What is MIUI? The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide 
Xiaomi is coming with a new standalone OS called HyperOS. But what is MIUI – Xiaomi’s custom Android skin used in all Xiaomi phones till 2023?
SHORT ANSWER: MIUI is Xiaomi’s custom Android skin for its phones. It is officially available for Xiaomi devices and was first introduced in 2010. It is well known for its feature-rich user experience but also infamous for bugs and bloatware.
Do you need a long answer? This is our ultimate beginner’s guide on MIUI, explaining the story behind MIUI, its history, and the complete MIUI version history.
Xiaomi is the only mainstream smartphone brand to start as a custom UI maker. Yes, Xiaomi made MIUI even before it made a phone! The story behind one of the most recognizable names among custom skins is exciting; let’s talk about the story and the history of MIUI in this ultimate beginner’s guide.
What is MIUI?
MIUI is the custom Android skin developed by Xiaomi for its phones.
MIUI means UI for Mi, meaning “user interface for Xiaomi,” Mi being the short name of Xiaomi. Xiaomi logo reads “Mi,” and previously, Xiaomi used Mi as a brand name in the global market.
The story behind MIUI and Xiaomi is interesting; let’s discuss that next.
Tracing Back: MIUI V1 And Early Versions Of MIUI!
Xiaomi was founded in April 2010. For the first product, it did not come up with a smartphone that could beat other phones in terms of performance. Instead, it released the first version of MIUI V1.
The initial release of MIUI was based on Android 2.1 Eclair, and it grabbed significant acclaim around the globe, even though the skin was released in China only. Xiaomi was a startup back then and used this as a software demo for investors to gain more funding.
The following year, Xiaomi launched Mi 1, and along with it came MIUI V2.
MIUI V2 was an improvement over MIUI V1 and was also based on Android 2.1 Eclair. It was an important milestone for Xiaomi. It laid the foundations of what MIUI is. The current versions of MIUI still have some influences from this era of MIUI.
MIUI V3 was launched the next year, which was based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
MIUI V2 featured theming, a feature that’s common in Android skins, but it was a rare thing to be seen by default on the phone. It was iconic at that time.
The MIUI of this era differed leaps and bounds from Samsung’s TouchWiz and HTC’s Sense UI. It drew heavy inspiration from Apple’s iOS, porting so many features from that closed operating system. This also gave Xiaomi the nickname “Apple of China.”
MIUI Goes Global
With its success in China, Xiaomi set its eyes on the global market with the subsequent global launches of Mi 3 and Redmi 1s. What powered these phones were MIUI V4.
MIUI V4, Mi 3, and Redmi 1s were an astounding success for the company. I still remember my excitement when I bought myself a Redmi 1s. I also remember MIUI V4 making the device to be completely different from anything else in the market.
MIUI V4 continued on the goodness of the previous versions but was more optimized for the global market and came with Google Play Services support.
MIUI V5, released after that, brought a stark design change compared to V4 and older versions.
MIUI 6 introduced a flat design language, with the icons in MIUI V5 flattened out, and the whole interface was modernized. We can still see that the current MIUI design language still resembles this design.
MIUI 7 and MIUI 8 saw no major change in design. It still carries forward the same design in MIUI 6. However, it saw various new features added to the skin on each iteration.
MIUI 9 refreshed MIUI with a fresh new set of icons. And the motto of this update was to improve the performance.
MIUI 10 was visually similar to MIUI 9 and didn’t bring any drastic changes.
MIUI 11 saw a new set of icons for the skin, but other than that, it remained visually similar. But MIUI started getting bogged down by issues such as random bugs, unfinished features, adware, and bloatware.
MIUI 12, MIUI 12.5, and MIUI 12.5 Enhanced Edition were attempts from the company to try and fix MIUI’s struggles with bugs.
MIUI 13 essentially looked like the previous few versions but introduced new widgets and a control center inspired by iOS. But the skin was again struggling with bugs and other issues.
MIUI 14 was an attempt at fixing the issues again!
