The Xiaomi Mi Mix is likely going to be the phone of the year based off its bezel-less design alone.... [+] Now, if only the notifications would work out of the box... Photo: Ben Sin
In the eight days since I published my review of Xiaomi's pioneering Mi Mix -- which mentioned MIUI's aggressive battery optimization set-up killing push notifications -- I've received half a dozen emails and tweets asking how I managed to fix the problem. I responded to each query one by one at first, before I realized I should just write a quick guide on here instead.
Push notifications not coming through is not an uncommon problem on Xiaomi phones (and Huawei phones, too). Do a Google search of the problem and dozens and dozens of results pop up: so much that I wonder if this is even an oversight/bug at all (maybe Chinese phonemakers just don't believe in push notifications, period). I, too, did my fair of Googling to try to fix the problem, but I found that most solutions available on the web have been inadequate. They usually suggest going into app notifications within settings and giving the app top priority, and to make sure the app is excluded from the phone's battery optimization features. Well, those two steps alone weren't enough to fix the broken notification problem on my Huawei P9 Plus or Xiaomi Mi Note 2/Mi Mix. Instead, it took me an hour or two of trial and error, going into every setting and turning this on and that off, before I found a solution.
So here goes the five steps that fixed broken notifications for my Xiaomi Mi Mix and the Xiaomi Mi Note 2, which run Xiaomi's latest software, MIUI 8. Please note that I'm not 100% sure all five steps are required -- all I know is I tried steps 1, 2, 3 first, and my notifications didn't work. I tried 2, 3, 4, and it didn't work. It wasn't until I added step 5 did push notifications began coming through on time. There is a chance that step 5 is all you need. Since battery life on both my Xiaomi phones remain excellent after all five steps, I just left it. I suggest you try step 5 first to see if that alone fixes the problem. If not, then just do all five steps. I assure you the battery life on Xiaomi's new phones will remain strong.
1: Go to settings --> manage apps' battery usage --> choose apps. From there, pick all the apps you want to receive push notifications and select "No restrictions."
2: Go to settings --> permissions --> autostart. From there, pick the apps you want to receive notifications, and toggle the switch to turn it on.
3: Go to settings --> app notifications --> pick the apps you want to receive notifications, then turn the toggle for "Priority" on.
4: Lock the app in the "recent apps"/ "app overview" plane. Do so by first opening the apps, then press the "recent apps/overview button" (that's the square button on stock Android, or the button with three horizontal lines on the Mi Mix). From there, find the app you want to receive notifications, pull down on it to "lock it", so it never gets cleared.
5: This last step requires Developer Options privileges. To enable that, go to settings (man... I'm getting tired of typing "go to settings" ...) --> about phone --> tap on MIUI version tab like eight times. You should then get a little message saying "you are now a developer." Then head back out to settings, go to developer option, scroll to nearly the bottom, find "memory optimization," and turn it off.
Again, maybe step 5 is all you need. I know my Whatsapp and Gmail notifications didn't start coming through in real time until I completed that step.
I want to reiterate that the MIUI is a great Android skin, and one of my favorites (along with Meizu's Flyme and LG's UI). The broken notification thing is frustrating at first, but once you fix it, then the phone is (to quote my man Flossy Carter), a major go.
Oh yeah, if you have a Huawei phone and suffering from the same problem, here's a guide on how to fix that too.