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Import a Xiaomi phone? Look out, the company is disabling some imported devices.

Xiaomi has never allowed its devices to be imported in certain countries, but now it appears to actually be acting on it.

Published onSeptember 10, 2021

Xiaomi Mi 10i review logo and gradient
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
  • Some people prefer to import Xiaomi phones to their local area if the phones aren’t officially available.
  • However, Xiaomi doesn’t allow this in certain places and appears to be enforcing the rule by disabling imported devices.
  • Interestingly, the company doesn’t appear to be going after phones with custom ROMs, so that might be a workaround.

Xiaomi phones are available in many places around the world outside of its native China. However, that excludes many locations, most notably the United States, which is the world’s third-largest smartphone market.

So what do you do if you want a Xiaomi device but don’t live in a supported country? Many folks choose to import a Xiaomi phone by buying from a supported country and bringing it home. No big deal, right?

Related: These are the best Xiaomi phones you can buy

For years, Xiaomi has turned a blind eye to this, even though it expressly forbids it for certain areas in the company’s Terms and Conditions. Now, though, reports are rolling in (via XDA-Developers) that the company is changing its stance. Users in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, and the Crimea region are reporting that their phones are being disabled remotely by Xiaomi, complete with a message explaining why:

Xiaomi policy does not permit sale or provision of the product to the territory in which you have attempted to activate it. Please contact the retailers directly for additional information.

If you see this message, your imported Xiaomi phone is essentially soft-bricked.

It’s unclear why Xiaomi is taking this stance now when it has ignored the issue for so long. Regardless, if you live in one of the affected areas, you might want to get a different phone or, at the very least, install a custom ROM. It appears phones with custom ROMs are unaffected by this new policy enforcement.

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