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This is how you start the process of unlocking the bootloader on a Mi MIX 2

The Xiaomi Mi MIX that was released in 2016 was quite a rare handset. If you could get your hands on it from third-party vendors, it was a fairly pricey investment. Luckily, its successor, the Mi MIX 2, is more readily available. If you have yet to make your purchase, buy the Global variant! This is probably the most important decision because if you do not, the model meant for Asia will not give you native access to Google's services and apps. There are quite a few versions of the handset available so make sure you are purchasing the right one.

Now, if you did not purchase the proper version and want to change it, the first thing you'll want to do after you have received your imported model is to start the process of unlocking the bootloader. The reason you'll want to start this process immediately is that it will take 72 hours. Once the bootloader is unlocked, you will be able to install the Global version of the OS with support for Google apps and services. For some reason, Xiaomi makes the process a little more difficult to get things going.

Before you even start, double check your firmware version. You can do this by heading to the settings menu, "my device" area, and heading into the "all specs" section. In that area, you should be able to see which MIUI version your Mi MIX 2 is running. If it doesn't say global, next unlock the developer options, and check to see if the handset has its bootloader unlocked. If you see the screen above, strap yourself in and get ready for an intense process.

After you've double checked the settings of your phone, you'll want to head to the Xiaomi unlocking website. It will look like the image above and will grant you access to the tools you need to unlock the bootloader. By clicking the "unlock now" portion, you'll start the process which will require you to create a Mi account using an email and also enter your phone number. The phone number is required because the firm will text you when your unlock has been approved. Once approved, you can head back to the unlocking website and download the tool. When you download the tool, you'll be required to log in using your Mi account.

At this point, you'll want to head to the MIUI website and locate the model of your phone. This website will allow you to download various versions of the OS, including the global version for the Mi MIX 2. The site also has instructions on how to flash the new OS onto the phone and this should be read carefully. For now, you can start the download, but the flashing will be performed at a later time.

In order to prepare to unlock your handset's bootloader, open the unlocking tool on your PC, shut down your phone, then power it back on by holding the power button simultaneously with the volume down key and it should enter "fast boot" mode, which you can see in the image above. After you see this screen on your smartphone, you can plug it into your PC.

If you have done everything correctly up until this point, you'll only need to click "unlock" button in the tool to successfully free the bootloader. Unfortunately, this might not be the case and you may see errors. While there are plenty of things that can go wrong, the issue that personally occurred was that the software found that the device was not associated with a Mi account. If this does occur, you can head to the Mi Unlock Status menu, seen in the second image of this post, and click the button on the bottom that states "add account and device". Now, this is where things can get complicated, with various error messages that can arise. In this case, it was error "10008" which after searching online could be remedied by using a VPN app. You will most likely have to download whatever VPN app of your choice from an APK host, as long as you can set the server to Shanghai, China.

Once you run the VPN app and connect to a server in Shanghai, once again click on the "add account and device" button in the Mi Unlock Status menu and it should be successful. After this is complete, shut down the phone, put it into fast boot mode, and reconnect it to the PC. Start the unlock process using the Mi Unlock tool and this time, if the stars are aligned properly, it should move past the verifying step and onto the unlocking section. You will most likely get the message in the image above, which is normal, as Mi requires 72 hours for a request to be processed. At the time of writing, personally, there are still 50 hours left before the unlock process can be tested.

So just as a quick recap of the process:

  1. Check to see if your Mi MIX 2 is running the global version of the OS
  2. Check if the bootloader is unlocked
  3. Sign up for a Mi account and download the unlock tool from Xioami​
  4. Set your device into "fast boot" mode and connect it to the PC
  5. Fix any errors that may occur and unlock your handset

The list above is just a rough outline of the process. There will be second write-up once the timer has counted down to zero, but now you can hopefully understand why this is the first thing you'll want to do when you buy an imported Mi MIX 2, as the 72-hour wait is quite brutal.

If you have any other questions about the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2, be sure to comment or ask on 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.

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