MIUI: The guide

slovoflud

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Mar 3, 2008
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Hi, I’ve been enjoying MIUI for quite some time now, and would like to share my experience with others.

Often people ask “So, what’s different?” Hopefully this post will cover as many features, tips and differences from other android distributions to answer this question.

Note: In no way I’m associated with MIUI dev team, everything I wrote is my personal experience and my likings about the ROM. I’m just a happy user.


What differentiates MIUI from other distributions?

Lockscreen
Probably one of my favorite features is the customizable lockscreen. It can be totally customized, themed, and is very clever. For instance you can turn your flashlight on by pressing and holding the Home button of your device, without even unlocking your phone. As soon as you release the button the flashlight will switch off.
Double tap on the clock bar will enable lockscreen music controls. Double tap again to disable.
You can assign your favourite music player to control:
Settings -> Button settings -> Media button -> take precedence to respond...
You can also view, read and open the SMS app as well as your Phone app. All while your phone is locked.
This is just the default lockscreen I’m talking about. Hundreds of others will enable you for more options, like opening your preferred apps etc…
Lockscreen Examples:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1134657

Custom launcher
Launcher works a lot like iOS in the sense that it doesn’t have an app drawer per se. In my experience that is the single biggest thing turning people away from MIUI after first experiencing it. But that’s where the similarities end. Being an Android distro, you have choices

The workaround many people use is creating folders, which are also a bit different to your standard AOSP folders. Creating Folders for Games, Tools, Media, etc. is actually a lot more usable and logical, than having a huge list of apps sorted alphabetically in an app drawer. Putting a folder onto the dashboard simulates the app drawer nicely. If you think about it, any app drawer in any launcher is a glorified folder with all your apps put there by default. You can sort MIUI folder contents alphabetically, by date/time and frequency of use.
The MIUI launcher has options like shadows under icons, scroll effects, render quality and so on. The biggest difference is the ease of creating and deleting new screens and uninstalling unneeded apps. To uninstall an app just drop the app icon to the bin on the top of the screen and the app is gone..

The second option is of course using your preferred launcher.

There is a bug in the Launcher when you first flash MIUI. It causes lag in scrolling between screens. There is an easy fix.

Go to Launcher Settings (Menu > launcher Settings) Turn High Quality Graphics ON, go back to your home screen. Now go back to the Launcher settings and turn the High Quality toggle OFF and go back. Now try and scroll between screens - you will see the difference. Might sound silly, but it works - trust me.

Notifications / Quick settings
You like the new Sense quick settings tab in the notification bar? Guess where that came from? Still MIUIs' settings page is more usable. Not to mention you can fully customise it to your needs. You can adjust brightness level and all your usual stuff like WiFi, data, GPS, BT and so on, without going to the settings. Pressing and holding on a toggle icon will send you to the settings page of that toggle. For examle to get to the WiFi settings you need to open the notification/toggles bar, press and hold the WiFi icon.
If you've plugged in a cable a pop up will appear, asking wether you'd like to charge or use USB. While the cable is plugged in a toggle in the notification bar will appear (Mount USB ON/OFF).

MI Button
For the phones with a dedicated camera button, like the MI-ONE, Milestone and DesireZ/G2 there is an extra option found here:
Settings > System > Button Settings > MI Button

This feature allows you to program the button to do pretty much anything including setting toggles (WIFI, BT, Screen Rotation and all the rest). Launch any installed App, or set it to take screenshots, which is mighty convenient.


Settings
MIUI Settings also differ from your standard list of settings found in AOSP or Sense and other UI overlays.
There are 3 tabs to sort all the settings options, because there are just so many.


Built in applications, that are head and shoulders above any third party app on the market.

Screenshot
The built in screen capture feature is a lifesaver, if you need it. You don’t have to run a program prior to taking a screenshot, nor you have to shout into your microphone, nor you have to shake your phone in convulsion trying to capture the exact moment you need. Screen capture works as follows: press VolDn+Menu.

