Review of MIUI 12: What's new in the interface of Xiaomi devices?

The Xiaomi MIUI interface is one of the most popular on the market (along with the updated OneUI from Samsung), but it is also one of the most complex. Forget about the standard Android, MIUI is not keen on minimalism and offers a lot of its own applications, animations and settings.

Introduced by Xiaomi last May, the MIUI 12 does look unusual, but it is well designed and optimized. The manufacturer has made a lot of effort to expand the possibilities of privacy, ergonomics and a variety of settings.

Animations

As you probably already noticed, in MIUI 12, Xiaomi has paid a lot of attention to the presence of animation in its interface. As soon as the MIUI 12 lock screen launches, you can feel like you're watching a movie with scrolling titles.

Let's start with Super Wallpaper. This option offers a spectacular animated wallpaper. You can choose from three visual effects: with Earth, Mars, and Saturn. On the locked screen, the animation will depict the slow orbital motion of the selected planet, visible from space. Once the screen is unlocked, the animation triggers an increase in the size of the planet.

At the moment, only a few smartphones offer this feature. For the rest, there is a fairly simple method (based on downloading the .apk file and Google Wallpaper) that allows you to enjoy superbugs on almost any Xiaomi smartphone.In fact, wallpaper is just the beginning, animation can be found almost everywhere. When running apps under MIUI 12, they will open directly from the app icon itself and disappear behind it when closed. Animation is provided in the battery utility, as well as in the internal storage settings.

All of these animations can be customized using various icon selection options. Interestingly, no special battery drain from the use of visual effects was noticed

Mi Control Center

The new Control Center or Control Center in MIUI 12 is undoubtedly similar to the one implemented in iOS. It's not just limited to the extended notification drop-down menu. In fact, the entire upper part of the screen in MIUI is divided into two parts. By dragging the upper-left corner with a sliding motion, you will be taken to the notification screen.

To access the Mi Control Center, you need to pull the upper-right corner of the screen. At first, this seems a bit counterintuitive, but over time, you can get used to such a system. Here you can find all the system application shortcuts, the built-in screen recording tool, information about the mobile network and Bluetooth connection.

I would like both the control center and the notifications to be located in one place. It's not too convenient to make two different gestures to access these options separately.

Application panel

MIUI 12 will be the appearance of the application panel, which already existed in the Chinese firmware of Xiaomi smartphones under MIUI 11. However, this is still optional and not set by default. You can customize the panel by adapting a dark or light theme, selecting a background, and setting the transparency of the panel after it is launched.

After that, there will be 4 tabs-Everything, Communication, Entertainment and Photos that will help you make a choice. In addition, a search bar will appear at the bottom of the screen, making it easier to use your smartphone with one hand. It is truly an add-on that provides convenience and smoothness to everyday use.

Windows and multitasking

Almost all manufacturers offer support for windowed or multi-window applications. In addition, many apps support the picture-in-picture feature. With MIUI 12, it's nice to have your own windowed mode that you can call up as needed. Simply open the corresponding icon in the drop-down menu, and the selected application will appear in a smaller floating window.

You can change the location and size of the window as you wish, and in addition, MIUI 12 allows you to embed the window in one of the corners of the screen. An additional advantage is the ability to save floating windows in the Recent Items menu.

Multi-window mode is very smooth, and small windows are displayed in most full-screen apps, including games. On the other hand, YouTube cannot be placed in such a window, since Google reserves this feature for premium subscribers.

Data Protection

In MIUI 12, Xiaomi has focused on the protection of personal data. The new interface includes a system that manages application rights. This allows you to quickly see which apps have the appropriate permissions.

You will receive notifications whenever the app requests access to your camera, microphone, or location. They are displayed in a large font and take up almost a third of the screen. When you first launch a system application, MIUI 12 draws your attention to the information that this application will be able to access. This feature has been called Xiaomi Barbed Wire or Barbed Wire..

MIUI also sends you an alert whenever the app tries to use the camera, microphone, or location without your permission. This feature allows you to keep a log of permission usage. This way you can see in real time how and when the app accessed your data.

Finally, there is another interesting feature called Mask System, which by default returns dummy or empty messages when a third-party application tries to access your call log or messages. This feature is designed to prevent suspicious applications from reading your personal data.

Another strong point in terms of security and privacy is the ability to create a so-called virtual ID. MIUI 12 allows you to hide your browser settings behind a virtual profile. You can reset this ID when you want to clear the settings.

It is also possible to completely block access to the user's credentials, although this may cause some websites to malfunction and should be used with caution. This is a very correct attempt on the part of Xiaomi, given that at the beginning of 2020, the company was mentioned in connection with the scandal concerning the collection of data by the built-in browser, even when it was in incognito mode.The most serious negative point in the Xiaomi interface is the presence of advertising. And indeed, it can be seen almost everywhere there. In MIUI 12, you can easily disable ads with a simple switch in the settings, as well as disable it in every built-in app. You can now block third-party cookies in your browser using the Do Not Track feature.

New features

An example of the new features is Mi Share, a cross-platform file-sharing service co-adopted by Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo a few months ago. In addition, there is a so-called Focus Mode, which offers the ability to disable the app and reminders. It is designed to focus on a specific type of activity when nothing should distract the user.

MIUI 12 also offers two handy new features in the photo gallery and file manager. The first is the Flashback mode, which you can use to create collages or short videos using existing images or clips that are in your gallery. For collages, you can choose the orientation, add text, and edit each image separately. There are several templates for short videos.

In the File Manager, by clicking the icon in the upper-right corner, you will see a new sort menu that will allow you to sort various files and folders by name, size, creation date, or type. In addition to sorting, you can change the display of the list and grid parameters.

The output of MIUI 12 turned out to be very efficient, as well as a very smooth and visually pleasing interface. Everything is implemented really neatly: from the animation to the superbugs and the application panel. You will feel as if you are watching an episode of a movie in which the animations flow into one another.

In addition, it is worth praising Xiaomi for its efforts in the field of security and data protection. Now the user has a lot of opportunities to restrict the access of third-party applications to personal data.

Having ads in the interface is a trade-off that's hard to accept, even if it helps keep Xiaomi's smartphone prices lower than those of its competitors. In MIUI 12, it has become easier to disable ads, but I would like to believe that our habits and preferences are not tracked through Xiaomi's own apps.So, MIUI 12 is one of the most non-standard interfaces on the market, but it is also the most elegant. He's definitely leading the way in his category.