Xiaomi plans to slow down charging on some devices in China with third-party replacement batteries
It looks like Xiaomi is planning to go the Apple route and start showing a warning on its smartphones if the user installed a third-party battery. Not only that, the company may even slow down the charging speed.
Xiaomi recently rolled out version 5.6.0 of the Mi Security app, an app that, among other things, offers battery care and charging settings. Within it, we discovered that the company plans to show a warning and lower the charging speed if the OS detects that an “unauthorized” battery has been installed in the device. The warning tells the user that the phone’s battery should “only be replaced by an authorized service provider” and that using an “unauthorized” battery can cause damage to the device or user.
After digging into the APK’s code, we determined that this “unauthorized battery” warning will only be shown to Chinese users who do a third-party battery replacement on the Mi 9, Mi 10, or Mi 10 Pro. This warning will NOT be shown in any other region or on any other devices, at least for now. We don’t know if the warning is active or not for users with those devices in China, as a server-side flag determines the check.
The following warning will be shown to users when the system detects an unauthorized battery is installed.
This device was equipped with a built-in battery that should only be replaced by an authorized service provider. Replacing the battery elsewhere may damage this device. Using unauthorized batteries may result in battery swelling, overheating, and leakage, It may also cause fire or other hazards. Do note use unauthorized batteries.
The attached screenshots show what the unauthorized battery dialog and activity will look like.
This news will immediately bring up comparisons to Apple, which famously introduced a feature to notify users if their iPhone’s battery was not installed by a certified technician. Apple was criticized for this move, with many saying the company only wanted to steer users towards more expensive battery replacements.
On iPhones, the warning is triggered by a micro-controller that can only be configured by an authorized technician. Xiaomi might be using a similar mechanism to detect third-party batteries, but we don’t have any evidence regarding the same.
The warnings that Xiaomi will throw up also seem designed to scare off users from doing third-party repairs. There may be a legitimate reason for the company to do this if using third-party batteries results in damage due to them not being able to handle fast charging.
For now, this change seems to be limited to China. We haven’t found evidence if Xiaomi plans to extend this to other markets such as India and Europe down the road. In any case, we have reached out to Xiaomi to learn more about their reasoning behind this change and will update this article if we receive a response from the company.