File manager
File manager in MIUI is the best out there. There are three tabs, depending on what you need. There is your standard full featured file browser, FTP server, for accessing your SD card from a remote computer and a “Browse” tab. The Browse feature is very handy, it sorts all your files into categories: Docs, APKs, Themes, Music, Videos, Pics, Zips, Favorites and Misc granting quick access to the files you need, no matter where the files are located on SD. There is also a very nice breakdown of your used space, to easily identify how much of your space is occupied by music, pics, etc..

Backup
MIUI features a full featured backup utility. You can backup all your System (Contacts, call logs, messages, wifi settings, layouts etc..) and Apps (+Data). Works very well.

Music Player
This, probably, is the feature that held me on MIUI the most when deciding weather to switch to another ROM. Other than it’s beautiful, fast, downloads album art and lyrics dynamically, it reads your music by Folder, which is how my music is sorted on SD. It baffles me how other players miss this simple feature. Another great feature is excluding files that are less than set size. It’s great for ignoring all kinds of ringtones and notifications from your library.

Gallery
Gallery in MIUI is allringht, I personally like it better than any third party/AOSP/3D Gallery, but less than the Sense gallery. Some nice features include Hide folders (album art for example), Favorite folders.

Contacts / Dialer
Contacts are pretty much standard to Android, with a few exceptions, like being able to quickly block a person from contacting you. The Dialer on the other hand is completely redesigned. It features T9 dialer (dial by name, like Sense dialer), a lot of built in features, like two way call recording, very detailed call log. For example it shows you how long the missed caller called you for. It identifies the country of the number by the country code in the number etc..

DND
In DND settings you can create Blacklists/Whitelists of users who can contact you. Other settings include Anti-Stranger mode (Muting first ring when an unknown number calls, Filter Spam Messages (filter SMS based on keywords)

Privacy Mode
Enabling Privacy Mode will hide all your SMS and call logs. The Launcher editing will also be disabled. It’s useful when lending your phone to someone for a short period of time.

Access control
Access control is something new to MIUI. It controls what apps a user can see/access, without a password

Long Press / App manager / Recent
Just like in any android distribution you press and hold your home key to bring up the recently run app list (grid). Just like anything in MIUI they went further and here’s what we get:
Pressing and holding the Home key brings up the grid with 12 recently launched apps. There is an indicator on each icon, which shows you weather the app is running or not.
There are two buttons on the button of the screen: App Killer, which if pressed will kill all apps, and show how much memory you’ve just freed up. And App Manager, which sends you to the App Manager menu. Pressing and holding an app icon will send you to the apps’ management screen, where you can force stop the app, move it to SD, clear data etc.
Also worth mentioning is the built in Back Button killer. While in any app press and hold the back button, it will force close the app and clear it from the memory.

Visual Style
MIUI is beautiful. Being a multimedia / interface designer I know what I’m talking about. It’s simple and functional. It gives you the eyecandy stuff without going over the top. Obviously some themes are not up to scratch, like with any modding community, but the professionals make it look beautiful, and it’s all free.

Theme Engine
If you get bored with how your Android looks, dont't worry. The theme engine in MIUI is amazing. Not only you get lots of themes to choose from, but you can mix and match, taking the lockscreen from one theme, icons from another and fonts from yet another theme. There is a theme gallery online, so you can browse and download what you like. All nicely built in into the ROM and applying takes seconds. Here are the things you can customize:
  • Boot Animation (the one you’ve been flashing through recovery)
  • Boot Audio (any sound you like. Default is silent)
  • Custom Lockscreen (the way your lockscreen looks and functions)
  • Lockscreen wallpaper (self explanatory)
  • Icon (Icon Pack)
  • Status Bar (the way your notification/toggle bar looks)
  • Launcher (the way your launcher looks, including the status bar and dock)
  • Wallpaper
  • Font (choose a font for your android)
  • Text Style (how the SMS/MMS app will look)
  • Dialer Style (how the dialer app will look)
  • Ringtone
  • Notification
  • Alarm

Theme examples:
http://miuithemes.com/http://miuithemes.com/

Frequent updates
MIUI is updated on a weekly basis (dev branch) and mountly (stable). It's worth saying that dev branch is stable and errrors are extremly rare. Definately a DD. Updates come every Friday at 10am GMT with a full changelog. So you know there is a professional cordinated team behind this.


