If you purchased a Mi MIX 2 and booted it up to find that Google services weren't a part of the experience, you aren't alone. If you yearn to convert your handset into a variant that does have Google apps and services, this is an available option, but you will be required to put in some work. If this is your first time here, you'll want to read the first part, as it will require you to wait 72 hours from when you have initialized the process, before you can proceed to the unlocking step.
After waiting 72 hours, it's time to once again, power down the Mi MIX 2, power it up into Fastboot mode, and plug it into the PC. With the Xiaomi unlocking tool ready to go, click the "unlock" button and hopefully you will see a screen similar to the one above, indicating that the unlock was a success. After the bootloader is unlocked, the phone will restart and take about a minute to fully boot into the OS. The device will boot to its initial setup screen, but it will have your Mi account information stored, only requiring the password for the account to be entered. After heading through the setup process, you will now be poised to install the global version of the OS.
You can do this by heading to the settings menu and heading into the Updater. If the phone did download an update for the OS, you might see a screen similar to the one above. You can ignore this and instead, tap the hamburger button in the upper right-hand corner and choose to install an update package instead.
The update package can be downloaded from the Mi website directly and loaded onto the phone using your PC. This step was covered in the first part, but if you haven't downloaded the update, be sure to do so. Once you have placed the update on your internal storage of the handset, you should be able to select it.
After applying the update, your handset should reboot, with a fresh install of a global Android OS with Google services. But, there is always a chance that you might run into trouble. There are plenty of things that can go wrong, but in the case of this attempt, it was that the update couldn't be verified.
The reason as to why it wasn't working wasn't very clear, only giving "other reason" as, well... the reason. Unfortunately, trying different solutions like renaming the ZIP file or moving the files to a different location on the internal storage did not lead to success, so it was time to try something else. At this point you will no doubt feel defeated but fear not, you can still recover from this mess and come out victorious. Just make sure to read things carefully, as your frustration might cause you to just glance over things and proceed with haste.
After doing a bit of research, it turns out that you can try and flash the OS onto your device using an external tool. You'll want to exercise caution and read directions carefully, as one bad step can leave your device bricked and not working. Xiaomi refers to this as the Fastboot update method. As mentioned before, it will require an external tool called the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool. Once you have installed this tool on your PC, you'll want to find the proper version of the OS and download it. The list is long, as it has ROMs for other Xiaomi handsets, so be sure to choose the right one, in this case, the Mi MIX 2 Global Stable version.
After the OS download is complete, you can put the Mi MIX 2 in fastboot mode once again, open the flashing tool and connect the handset. You will need to select the folder with the OS, but be sure to locate the proper zip file, as selecting the incorrect folder can give you an error. Once you have selected the right folder, hit the refresh button, which will show your device as being connected, and press the flash button. If everything goes well, it should start the flashing process and this will roughly take about two minutes.
When the flashing process is complete, your Mi MIX 2 will boot up and you should be able to use Google apps and services. As you can gather, this is quite an intense process and there are many tales online through different forums of failed attempts. Those that aren't able to figure it out are left stranded and defeated.
So just as a quick recap of the process:
- Wait 72 hours to unlock the bootloader
- Download the Xiaomi flashing tool
- Download the proper OS
- Flash the OS to the handset
As for myself, things went relatively smoothly, even after some failed attempts. But if you are planning on purchasing the Mi MIX 2, be sure to secure a global version that already has Google services. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below or through Twitter.
I'd like to extend a big 'Thank You' to the folks at GearBest who supplied the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2. If you would like to purchase the handset, you can head to the GearBest website, where it starts at $469.