New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…

Original story (published on December 28, 2020) follows:

For the uninitiated, Xiaomi was famously known as the Apple of China back in its early days.

The company was known for selling iPhone-like phones in at attempt to mimic the Apple effect back at home. While this turned out to be a shrewd move by the company, things have since taken a twist.

Today, no Xiaomi smartphone looks like an iPhone. Instead, the company has matured, churning out handsets that are more Android-like than the previous iPhone resemblance.

Now, in an attempt to show the rest of the world how far it has come, Xiaomi has, on stage at the launch event of the latest Mi 11 series, showcased a new version of MIUI — MIUI 12.5 — boasting less bloatware than iOS.

MIUI 12.5 with less bloatware than iOS

The comparison is merely here to tell a simple story of how good MIUI has become. Apparently, MIUI 12.5 only comes with 9 pre-baked Mi apps that cannot be uninstalled, with the rest easily removable.

Indeed, for a company that has often been accused of pre-installing unnecessary apps, this move deserves celebration. But we wait to see the official details of the new MIUI 12.5 update before getting too excited.

There is also a bunch of new system sounds based on nature, you know, much like what MIUI 12 came along with, but just more. As per the company, MIUI 12.5 adds natural notification sound, co-created with global sound artists.

Xiaomi says the update brings the four major habitats of South American rainforest, Australia, East African grassland, and the Arctic Circle.


Over 120 sounds of global creatures are also part of this update alongside new system sound effects derived from natural elements and stereo surround sound field.

Below is a detailed MIUI 12.5 changelog:

  • System:
    • New: Response to gestures is now instant
    • New: With 20 times more rendering power, there are now few limited to what you can see on your screen.
    • New: With custom device model adjustments, any phone becomes faster after the upgrade.
    • Optimization: MIUI became lighter, faster, and more durable.
  • System Animations:
    • New: A new animation framework renders movement more realistically.
    • New: New UI design is focused on visualization and making your interaction with the device more lifelike.
  • System Sounds:
    • New: Nature mix is a new exciting way of creating your own notification sound system.
    • New: Hundreds of system sounds that represent animals from all around the world.
    • New: Stereo system sounds.
  • Super Wallpapers:
    • New: Mount Siguniang super wallpaper.
  • Privacy Protection:
    • New: Now you can see what apps access your clipboard and control access.
    • New: Using approximate location adds up points to privacy protection.
    • New: You can now manage sensitive permissions and related app behavior independently.
    • New: The behavior of web pages is also tracked now, which helps you to block unwanted and malicious actions.
    • New: Now it’s up to you who and when can track your online behavior.
    • New: All apps now come with a security statement from GetApps.
    • New: Privacy risk scanner.
    • New: Control which apps access and delete items from your Gallery.
    • New: A comprehensive overview of all sensitive permissions.
    • New: You’ll be notified whenever high-risk permissions are used and will be able to block the corresponding actions.
    • Optimization: An all-new privacy protection page.
  • Notes:
    • New: Compose mind maps with complex structures.
    • New: New tools for doodling and sketching.
    • New: Press and hold a sketch to adjust the strokes automatically.
    • New: A gesture shortcut now allows you to create notes, tasks, and excerpts anywhere.
    • New: Excerpts save texts, URLs, and images to Notes in a few simple taps.
    • New: Dynamix layouts make bring the typography in Notes to a new level.
    • All-new Notes.
  • MIUI+:
    • You can combine your phone and computer into a single working station.
    • You can view MIUI notifications and open phone apps on your computer.
    • Apps from your phone can be handed off to your computer.
    • The items copied on a phone can now be pasted on the computer and vice versa.
    • Photos and screenshots from a mobile device can be instantly used on a computer.
    • Web pages can be seamlessly handed over from one device to another.
    • You can transfer files to your mobile device using the “MIUI+” panel on your computer.
    • New “File Manager” and “Notes” for computers.
  • Floating Windows:
    • New: Instant messengers now support floating windows.
    • New: Floating windows can be quickly replaced with full screen versions of the apps.
    • New: App flashcards show key info when apps are displayed as floating windows.
    • Learn more about new features in “Special features”
  • Xiaomi Health:
    • New: You can measure your heart rate using the camera now.
    • New: Start recording running, walking, and cycling workouts manually, and enjoy lots of online workout classes.
    • Optimization: Automatic workout recognition is much more accurate now.
  • Home screen:
    • New: “Ripples” animation for downloading apps.
    • New: “Burst” animation for uninstalling apps.
    • New: New design for app folders.
    • New: A vertical layout for Recents.
  • Casting:
    • New: The aspect ratio is adjusted to the external monitor automatically during casting.
    • New: The audio of the app that’s being cast in a floating window is separated from other audio.
  • Xiaomi Cloud:
    • New: Password manager allows you to store passwords in the cloud.
    • New: You can share device location with other people in your family sharing group.
    • New: Location information can be recorded automatically before the device powers off.
    • New: Convert images to PDF.
  • Mi Carrier Services:
    • New: You can manage multiple SIM cards now.
  • IME:
    • New: A more convenient way to move a cursor using the scrollbar.
    • New: Function buttons support switching between languages and keyboards.
    • New: You can press and hold the function buttons to access more features.
    • New: Custom themes for keyboards.
  • Themes:
    • New: Font weight adjustment options for third party fonts.
    • Optimization: Personalization features for system wallpapers, animations, and sounds.
  • Browser:
    • New: Wallpaper customization in the lite mode.
    • Optimization: Redesigned Incognito mode.
    • Optimization: Pages load much faster now.
  • Mi Family:
    • New: You can manage multiple SIM cards now.
    • Optimization: Revamped device control center.
  • Search:
    • Optimization: Local search results are sorted automatically now.
    • Optimization: All-new design.


Since the launch event was held in China, the info available is scarce, but we will be following closely to let you know what else MIUI 12.5 update brings.

Do keep an eye on our MIUI 12.5 update tracker to know when your device bags this latest iteration.

Update 1 (January 18, 2021)

There has been a new addition to MIUI 12.5 as per the changelog of China Beta ROM version 21.1.13, which is of course worth a mention:

  • Haptic feedback:
    • New: Haptic feedback brings a new dimension to familiar actions.
    • New: All accessibility features become more informative and intuitive with haptic feedback.
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    Hillary Keverenge
    2160 Posts

    Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a mostly happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem.

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