This is by no means all the things you get with MIUI, If you know more hidden features, or think that there are more features worth mentioning, please post them and i will update the post.

With enough information and user support I’m willing to begin a MIUI WIKI. And with the M1 phone on the horizon, there might be a lot of interest.



More info and links:​

Nice Overview:
MIUI 1.7.15 on HTC Desire HD

Quick List from Hoppermi

HOME SCREENS
(1) There is no App Drawer. Your apps are on your home screens(seemingly random) to the right of the clock screen. When you download a new app the shortcut will be found furthest to the right

(2) Launcher Dock can be populated up to six shortcuts by drag and drop. No custom shortcuts will drop here, but folders will! (hello app drawer)

(3) Edit Mode(long press on screen, or select from MENU). This will allow you to customize your home pages.
While in edit mode pressing the MENU button will bring up the add button for custom shortcuts, widgets, folders, and wallpapers.
Widget dropdown and wallpaper options are also accessible via buttons in the upper right and left hand corners of the screen.

(4) Folders are drag and drop(easiest in edit mode) Rename by selecting folder then press pen and paper button in top left. You can also sort your apps by dl order, alphabetically, or frequent use.

(5) Widgets- one of the coolest things about this launcher is the ability to add all of your widgets in one session. Simply drag widget from dropdown menu to desired thumbnail screen, you may have to adjust on screen placement later. Then grab the next one and repeat until you are done, AWESOME.

(6) Adding and removing home screens. You can view your homescreens in thumbnail fashion by tapping twice on the home button or pinching on the screen.
Once here you may add, move(drag and drop),remove(if it is empty)screens. I haven’t heard if there is a limit, but I think I read that someone had 20 or so.
The last screen you were at before entering this mode will be highlighted.
The defaut home screen will have just the home button highlighted. Just tap the little home button on the thumbnail to switch the default.

(7) Deleting Apps. Since there is no app drawer, when you drag a shortcut to the trash can it is going to ask if you would like to uninstall.
You may not uninstall system apps in this manner.

OTHER SETTINGS AND FEATURES
(8) Contacts – You may select custom ringtones for each contact if desired.
Swiping across a contact in the list will give an option to Delete.
In order to use the Favorite Contact widget that is included you need to add favorite contacts by pressing add to favorites button when you open the contact.

(9) Notification Bar - If you hadn’t noticed there is a scrollable toolbar at the bottom of the notification pulldown. It contains all of the power control widget functions plus a few more.


(10) Battery- Settings/Battery/ Battery indicator style gives 3 options for your battery status Graphically,Percentage, Top-Bar. Select your preference.
Power Saving Mode w/ many options for saving battery. When PSM is set to auto, and your battery gets below the selected threshhold, selected functions will not be available.
There is also an option to disable auto PSM.
Low battery alarm is percentage adjustable.

(11) Lock screen - You may change the wallpaper for the lockscreen in the same menu as normal wallpaper, select lockscreen wallpaper gallery to pick image from your SD card.
There are notification counters for Phone calls and Text messages. long pressing on the phone or texting icons will preview the missed calls or texts.
Unlocking with these icons will open directly to those apps.
For now the text notifications are tied to the MIUI MMS app. You must open the messages with that app to clear the notifications. The icon can be directed to handcent or other messaging app but notifications still come from MIUI MMS.(Edit:At least one user is reporting using ChompMMS and has lockscreen notifications working)
New locksreen music controls! Double tap lock icon, or play something and return to lock sreen.

(12) Task Killer - MIUI has a built in task killer. Long pressing on the home button brings up recent apps like normal, but has a button for task killing in the lower left, and a shortcut to App Manager on the lower right.

(13) Return to call button - You can leave the call screen to do other tasks, including browsing the web (WiFi only), during a call.
When you leave the call screen a button appears across the top of your screen that will return to the call screen so you can hang up.

(14) *228 Phone activation, reprogramming can be reached by dialing *228+.

