[Guide] Mi4c ROMs: Guide for Beginners

The Tampered/Vendor ROM that came pre-installed by default on some of the newly bought Mi4c on 3rd party sellers/online sellers have several issues like overheating and obstructive ads.

Because of such issues, it is recommended to flash/install Official/Custom ROMs on Mi4c.

But what are this Tampered/Vendor/EU/Custom ROMs/flashing they are talking about and what is the recommended ROM to install upon receiving your device? Read below to find out.


What is an Android ROM?

Flash memory holds the Android’s firmware, the same as most other devices with an embedded OS. A ROM is a read only memory chip that provides unalterable storage of programs and data.

An Android ROM is an operating system file, which is easily alterable.

Source: PCMag


What does ROM flashing means?

Flashing a custom ROM” basically means to load/install a different version of the Android OS. This site actually explains it very well. Stock ROMs are the mostly what is installed by default on many Android smartphones. A custom ROM is the full Android OS customized by the ROM builder usually to make it faster, provide better battery-life or add new features.

Source: Android StackExchange


What is a bootloader?

In literal terms, bootloader is code that is executed before any Operating System starts to run. The concept of bootloaders is universal to virtually all Operating systems that inculcates operating systems on your PC, laptop, smartphones, and other such devices. Bootloaders basically package the instructions to boot operating system kernel and most of them also have their own debugging or modification environment. As the bootloader kicks off before any piece of software on your device, it makes it extremely processor specific and every motherboard has it’s own bootloader. This is one reason that all Android phones have different Custom ROMS developed due to high variance of processing hardware present on the device.

A locked bootloader restricts direct user access to the system, thereby preventing flashing custom ROMs, custom recovery, flashable zips, altering system and sometimes, the recovery mode. Thereby, unlocking the bootloader gives access to these alterations to the Android system.

Source: Addictivetips


What is Tampered/Vendor ROM?

  • Tampered/Vendor ROM – the default ROM installed on some of the newly bought Mi4c devices. Xiaomi Mi4c is only released on China, thus the original ROM is modified by the vendors to add Google Play functionality, but somewhat adding several issues and bugs. This is not their original ROM, thus, they are unofficial ROM releases.

Differences between Tampered ROM, