MIUI was inspired by iOS but with each update it has developed its own personality, shedding the influence and paving a way on its own. Just like Android and iOS have been involved in a lot of give and take these last few years, so has MIUI and depending on who you ask (MIUI fans), they’ll tell you how iOS 7 was clearly influenced by MIUI 5. Oh, sweet irony.
MIUI isn’t the only awesome Android ROM out there. The openness of Android means you have a lot to choose from. It might not have the revolutionary hybrid engine and the funky Pie launcher of PA, or the crazy secure messaging and privacy features of Cyanogen Mod. Andrew has a great post about these ROMs which you should definitely check out.
MIUI looks different than any Android ROM out there and to my eyes it is beautiful. It is fast, minimal and feature-rich, and is updated weekly with bug fixes and feature releases. MIUI has so many features that if I were to start jotting them down, this post would turn into an ebook. You can enable most of these features on your Android device with the help of an app, but in MIUI they all work together, have a unified design language and all of them are in built so you don’t have to worry about a rogue app eating all your battery while you sleep.
Here are the 15 Features that Make MIUI the Best Android ROM
A Quick Note: To flash MIUI, you need to be rooted, running a custom recovery and using a compatible hardware. The process of rooting depends on your device. Do your research before rooting and flashing MIUI. Check this webpage to see if your device has MIUI support. Do jump into the forums for a couple of minutes to see if the build is stable or not.
1. So Much Customization
When MIUI first came to the limelight, the sheer amount of customizable themes was its biggest feature. And with time, it only got better. You can choose from thousands of free and paid, user and professional grade themes. And you can mix and match UI components on your own! Pick a lockscreen from one theme, Nav bar from another and icons from something different entirely, and everything will ‘just work’.
2. Incredibly Feature-Rich Music Player
The MIUI music player is incredibly feature-rich. You can shake-to-skip, opt to automatically download album art, automatically view synced lyrics, listen to radio, checkout and play songs on billboard 100 and other lists and lots of other things!
3. Lockscreen Music Controls
Just double tap the circle on the lockscreen and it will be transformed right into a mini music player complete with Play, Previous, Next and Now Playing info.
4. Pop Up View
If you gently slide up/down on the Music icon, it will pop up the music player. Same for Notes app.
5. Instant Flash Light
When you are on the lockscreen, just long press the home button to turn on the camera flash. No looking for a flash light app from now on.
6. Send SMS From PC
Sure, you can use services like MightyText but why bother when the functionality is built right in. Just head over to i.xiaomi.com to get started.
7. Identify Unknown Callers
From the phone app, go to Settings-> Call Guard -> Identify unknown caller smartly and enable the service. This is a great way to screen marketing calls.
8. Sophisticated Blacklist
If you are repeatedly getting messages and calls you rather wouldn’t, the blacklist will be a huge help. I was once on the receiving end of a prank call in the middle of the night and the second time they tried, I just added the number to the blacklist and resumed my sound sleep. In the morning I found out they tried calling me a couple of times more. Use the blacklist instead of silent mode so that your phone experience is not affected.
9. Detailed Data Statistics
Yes, if you are running the latest version of stock android, data usage is built-in, but that is not the case with older devices. MIUI offers the same functionality as the default app. You can set your bill cycle dates and your data limit. MIUI will warn you when you are about to exceed your data limit and will also show you a detailed list of resource hogging apps.
10. Ad Free Start
Of course you need to be rooted to flash MIUI ROM and being rooted comes with its own special benefits. For instance, you can turn off ads across the OS just like you can do on your PC. This can be helpful where data speeds don’t exactly match that of a rocket. Most builds (depending on the developer who ported MIUI for your device) come with Adaway pre installed.
11. Firewall, Spam Filter and Anti Virus Built In
You can never be too secure. If you don’t want to give internet access to any app (like a free game that has lots of pop up ads) you can disable it fairly quickly from the Network Assistant app. You also get a Spam Filter and Anit-virus app built right in.
12. Live Icons
This is a new addition to MIUI 5. Email, Weather, Data Usage and Calendar icons are all live, means they are constantly updated with new information and push notifications. So you can now quickly glance through the number of emails and the weather just from the app icons.
13. Back The Hell Up
MIUI also has a built-in back up tool which will let you back up your Contacts, System and User apps. Of course it’s not as versatile as Titanium Backup but it gets the job done fairly well.
14. MiCloud Is Your Cloud
MiCloud is your alternative to syncing with your Google account. Once you sign up with at account with Xiaomi, you can sync all your contacts, messages, gallery photos, bookmarks, notes, Wi-Fi settings etc to the cloud. If you live in a country where Google services are not available or you just prefer not to use them, MiCloud can be the answer for you.
15. Do Not Permit
Permissions Manager allows you to see a detailed view of all the permissions an app needs. If you find something shady, feel free to remove the app right away.
If you are an Android enthusiast, you already have a custom ROM you swear on. Is it better than MIUI? Or did we change your mind and you plan to switch? Let us know in the comments below.