(15) Settings Menu MIUI completely redid the settings menu, giving you four tabs at the bottom. Each tab has its own menu of settings, browse around to familiarize yourself with where your most used settings are located. You can now access settings for Gmail, MMS, GTalk, Calendar, and Browser, right from the main settings Menu. Just select Programs tab. (Why didn't I think of this.....oh yeah, I'm a building contractor)

(16) Themes MIUI changes the game once again with the addition of built-in themeing. In the settings menu press Personal tab/ Theme Manager or click on the Theme Manager Icon from the launcher. There are a couple preloaded. To add theme, dl, and move to MIUI/Themes on your SD card.
MIUI Theming allows for you to mix and match theme catagories. You select a System Style which will be the base for your personal theme. From there you can add features of other themes you have in your themes folder including, icons, fonts, text style, boot animation and boot audio.

(17) Screenshots Hold down on the menu button and press volume down to take a screenshot. Pics are in the MIUI folder on your SD card.

(18) MIUI Backup MIUI comes with its own backup utility. This allows you to backup and restore both apps and settings, including Launcher layout. Its a very simple backup utility. This only works for MIUI roms.

(19) Do Not Disturb mode MIUI now has support for blacklist/whitelist communication filtering. Settings/personal/DNDmode

(20) MMS Font color/ Background editor In MMS settings select themes and you will be presented with a menu that will allow you to change font color and backgrounds for your Conversation and In-Message screens. You may also select from several general MMS Themes.

(21) Personal Password Protection You can password protect Folders, dialer, SMS/MMS, and DNDMode.
Settings/Personal/ Security and Privacy Settings

(22) Visitor Mode Hides your call log and MMS msgs if you are letting someone use your phone or just showing it off. Long press power button, select Visitor Mode.

(23) MMS Favorites Tab Long pressing on a text message pops up a menu where you can forward, add to favorites, copy, get details, or delete. Selecting Favorites will add message to your Favorites Tab.

(24)MIUI Global Search App MIUI has added thier own search app. There is a widget. You can also access it by long pressing home to bring up recent apps and app killer then swipe right, notice the page dots at the top. Odd placement if you ask me, but there it is.

(25) Launcher Settings There are Launcher settings in the personal settings tab.
Keep in memory should always be on, and will prevent redraws.
Hi-res Graphics can be disabled and smooths out the launcher considerably, without any noticeable difference in appearance.
New Transitions settings in Launcher Settings=Sweet

(26) File Explorer has some nice features including a wireless sync for your PC. No need to plug in to access your SD. Just type the ftp address in the address bar of My Computer and you are in!

MMS/SMS Incorrect Timestamp Correction In MMS Settings/Advanced, Turn off Sort SMS by date (toggle left)
 
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dannejanne

Senior Member
Mar 23, 2011
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Örebro, Sweden
Thanks for the great info!

One question. Is there any way to use the lockscreen music controls for spotify instead? It worked on CM7 and I miss that a lot right now.

EDIT: nevermind got it to work this way:

setting ---> button settings ---> media button "take precedence to respond... spotify"
 
Last edited:
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slovoflud

Senior Member
Mar 3, 2008
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Thanks for the great info!

One question. Is there any way to use the lockscreen music controls for spotify instead? It worked on CM7 and I miss that a lot right now.

EDIT: nevermind got it to work this way:

setting ---> button settings ---> media button "take precedence to respond... spotify"
Thanks!
Updated the OP
 

Jibreil

Senior Member
Jan 11, 2007
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Thats a sweet guide buddy, but I dont quite agree with the fact of a AppDrawer as it kills the purpose of the MIUI interface (which is suppose to replicate the iOS experience).

If you know any of the MIUI chinese dev's please forward a crucial suggestion:
1). Include an option to Auto Arrange Launcher icons based on Alphabetical order, Most used & Automatically re-position the remaining icons starting from the top left of the screen when icons are moved or deleted from a particular page. (like iOS)
2). Clear individual notification - as seen on CM7 ROMs
3). Full Screen Caller ID option
4). Close folder after the app has been opened.
 
