The latest version of Xiaomi's Android fork – MIUI 12, released today – introduces several features including new permissions notifications, and an ultra-battery-saver mode designed to stretch out a phone's standby time for as long as possible.
Android has long required users to explicitly approve an app's access to the phone's underlying hardware and operating system. That process manifests itself as an easily dismissed pop-up displayed when an app is first executed. Because this is a one-time event, it's easy to forget what permissions you've granted an app.
MIUI 12 has a slightly different approach, and actively shows which permissions are being used in the phone's status. Revoking an app's access to, for example, the microphone just needs a tap on the relevant icon. MIUI 12 also limits access to certain sensitive permissions – like the microphone or contacts – while the app is being run.
Another privacy-focused feature introduced in Xiaomi's latest software update is to do with photo sharing. Punters can now configure the operating system to automatically remove metadata and location data before a picture is uploaded to the web, or sent via other channels.
Battery endurance is one more area of focus in MIUI 12, with the introduction of a new ultra-battery-saving mode. Scarcely any new ground is trod here. It adheres to the usual playbook by deactivating services and apps until just the bare essentials remain – calls and texts, pretty much. This is augmented with an enhanced dark mode that offers better compatibility with system and third-party apps.
Xiaomi says it'll roll out MIUI 12 in the coming weeks on a phone-by-phone basis. Devices guaranteed to get the update include the Redmi Note 9, the Mi 10, Mi Note 10, and the recently launched Poco F2 Pro. ®