How to improve the security of Xiaomi: Learn how to configure the privacy of MIUI

If you are a person who is very concerned that the information stored on your Xiaomi device may be exposed (mainly photos, videos, and documents), then we want to tell you that you have come to the right place.

That’s right, because in this article we want to tell you everything you need to know to maintain the integrity of all your data stored in your Xiaomi, thanks to the features provided by MIUI.

Manage application permissions

An important step. If you want to protect your privacy from applications, you will need to monitor the permissions granted to each of them. It’s important to know that there are applications that require some permissions to work properly, so if you disable them they may fail or you may be asked for them again.

To manage permissions, go to your phone’s settings and enter the Privacy section. Once there, we tap on “Permissions Manager” and we will find an extensive list of permissions. When we touch on each permission we will be able to observe the apps that ask for it. We will explain you each permission in the list, so you can have a better idea:

Storage: The applications ask for this permission to access our memory and check any type of file we have there. Like photos or documents.

Physical Activity: Your device collects your physical activity, this data is generally shared to fitness or exercise applications such as Google Fit.

Microphone: If we grant this permission, the application will be able to use our microphone to make recordings. It is often used in applications involving voice messages.

Calendar: With this permission the application will be able to access our calendar, check the appointments we have in it, and even add new events.

Contacts: The application will be able to see the contacts we have added and will have the possibility to intervene with their data. This is generally used in social networks apps to show us which of our contacts have an account.

Call log: The application will have access to monitor the calls we have made and received.

Camera: The application will be able to access our camera. Commonly used in social network apps, when we are going to take a picture inside the application.

SMS: With this permission, the app will be able to observe the messages we have sent and received.

Location: The app will have access to our GPS data. We will explain this better later.

Phone: Permission to access our phone application and make calls in our place.

Body sensors: Permission to interact with the device’s biometric sensors. For example, when an application uses our fingerprint scanner to verify if it is us.

Additional permissions: Permissions that may have been established by our phone company.

When we touch any of these permissions, a list of applications that use it will be displayed. We can deny and allow the permission to the app we want. If we deny a permission that the application requires to work, it will give us the option to grant it again, but it will be up to you.

Protect with Screen Lock

Protecting your screen-locked cell phone is an essential step in securing your device. The first thing we need to do is to establish a password through a PIN code or a Pattern.

To do this, we enter the configuration of our mobile and go to the “Security” section. There we can see our different blocking options. Generally, these are the 4 available:

Face Unlock: By setting this option, only our face and the faces of people we trust will have access to our phone.

Fingerprint Unlock: We will be able to configure one or more fingerprints to have access to the device.

Password: Our phone will be able to be unlocked with a pattern drawn on the screen, a PIN code or a typed password.

Unlock with Bluetooth device: With this option, the phone will remain unlocked when it is paired with Bluetooth devices that we assign. Devices such as smartwatch or headphones.

Be careful with location permission

One of the main features of Android 10 and Xiaomi MIUI is its redesigned location permission. To manipulate this permission, we go to our device settings, go to Privacy and go back to Permission Manager.

Within the Permission Manager, we tap on “Location” (which will appear almost last). Again, a list of applications will appear, this time divided into 3 groups: Those that have the permission when you use them, those that have the permission continuously and those that don’t have the permission to access. Touch on those apps you want to configure.

When you have tapped on an app, you will be presented with a list of options, you can deny its access, allow its access permanently or only if it is being used. If permission is enabled only when the app is in use, we can prevent the app from tracking our location in the background. Although this is not always effective, there are applications that will require permission on a permanent basis for their functions to be maintained without opening.

Prevent some applications from collecting data

MIUI opens up the possibility of withdrawing permissions from applications with the function of collecting your usage data. To do this, let’s go to the configuration of our phone and go to the “Passwords and Security” section.

Once there, we go to the bottom of the section, where we will tap on the “Authorization and Revocation” option at the end. By doing this, we will access to a list of applications that are in our device, and to the right of each one we will find an activated switch, when we turn it off we are denying our data to be collected from that application.

If you turn the switch off, it will leave a small warning that the data access to that application will be discarded, but that any data it has collected will also be deleted, which could affect its operation. As this is a strong decision, the operating system forces you to wait a few seconds before making the decision.

MIUI Permission Manager

Many cell phone companies usually have their own permission managers, Xiaomi being one of them. To access this manager, go to the configuration of your device, where you will tap on the “Security Protection” section.

We can see that the first part is very similar to the permissions manager we mentioned before, but arranged in a simpler way. In the beginning of this manager we will find the most important permissions that you must know to maintain your privacy, then, the “All Permissions” button that takes us to the permissions manager of Android, which we already know.

Further below this manager, we will see the “Special permissions” option, where we can manipulate which applications have access to elements, such as battery performance, which apps can modify system settings or which apps can access the “Do not disturb” mode to activate it. You will have to select each option and modify the behavior of the applications at your convenience.

Deactivate the sending of samples.

The official Android Store application has a security system that sends samples of all the applications you own from time to time to look for threats. If you want to keep your privacy to an extent, and don’t want to send this data, you can disable the option in exchange for making the device a little more vulnerable.

To do so, enter the Play Store, go to its menu, and touch on the “Play Protect” option. We will go to the interface of this security system, where we will click on the gear button, at the right corner. You will be on a screen with two options, to disable the sending of samples disable the “Scan apps with Play Protect” option. You can also deactivate the sending of unknown applications so that Google can’t know what you are installing outside their store.

Remember, by taking this step, you are putting your security at risk, but it is a good option if you are looking to restrict your privacy as much as possible.