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slovoflud

Senior Member
Mar 3, 2008
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Thats a sweet guide buddy, but I dont quite agree with the fact of a AppDrawer as it kills the purpose of the MIUI interface (which is suppose to replicate the iOS experience).

If you know any of the MIUI chinese dev's please forward a crucial suggestion:
1). Include an option to Auto Arrange Launcher icons based on Alphabetical order, Most used & Automatically re-position the remaining icons starting from the top left of the screen when icons are moved or deleted from a particular page. (like iOS)
2). Clear individual notification - as seen on CM7 ROMs
3). Full Screen Caller ID option
4). Close folder after the app has been opened.
As stated above I don't know any developers, your best bet is to contact Mark from http://www.miuiandroid.com/ with your requests.

I don't agree that MIUI interface is supposed to replicate iOS, and putting a folder into your drawer is just a personal preference :) leave all your icons on the desktop if you wish :)
 

boredbutter

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2010
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Question...
Is there any way to make the home screens loop... A 360 degree effect... I hope I'm clear enough... :)

Sent from my Inspire 4G running BinDroid v1.2
If I help you at all... Please click "Thank You"
 

Are.Two

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Apr 1, 2011
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You should update your post with the new MI-Button feature for supported devices which are the MI-ONE, Milestone and DesireZ/G2 phones.

It can be found by going to Settings > System > Button Settings > MI Button

This feature allows you to program the button to do pretty much anything you want it to. Here are some screen shots:








On the Desire Z/G2, the camera button on the side becomes your MI Button. Quick pressing the button opens the option that you have programmed it to do, while long pressing the button (Again, on the G2) opens the camera.
 

slovoflud

Senior Member
Mar 3, 2008
873
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Question...
Is there any way to make the home screens loop... A 360 degree effect... I hope I'm clear enough... :)

Sent from my Inspire 4G running BinDroid v1.2
If I help you at all... Please click "Thank You"
no, not in the built in Launcher

LauncherPro has the option
 

slovoflud

Senior Member
Mar 3, 2008
873
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You should update your post with the new MI-Button feature for supported devices which are the MI-ONE, Milestone and DesireZ/G2 phones.

It can be found by going to Settings > System > Button Settings > MI Button

This feature allows you to program the button to do pretty much anything you want it to. Here are some screen shots:

On the Desire Z/G2, the camera button on the side becomes your MI Button. Quick pressing the button opens the option that you have programmed it to do, while long pressing the button (Again, on the G2) opens the camera.
Spot on!

I'm on G2 and love the Option (used to use it for Rotation toggle, and now set it it up to take screenshots)
Absolutely priceless.

Thanks, and First Post Updated!
 
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boredbutter

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Sep 17, 2010
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no, not in the built in Launcher

LauncherPro has the option
If I were to use LauncherPro, is it possible to either keep the Miui style launcher or recreate it with LP..?

Note: I am trying to set up Miui for a friend... I only have a very basic version on a dual-boot to show people... Thanx for all your help.

Sent from my Inspire 4G running BinDroid v1.2
If I help you at all... Please click "Thank You"
 
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steroid2011

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Aug 23, 2011
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been using miui rom ver. 1.6.17 for a month now. I might say this is a very good rom, but still have some bug. e.g. on the video recording there is a lag when you playback the recorded video and in some cases the phone reboot when you're playing games and someone call's you.. so far that's what I observe/experience in this rom..

but overall still loving this rom.
 

slovoflud

Senior Member
Mar 3, 2008
873
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If I were to use LauncherPro, is it possible to either keep the Miui style launcher or recreate it with LP..?

Note: I am trying to set up Miui for a friend... I only have a very basic version on a dual-boot to show people... Thanx for all your help.

Sent from my Inspire 4G running BinDroid v1.2
If I help you at all... Please click "Thank You"
Yes, it is possible to have MIUI Icons in the LauncherPro, but not widgets etc...
 
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knote

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is there a fix for mms? i am using jagulari's and i still haven't received a response after asking numerous times. pics i send and receive are tiny and blurry.