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Getting to know MIUI

Getting to know MIUI

MIUI (abbreviation of MI User Interface) is a firmware for smartphones and tablet computers developed by Xiaomi. The firmware is based on Google's Android operating system. MIUI is also available as an aftermarket firmware for certain non-Xiaomi devices (e.g., Samsung, Sony, HTC, BLU, OnePlus, and Nexus).

New to MIUI? Start here! - A post on Mi Community

Development

The original MIUI ROMs were based on the Android 2.2.x Froyo and was initially developed in the Chinese language by Chinese startup Xiaomi Tech. Xiaomi added a number of apps to enhance the basic framework; those include Notes, Backup, Music, and Gallery. MIUI used to be translated and ported into unofficial versions in other languages by independent developers and groups of fansites. There are still unofficial ports being made but their popularity decreased after Xiaomi released their own cell phones. Updates are usually provided over-the-air every Thursday (CST).

MIUI and Google Play Services

Google has had disagreements with the Chinese government, and access to many Google services is blocked. MIUI does not ship with Google Play Services in mainland China. However, Xiaomi has expanded its operations outside China; MIUI releases for Android devices outside mainland China have Google Play Services and Google Apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, Google Play Store pre-installed and functioning as on any other Android device.

MIUI global versions are certified by Google.

MIUI vs. Android

Although the MIUI is built on the Android platform, the default user interface of its earlier iterations closely resembled iOS due to the absence of the application tray with a grid of icons arrayed in the home panels. Other iOS similarities include the app icons being in a uniform shape, the dialer and in-call interface, the organization of the Settings app, and the visual appearance of toggles in the UI. This prompted some observers to cite how the devices running on MIUI could appeal to iOS users wanting to switch to the Android platform.[11] Recently, however, MIUI is increasingly shifting towards a design aesthetic that is more similar to the stock Android. Reports indicate, for instance, that several elements in the MIUI 10 build will closely resemble what Android P has brought onto the table such as the multitasking menu and gesture controls. This change was first seen in the MIUI 9 (ver. 8.5.11) that shipped with the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S. The MIUI firmware already looked like stock Android P.

Another key difference that distinguishes MIUI from Android is the system's support for themes. Users can download theme packs from the Mi Market, which could drastically change the user interface of the device once installed. It even allows advanced users to tweak the hard-coded firmware of their handsets.