Xiaomi MIUI 12 rolls out globally with a focus on privacy

While Huawei and to some extent ZTE are the current targets of extreme scrutiny, Chinese electronics companies have always carried the stigma, warranted or not, of having less than conscientious regard for customer privacy. Xiaomi itself has recently been dragged into the spotlight for some privacy lapses surrounding web browsing activity. It's no surprise, then, that with the rollout of its Android-based MIUI 12 experience it is also making privacy a headline before any of its other new features.

Ironically, it also devotes only one paragraph to what it says was at the core of MIUI 12's development. Admittedly, security and privacy are the least sensational aspects of an operating system, at least until things go terribly wrong. In MIUI 12, Xiaomi is content to assure users that the use of privacy-related data like location, camera, mic, contacts, and the like are set to "while using the app" only. This is pretty much Xiaomi's customization of the same facility that Android itself provides.

Xiaomi curiously but unsurprisingly devotes a good number of words on the smooth animations and visuals it has implemented in the latest release of its custom Android experience. From the elegant motion of icons to the elegant opening and closing of tabs, MIUI 12 is promised to delight the eyes. Whether those will delight users with its impact on battery life, only time will tell.

Fortunately, MIUI 12's upgrades aren't just skin-deep. There's improved multitasking in the form of floating windows and casting with the screen off to reduce the impact on battery life. MIUI 12 is also adopting the Pocophone's app launcher that finally gives users a separate app drawer to keep their home screens clean or filled with widgets only.

As for the biggest question of all, Xiaomi only has definite dates for rolling out MIUI 12 to the Mi 9, Mi 9T, Mi 9T Pro, Redmi K20, and Redmi K20 Pro starting June. The rest will be on a per-model basis so it's still a guessing and waiting game for Mi, Redmi, and even POCO phone owners.