August 19, 2015
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MIUI 7 launch event

Following its Chinese announcement the other day, Xiaomi has now lifted the lid on the global version its latest Android-based operating system – MIUI 7. While perhaps not as drastic of an update as some users were hoping for, there are a number of useful features to get to grips with. Let’s delve on in.

Opening up the announcement, Xiaomi has gone big with customization for MIUI 7, introducing four new system designs for users to pick from, each of which can be tweaked with additional colors. There’s also a new MUSE engine for designers that can be used to create new MIUI themes, apparently without the need for complex coding.

MIUI 7 themes

MIUI 7 ships with a variety of new themes and users can now create their own too.

If you love to change your wallpapers, Xiaomi’s international wallpaper market should have you covered, with 10 pre-sets available on a daily rotation for now, and more to come. Although this is only available in India right now.

Moving on from customization, Xiaomi seems to have made a big effort to further optimize its customized Android OS, promising faster app loading times, a more responsive feel and longer battery life this time around.

MIUI 7 wake up cycles

MIUI 7 startup cycleStart-up times have been reduced by lumping the data loading and animation parts into a parallel process. MIUI 7 also appears to feature a new CPU acceleration feature, which boosts CPU speeds for important tasks. I’d imagine this was already part of previous MIUI builds, but perhaps there’s a new governor, although details are a little thin right now.

MIUI 7 also now aligns CPU wake-ups from various apps to take place at once, rather than at their own discretion. This allows for longer sleep periods in between wake-ups and therefore a longer stand-by battery life.

The end result is that the system should respond around 30 percent faster than before, while battery life has been extended by around 10 percent for typical usage. Xiaomi says that this could make its phones last up to 3 hours longer before needing a charge. The video below certainly shows some performance improvements over MIUI 6.

In terms of new features, MIUI 7 adds in a XXL text function to improve readability for a huge range of apps. There’s a new photo album feature to group precious baby pictures into a single album, which can also be linked to your lockscreen background for rolling images. Xiaomi has also introduced a Child Mode, which limits access to emails and messages and offers parents control over apps through a settings menu. One particularly nifty feature is the automatic do-not-disturb option, which uses Xiaomi’s Mi Band to detect when you’re sleeping and sets your phone into DND mode.

Xiaomi is big in India these days and MIUI 7 has a couple of specific features for the country. Along with support for 10 local language variations, MIUI 7 also includes the Visual IVR feature that was promised a while back. Visual IVR allows users to see voice prompt options when calling certain services, to help speed through those automated call centers. The system works with more than 50 Indian partners, including Citibank, ICICI bank, Spicejet, Indigo, Tata Sky, HeroMotoCorp, and more.

MIUI 7 Visual IVR

Xiaomi has also partnered up with Opera Max to save on mobile data consumption, by using a system wide data compression technology and optimization of audio and video streaming. The data savings apply to any application, including popular services such as YouTube, Instagram, Line, Lazada, among others, and can result in data savings of around 40 percent.

MIUI 7 data saving

The Data Saver service has been available in China for more than a year, but is now also heading to India, Brasil, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines in September 2015.

Rather than any huge new features, MIUI 7 is a combination of lots of little tweaks and improvements designed to make certain tasks easier. However, there appear to be mixed initial impressions coming from MIUI users.

MIUI 7 will be available as a developer (beta) version for the Redmi 1S, Redmi 2, Mi 3/4/4i and Redmi Note 3G/4G beginning August 24th. A full global rollout will likely take place later in the year, but may vary by region.

What do you think about Xiaomi’s latest operating system?

Robert Triggs
Lead Technical Writer at Android Authority, covering the latest trends in consumer electronics and hardware. In his spare moments, you'll probably find him tinkering with audio electronics and programming.
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