The ROM That Let Mi Down


This is the new MIUI for tablets. I installed it on my Nexus 7 yesterday so that you won’t have to.

V5 of the MIUI ROM, based on Android 4.4 KitKat, is already available for a number of popular handsets—mostly Samsungs for us here in the west. But this particular build of MIUI V5 is unique to tablet computers; it’s supposedly the same ROM that you’ll get on Xiaomi’s recently-announced Mi Pad.

But shortly after it was flashed on my Nexus 7 MIUI was unceremoniously wiped. Here’s why…

MIUI Portrait

Oh right, MIUI doesn’t have an app drawer. Try as I might I couldn’t come up with 24 separate folders for my apps; best I could do was ten.

MIUI Landscape

… Which end up looking like this when you flip to landscape mode. Hooray!

As a former MIUI user, I endured this inconvenience in exchange for MIUI’s two killer features: custom theming and a built-in permissions manager for apps. So let’s get started and theme this thing!

MIUI Options

Long-press on the second home screen and you’ll be presented with an option to change your wallpaper. That’s a bit odd, as older versions of MIUI had a dedicated theme manager app.

MIUI Wallpaper

Here are the installed wallpapers. I’ll choose the online option; surely I’ll be able to download a theme from there…?

MIUI Online Wallpapers

Apparently not.

In days of old you could change not only your wallpaper but your lockscreen, icons, system font, even boot animation. This here? This is just lame.

At least we still have the legendary LBE Privacy Guard. The English version stopped working with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but the baked-in MIUI code should be good to go.

MIUI Security

Only problem is, I can’t seem to find it. It’s not in the security settings…

MIUI Permissions

And if I go to the apps manager I can see the egregious permissions required by the Yahoo Mail app (for example), but I can’t actually do anything about it. That sucks.

I could, of course, install App Ops via Xposed and reign in app permissions that way, but I’m still left with a ROM I can’t theme—unless I install the older MI Launcher, which seems a bit… unnecessary.

Maybe it’s a temporary problem and these issues will be addressed in newer versions of the ROM. If you’re still interested in MIUI for the Nexus 7, check out these links:

And if you’ve a recommendation for another Nexus 7 custom ROM, I’m all ears!