MIUI Version History – From MIUI V1 to MIUI 14
|Sl No.||MIUI Version||Android Version||Release Date|
|1||MIUI V1||2.1||August 16, 2010|
|2||MIUI V2||2.1 – 2.3.6|
|4||MIUI V4||4.0.4 – 4.1.2|
|5||MIUI V5||4.1.2 – 4.4.2||March 1, 2013|
|6||MIUI 6||4.4.2 – 5.0.2||August 29, 2014|
|7||MIUI 7||4.4.2 – 6.0.1||August 13, 2015|
|8||MIUI 8||4.4.2 – 7.1.2||June 16, 2016|
|9||MIUI 9||4.4.2 – 8.1.0||August 10, 2017|
|10||MIUI 10||6.0 – 9||June 19, 2018|
|11||MIUI 11||7.0 – 10||October 22, 2019|
|12||MIUI 12||9 – 11||April 27, 2020|
|13||MIUI 12.5||10 – 12||December 28, 2020|
|14||MIUI 13||11 – 13||December 28, 2021|
|15||MIUI 14||12 – 14||December 11, 2022|
Notable Changes in MIUI Versions
- MIUI V1 was the initial release of the software skin. It was available for various Android devices.
- MIUI V2 introduced a redesign to MIUI. It bared some inspiration from the iOS of that time.
- Smoother animations were also introduced.
- More changes to the user interface, refining the formula.
- Introduced modern icons and widgets.
- The transparent status bar was introduced.
- A complete overhaul in design
- A new set of icons and widgets.
- Modern flat icons are introduced.
- Flash notification light for incoming calls.
- Lock screen music control was added.
- Parental controls mode.
- Quick OTP feature.
- Smart SMS filter.
- Long screen capture (scrolling screenshot).
- Quick ball introduced to MIUI.
- Live currency conversion on the calculator app.
- Wallpaper carousel was introduced.
- Default photo and video editing got more advanced.
- Split screen feature introduced.
- Notification shade improved to match stock Android.
- Airdrop alternative Mi Drop introduced.
- Redesigned UI, notification panel, volume sliders, etc.
- New recent menu.
- Full-screen gestures introduced with extra features.
- New design for icons.
- Mi Share, an improved version of Mi Drop, is here.
- Always on display customization.
- Ultra battery saver debuts.
- Dark mode is introduced to MIUI.
- Dynamic sounds for system sounds.
- Dynamic video wallpapers.
- Mint Keyboard, a new system keyboard for Xiaomi phones.
- A refreshed design language for MIUI.
- Super Wallpapers – high-precision animated 3D models of Mars and Earth, available as a home screen and lock screen combo.
- More super wallpapers were added.
- Redesigned Control Center introduced.
- New widgets inspired by iOS.
- Sidebar for opening floating windows was introduced.
- Enlarged folders allow you to open the app in a folder straight from the home screen.
- More widgets
Bye Bye MIUI – Hello, HyperOS!
Xiaomi is retiring MIUI in 2023. There will be no MIUI 15!
Xiaomi has officially announced that it is working on its own standalone HyperOS.
Why the name HyperOS? Various tech Xiaomi uses in its smartphones have the name Hyper in it, such as Xiaomi Hypercharge, Xiaomi Hypercharger, etc.
What’s interesting is that HyperOS isn’t just an Android skin but rather an independent OS that works with Android apps.
In a Weibo post, Lei Jun, the founder of Xiaomi, mentioned that HyperOS will be “based on the integration of the deeply evolved Android and the self-developed Vela system, completely rewriting the underlying architecture, and preparing a public base for the Internet of Everything for tens of billions of devices and tens of billions of connections in the future.”
Xiaomi has even posted a detailed chart of the underlying architecture of HyperOS to show us they mean business. Take a look:
Xiaomi #HyperOS will unleash the Human x Car x Home ecosystem with comprehensive refactoring of codebase integrating Linux and Xiaomi Vela cores!— Alvin @Xiaomi (@atytse) October 25, 2023
Interesting user scenarios will emerge as you control all these smart devices in one go! pic.twitter.com/IwyZpdKyN6
Xiaomi is set to release Xiaomi 14 soon, which will come pre-loaded with its new HyperOS software.