toolbox.
  • Xiaomi Cloud
    • New: Shared family storage plan is available now.

Now, let’s start with the top 12 features (and 1 bonus feature) you can find in MIUI 12 ?

1. New icons, fonts and animations

An exciting first feature of MIUI 12 that wants to bring your attention to a new set of animated icons. There are subtle changes to the standard icon packages that are part of the pre-installed MIUI “Class” and “Unlimited” themes.

In MIUI 11, the animation startup application appears and disconnects the center of the screen. But in MIUI 12, the window expands the app’s output and returns to the icon when you open or exit the application. As well as windows opening and closing animations, we also see minor changes to the system icons.

The MIUI 12 also brings in an outgoing and modern rounded font that fits well with the new UI. Although the program shows “Robot” as the default font, the new and round font style is visible.

Additionally, while there are not many changes to the status mode icons, the battery icon is now very clean, and you can choose between four different ways to display the remaining battery percentage.

2. The new “Control Center” replaces the old quick settings menu

MIUI 12 brings a new Control Center, which is apparently inspired by the latest iOS models. With this version, the tiles for quick settings and notifications shade are separated. So now, when you swipe right down, the redesigned control center opens up and shows larger, rounded thumbnails compared to the slides in iOS 12 and above.

Symbols also follow a color scheme that is exactly like the iOS control center. You can enter settings by tapping the cog icon in the upper right or editing the settings menu by using the edit button. Similar to app icons, buttons for quick settings and display small images when negotiated.

The notification shade can be accessed by swiping on the screen in the upper left. Notifications from the same app are organized together and can be expanded further by swiping down the bathtub or by long pressing a notification group.

You can also work with the option to open Control Center or notifications panel by swiping down the center of the display on the top edge.

If you are not happy with the new Control Center, you can disable the feature by going to Display Settings and looking for the Status Bar under the System tab. By turning off the “Use center controller” variable, you will be able to return to the MIUI 11 notification shade, as shown in the images above.

3. Navigation gestures

MIUI 12 finally adopts Google’s full Google 10 navigation feature, which is explicitly recognized from iOS with a simple background action. This was inevitable as Google approved the installation of its full-screen body as part of the process of controlling the navigation of consciousness across the range of Android devices on the market.

While Google didn’t force manufacturers to offer their own version of navigation gestures, they clearly intended to have a standard touch set available on all Android devices. So, Xiaomi is behind that. Since the construction we are testing is from China, Google Assistant is not installed on the phone, and we cannot confirm whether the touch support is available until we inspect the worldwide construction.

4. App drawer

MIUI acquired the app drawer at the MIUI launcher on MIUI 11’s China building in November of last year. The application identifier is also native to MIUI 12 and can be used in Settings. The launcher is very similar to the POCO Launcher in terms of appearance and functionality but with no option to program and install group apps on the basis of the color of their features. While global brands do not have an app drawer on MIUI 11, we expect this feature to be available to all users around the world with MIUI 12. This is important as Xiaomi plans to expand again in markets such as Europe.

However, if users are comfortable with horizontal iOS style scrolling, you can continue to use the standard boot style as it has always been available in MIUI.

5. Live wallpapers

MIUI 12 introduces new live wallpapers inspired by outer space. Among those, there are two new wallpaper layers called “Super Wallpapers” that incorporate the background into four levels of zoom, from viewing view to the home screen. Depending on whether you choose the Earth or Mars live wallpaper as a backdrop, you can see a distant planet in a display that is always shown by the proximity to the home screen.

Increasing magnification rate on the lock screen brings you closer to the orbit of the planet. When the screen is turned on, you see a planetary view of the planet and scroll left or right on the home screen and move the background. Finally, when you insert a folder, the view zooms slightly in the face and goes back to the same height above the planet when you exit the folder.

You can choose between three different Earth Super Wallpaper locations

If you want, you can also download the latest MIUI 12 wallpapers for any MIUI 11 Android and Super Wallpapers devices.

6. Animation in Settings

Photos in MIUI 12 not only limit the home and control area but also expand the various menus within Settings. For example, there are new images to highlight battery capacity and battery usage graphs. In addition to the standard layout that shows the percentage of battery the entire time, you can now check the battery consumption per hour.

MIUI mount windows can be re-rated so you can continue working on another app in the background. To start a floating window, you can go to the Recents menu and touch the Floating windows option on the top left. Alternatively, you can also start to open the windows slowly by previewing the app in the Recents menu and then taping the image icon – or by tapping on the floating windows option in the Center Center.

Notably, we saw the first feature of Xiaomi’s Windows windows in the Calculator app launched on the MIUI 10 beta in China last year.

7. Floating windows

MIUI 12 adds floating windows with the aim of providing the same multi-window experience on the desktop. Supported apps can be opened in the form of floating windows that take up a small portion of the display and can be opened over other apps. Samsung’s UI Experience and its UI successor have supported the same feature called “Pop-up views” for many years now. The Xiaomi model, on the other hand, feels smooth and responsive, even in beta formats.

MIUI mount windows can be re-rated so you can continue working on another app in the background. To start a floating window, you can go to the Recents menu and touch the Floating windows option on the top left. Alternatively, you can also start to open the windows slowly by previewing the app in the Recents menu and then taping the image icon – or by tapping on the floating windows option in the Center Center.

