When Xiaomi first launched their phones, they had the masses in a titter because of the interface – it had flagship quality despite it coming from a low-cost brand. To some, it was seen as the most complete use of Android OS, with sensible functions, a decent design and deep customization. MIUI is also unofficially available for non-Xiaomi users willing to experiment. Here’s a look at some features of its latest incarnation.
DISABLE NOTIFICATIONS FROM NOTIFICATION BAR
Most smartphone users know how to disable notifications from the phone’s settings menu. MIUI 7 has the ability to disable an app’s notification from the Notification Bar itself. This is handy if you recently acquired a new app that’s good, but spammy. To disable an app’s notification, swipe down when in the unlocked home screen. Near the top right is a “Disable” sign. Press it, and a list of circular checkboxes will appear on the left. You are now in the “Hide Notifications” menu. Check the boxes next to the offending app, and confirm your choices by pressing the “Tick” sign (located where the Disable sign was). You’re done, and there’s no need to enter your Settings menu to do any of this.
You can set an alternate mode for the phone, limiting its accessibility to emails and contact lists while keeping selected apps available to use. Besides children, we think that this doubles as extra security, especially if you have sensitive information on your phone and you’re lending it to someone else for an afternoon. Find this feature at Settings > Child Mode. You will need to set a password for entering and exiting this mode. Select the list of allowed apps from below. There’s also the option to prevent allowed apps from sending out SMSes.
You can choose to have a bigger system font. This can be handy in two ways – easier reading, and more importantly, an easier time placing the text cursor in between words because of the size. It works partially for both system and third-party apps – for example, you get the XXL Text feature on the URL bar for Chrome browser, but the text on the sites you visit is still subjected to Chrome’s setting. Our benchmarking apps enjoyed the XXL Text font, yet the phone’s proprietary Calendar app doesn’t use the XXL setting until you decide to input a new calendar event. To get XXL Text, go to Settings > Text Size. The feature comes with a slider from S to XXL for users to pick the best size that suits their needs. Press “OK” to apply the change. For reference, S is the default font size.
It isn’t just about gimmicks or looks. If you are more of a power user, you will still want MIUI 7, especially if you’re upgrading from previous MI interfaces. This is because of MIUI 7’s new app-launching optimizations. Loading and animation are now both done simultaneously, resulting in a 30% faster system response for app startup time. MIUI 7 also makes the most out of the phone’s battery by synchronizing the CPU wake-up by apps keeping themselves up-to-date, extending battery life by another 10%.
UPDATES FOR NEW FEATURES
Most proprietary OSes have a fixed set of features once it’s ported to the phone, and updates are mostly for stability and optimization. MIUI 7 is different whereby future updates also come with more features that were announced but not released. Baby Album is one such example – it’s not ready yet, but when it does, your phone can use in-built facial recognition to detect baby photos and group them in a separate album. The grouping still applies when the child continues to grow, giving the album a chronological track of the child’s progress. Other updates that have not yet come to MIUI 7’s global version are Auto DND (where you can schedule Do Not Disturb periods) and Double Tap to Wake – a feature commonly found on newer LG smartphones.