Wednesday, July 6, 2022

How to Install and Use the Mi Flash Tool

For those who want to modify their Xiaomi phones, the Mi Flash Tool is a must. Primarily used as a means of allowing for fastbooting, Mi Flash Tool can be incredibly useful for both tech heads and novices alike. Here we will take a look at some of the applications of Xiaomi’s Mi Flash Tool, how to install it, and some common questions regarding the software.

Uses of Mi Flash Tool

The Mi Flash tool has two main purposes, though only one is officially supported. These functions are recovery, and modification. If your Xiaomi phone has been bricked or encounters errors that are persistent regardless of settings and backtracking, then the Mi Flash Tool is a must for setting things right. Mi Flash Tool is also a required tool for those Xiaomi owners who wish to jailbreak their devices. While not officially supported as a means to do so, exploiting the fastboot and repair protocols can allow for the installation of custom operating systems, unregulated apps, and disrupt any third party monitoring of the Xiaomi system. Do keep in mind that if your desire is to jailbreak your phone, it will likely void the warranty, and has the risk of deleting your data. Be sure you wish to take that risk, and subsequently back up your data in your preferred method well before attempting the use of Mi Flash Tool.

How to Install the Mi Flash Tool

If planning to keep Xiaomi's MIUI OS, Mi PC is a great tool to pair with the flash tool.
If planning to keep Xiaomi’s MIUI OS, Mi PC is a great tool to pair with the flash tool.

To start installing the Mi Flash Tool, one must download the proper software suite. Usually this would require activity on the Xiaomi forums or social media to allow for unlocks of the software to occur, but by following this link, you can get a direct link to the .zip files of the most recent version. Another useful tool in case you aren’t aiming to jailbreak your phone, the Mi PC Suite (think of iTunes for Xiaomi) is also available, here. Now that either one or both of the files have downloaded, unzip the folder(s). For Mi Flash, there should be an executable by the name of MiFlashSetup.msi. Double click on this file and it will start up the installation wizard.

Continue through the installation process by selecting the Next button as needed. If you have an anti-virus program or firewall installed, a warning is likely to pop up regarding a lack of publishing identity for the program. Select to install this driver software regardless, and then select Finish after a few moments. Now on your phone, be sure to go to settings and ensure that the USB computer connection and Media Transfer Device options are both enabled.

After these steps, you should have your Mi Flash Tools available for use. For the Mi PC Suite, installation is nearly identical save the need to change phone settings. This pair of programs will allow you a great deal of flexibility in customizing your device.

Using the Mi Flash Tool

Depending on both the software version and phone used, this prompt may appear on your phone. Follow the steps shown above to ensure proper installation.
Depending on both the software version and phone used, this prompt may appear on your phone. Follow the steps shown above to ensure proper installation.

Now that you have properly installed the Mi Flash Tool, let’s check out the steps of how to use it to the maximum benefit of your device.  First and foremost, to use Mi Flash to the greatest extent, a second program must be downloaded, namely the Fastboot ROM which can be found here. After downloading and unzipping the file, be sure to restart your PC. Then, plug your phone into the PC after setting it to Fastboot Mode by pressing both the Power button and Volume Down buttons for a few moments. Then, open Mi Flash Tools  and select Browse in the upper left hand corner. Select the Fastboot ROM folder in your phone (this may take some searching as various phones have slightly different locations for this folder) and press okay once it has been selected. Then, select the browse button once again, but this time click on Advanced. You will then need to select the proper flash files you wish to use (which  will be a .bat). For windows users, if there is significant technical problems, select flash_all.bat , otherwise flash_all_except_data_storage.bat may be your best bet. For Linux, these files will be listed under .sh instead of .bat.

After making your flash selection, hit refresh, then select your device, which by this time should be appearing, and select flash. After waiting a few moments for the software to complete its work, you should have a perfectly functional phone once again. To change Xiaomi from the MIUI OS to another (such as Cryogen OS options) please see the article mentioned within the answer for the first Common Question.

Common Questions about Mi Flash Tool

Can I use the Mi Flash Tool to switch to custom Android ROMs?

In short, yes. You will need to connect the phone to the computer and run the flash tool alongside some other tools (mentioned in our previous article here), but you can install custom ROMs and even Windows OS onto Xiaomi devices.

Is this illegal/ will this break my warranty/ can I get in trouble for this?

No, there is nothing illegal mentioned in this article. However, there can be some consequences in installing custom ROMs, namely a voiding of warranty. For this reason, tinkering with your phone and learning how the software of your phones work is highly encouraged, as is a sense of Do It Yourself exploration and maintenance.

If I update or change ROMs using Mi Flash Tool, will I lose my data?

Yes, one should always expect that when altering a phone’s internal settings using an outside tool that data loss is a possibility. As a result, backing up your data is essential.

Cody Carmichael
University graduate in Psychology, and health worker. On my off time I'm usually tinkering with tech or traveling to the ends of the globe.
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