Xiaomi releases software update to make MIUI Cloud Messaging optional
Following some privacy concerns raised in the recent past, Xiaomi has released a software update (KXDMIBF23.0) today for its Mi smartphones including the popular Xiaomi Mi3. The software update is designed to make Apple’s iMessage-like MIUI Cloud Messaging service optional from the user-end.
Xiaomi Mi smartphones have pre-installed MIUI Cloud Messaging service to provide free exchange of text messages by routing messages via an IP instead of using the carrier’s SMS gateway. This routing process anonymously stores SIM and device identifiers on to Xiaomi servers which include user phone number, IMSI and IMEI numbers.
As the process starts automatically and does not ask users about any activation, it recently raised privacy concerns. A recent article in Taiwan and a related report by F-Secure posted on Thursday became headlines by highlighting that Xiaomi devices are sending phone numbers to the company’s servers in China.
Xiaomi Global Vice President Hugo Barra gave an update earlier today through his Google+ post which clarifies the facts behind the MIUI Cloud Messaging service that became a troublesome for the emerging company. Barra says, “As we believe it is our top priority to protect user data and privacy, we have decided to make MIUI Cloud Messaging an opt-in service and no longer automatically activate users.”
“We apologize for any concern caused to our users and Mi fans. We would also like to thank the media and users who have been sending us feedback and suggestions, allowing us to improve and provide better Internet services,” he added.
As Barra said, the today’s software update is designed to make the MIUI Cloud Messaging service an opt-in service. This means that after installing the update on their Mi smartphones, new users or users who factory reset their devices can enable the MIUI Cloud Messaging service by visiting Settings > Mi Cloud > Cloud Messaging from their home screen or Settings > Cloud Messaging inside the Messaging app. In addition, some other places are also available within the interface to turn off the Cloud Messaging service.
Though the software update is available as an over-the-air (OTA) update and is being notified through a push notification, users can manually check the update by going through Settings > About phone and tapping System updates.
The prompt response on the privacy concern helps Xiaomi in maintaining its image on the worldwide smartphone buyers. The Beijing based company, which started its business from China and recently arrived to India, is claiming to remain open to make changes and improvements to provide its customers a private and secure service.