www.makeuseof.com Xiaomi Smartphones: Can You Trust Them With Your Data?

www.makeuseof.com Xiaomi Smartphones: Can You Trust Them With Your Data?

Xiaomi is now the largest smartphone manufacturer, taking over from Samsung and Apple in June 2021.

While they may not offer the best smartphones yet, Xiaomi thrives on value-for-money devices that seem too good to be true. However, they have been under constant scrutiny for their privacy practices and data collection methods.

So can you trust them with your data? Are users at risk when using Xiaomi devices?

Xiaomi’s Data Collection Problems: A Brief History

In 2020, Xiaomi was caught collecting data—even in incognito mode of the Mi browser. This included search queries and URLs.

Xiaomi denied the claims, but the security researchers presented evidence highlighting a different side of the story.

To fix things, Xiaomi also pushed an update that let users disable data collection in incognito mode. Even though such a feature shouldn't be needed for incognito mode, they added it to defend their data collection techniques.

Related: Is Incognito Mode Completely Secure?

They have also been accused of collecting excessive and unnecessary device usage data.

So, keeping all that in mind, Xiaomi doesn't have a good track record with its privacy practices.

Xiaomi’s Privacy Policies: Have They Improved?

Considering that Xiaomi wants to target the western market more than ever, they have updated their privacy policy to provide more clarity. Even though it may not be the best policy, they have improved a lot here.


Not just limited to its privacy policies, they have also made several changes to their Android skin (MIUI) to introduce several privacy-centric features like:

www.makeuseof.com Xiaomi Smartphones: Can You Trust Them With Your Data?

It is worth noting that the features offered in MIUI software may differ by country, but here, we're using the MIUI 12.5.5 global version as a reference.

What Should You Do if Privacy Is Your Priority?

For starters, you can look at options from Samsung, Motorola, and Nokia. But it all comes down to your budget and requirements when buying a smartphone.

Xiaomi devices have not yet made a dent in the western market, but they offer compelling device choices for the rest of the world.

Ranging from a low-end $200 device to some premium handsets, they have something for everyone.

In contrast to their software (or data collection methods), the hardware has proved to be on par with other Android smartphone manufacturers, if not better.

And, if you need access to better specifications on paper, you don't have many options. Whether it is OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo, or any other Chinese manufacturer, they all offer similar privacy policies.

Fret not: you can still choose a Xiaomi device and protect your privacy.

How to Protect Your Privacy on a Xiaomi Device

Android gives you the flexibility to tweak the privacy and security of your device, no matter what smartphone you have.

Even with a Xiaomi device, you can protect your privacy without having to worry about the data on your smartphone. You have to keep a few things in mind:

Related: All You Need to Know About Android App Permissions

Are Cheap Smartphones From Xiaomi Different Than the Rest?

Not necessarily. Every smartphone manufacturer collects anonymized device usage and some app usage data.

The differences arise when it comes to handling the data being recorded, transparency of data collection methods, and the privacy policy.

So, even if you opt for a smartphone with a better privacy policy, you should always be cautious and look for anything alarming from the manufacturer. After all, your smartphone holds a huge amount of data.

What's the Best Privacy-Focussed Android ROM?

Want to make your phone more private and secure? We compare LineageOS, CalyxOS, and GrapheneOS to see which you should use.

Read NextShareTweetEmailRelated TopicsAbout The AuthorAnkush Das(72 Articles Published)

A Computer Science graduate exploring the Cybersecurity space to help consumers secure their digital life in the simplest way possible. He's had bylines at various publications since 2016.

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