Xiaomi will pre-install Google Phone and Messages apps on all Global and European phones
Xiaomi’s MIUI software experience is one that invites polarized opinions. Compared to Android on the Pixel, MIUI provides a very different experience from the way it looks to the way it behaves with apps and notifications. It is certainly polished in many areas and has improved greatly in the past few years, but it’s still a heavily customized experience as of MIUI 11. In most versions of MIUI, Xiaomi usually includes its own suite of apps to streamline the user experience, but now, it seems that Xiaomi will be borrowing taking a few pages from the Pixel experience as well.
Going forward, Xiaomi devices sold outside of China, India, or Indonesia will include Google’s Messages and Phone apps instead of their MIUI equivalents. Xiaomi says that this move was made to abide by privacy laws and restrictions in certain regions, which likely refers to regulations in the European Union. We should note that Xiaomi has shipped these two Google apps on some of their phones already. For instance, in my Redmi Note 8 Pro review, I noted that the device came with Google’s dialer and messages app out of the box. The same is true for the Mi 9T Pro that launched in Europe in late August of 2019. What this announcement means, therefore, is that all new devices sold with the European Economic Area (EEA) or global (Global) MIUI software builds will have these two apps pre-installed.
While many of you will appreciate having Google’s dialer app on board (even if you can’t access some of the Pixel-exclusive features like Call Screen), there is one downside to note of this transition: you won’t be able to record calls anymore. That’s because the Google Phone app doesn’t support call recording, whereas its MIUI equivalent does. The forum post does state that this feature will be “obtainable again in 2020,” though, so that means call recording will be available sometime later this year.
Update 1: Shortly after publishing this article, we were informed that Russian versions of MIUI also have Google’s dialer app pre-installed. We have corrected our mention of this.