Notably, we saw the first feature of Xiaomi’s Windows windows in the Calculator app launched on the MIUI 10 beta in China last year.

8. Forced black mode

Black mode forced on WhatsApp in MIUI 12
Total WhatsApp Native Darkness

MIUI 12 brings out the upgraded Black Mode which can now be used specifically for specific applications. For apps that don’t naturally support the Dark Mode or Google’s Dark theme, the new Dark Mode can change colors or compress a dark background that is usually light. This is similar to the compressed black mode we saw on some Realme devices running ColorOS 6. Above is an example that compares the new 12 Mode black to black forced on WhatsApp (with its light theme enabled) compared to the traditional WhatsApp dark theme.

9. Mi Share

The file-sharing platform, announced jointly by Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo a few months back, has been available on selected Xiaomi, OPPO, Realme, and Vivo devices for some time under different names. On Xiaomi devices, it’s called Mi Share. With the MIUI 12 update, the Mi Share interface also receives enhanced redesign.

Participation in MIUI 11
Mi Share on MIUI 12 also supports Mi Notebook sharing and RedmiBook laptops

In addition, Mi Share also allows sharing files with Mi Notebooks and RedmiBook laptops. This feature, however, can be limited in China as laptops are not available elsewhere.

10. Reminders in gallery and file management editing

MIUI 12 also brings two new features to the Gallery and File Manager applications. The first is Memories, which can be used to create collages or short videos using existing images or videos you have. With collages, you can choose a layout, add text, and edit each image individually. For short videos, you can choose from multiple templates and background scores or download more from the same menu.

To filter the menu in MIUI 11’s File Manager
To filter the menu in MIUI 12’s File Manager

Go to file manager to edit, there is a new icon in the bottom right. Tapping an icon brings up a new sorting menu that lets you organize different files and folders by name, size, date of creation, or file type. As well as filtering, you can also change the view between list and grid options. In MIUI 11, these options are available with no options and are available using the three-dot menu button on the Internal File Manager page of the File Manager.

11. Health factors

MIUI 12 is discovering new features to help you improve your health and fitness. Starting with the front, the pre-existing, built-in step is now supplemented by an automatic track, bicycle, and stair climb. In addition, there is a new sleep tracker that records the time and quality of your sleep based on the movements and sounds you make at night. It uses the microphone on the Xiaomi or Redmi smartphone to record your pulses and any sounds you can make while you are sleeping to account for REM sleep. In addition to tracking performance, the Mi Health app also tracks the number of times you stop and sends you reminders to stay if you haven’t been around for a while.

Speaking of mental health, Xiaomi has redesigned the Screen Time dashboard with new graphs for daily and weekly use. Additionally, as we saw in the mature MIUI 12 build, you can now add a custom timer that is customized with Focus Mode. These features are not yet available in global design and are being replaced by Google’s Digital Wellbeing. However, Xiaomi’s version is visually appealing – even though it’s also similar to the time feature in iOS.

12. Features of privacy

There is a lot of emphasis on MIUI 12 to install users permissions that are accessible to any application. This is always encouraging when an app requests access to a camera, microphone, or location that is displayed in large fonts and occupies about one third of the display. In addition, when starting a system application for the first time, MIUI 12 directs your attention to information that will access the application. This feature was named “Barbed Wire” by Xiaomi for its protection.

In addition, there is a “Flare” that raises an alarm every time an app tries to use a camera, microphone, or location without your permission. This feature also keeps a record every time any app uses a specific permission.

Finally, there is another feature called the Mask System, which automatically returns dummy or empty messages when any third-party system tries to access your record of messages or messages. This is done to prevent malicious applications from reading your private data.

Bonus: AI is expensive but it’s only in China

Remember the Google Assistant Calls screen? Xiaomi does the same thing with XiaoAI for its voice assistant but instead helps disabled users in verbal or non-verbal communication. The feature can be enabled from accessibility settings, and every time you make a call after that, you see the AI ​​Calling button in the middle of the display. You can change this feature with personalized computer talk.

Suggested and booked responses to MIUI 12’s AI call
Automatically generated responses to MIUI’s AI Calling

AI also records discussion and attempts to answer some questions themselves. Alternatively, you can reply and select from the suggested answer list or write your answer in the text box, and then AI will speak for the other person. You can also choose between male and female voice.

Since this feature is currently available in Mandarin, we could not verify its accuracy. In addition, XiaoAI is limited to mainland China and only supports local language, so we do not expect it to be available in other regions, but we hope that Xiaomi will develop other important regions such as India and parts of Southeast Asia.

MIUI 12: Final Thoughts

These thoughts are after one day of using the MIUI 12 closed beta ROM from China. We have selected 12 of the most interesting features though there are many new features to talk about. Due to language restrictions and geographical features that play a role in the availability of features, we cannot guarantee which of these features will make it a MIUI variant 12. The MIUI 12 stable release is slated to begin in early June but is the only case in China as we do not have an international release yet.

Xiaomi has also shared a plan for the rollout of the release of fixed assets and listed the devices that will be receiving this update initially, but it should be noted that the following list is applicable in China and not in other regions.

The current structure, which is a closed beta, is unstable, and the UI system crashes often and other features like floating windows or Super Wallpaper stop working too often. Therefore, we do not recommend installing this component on a daily basis. If you have a smartphone that can be used for testing, you can download the MIUI 12 close beta that builds for Xiaomi and Redmi devices here.

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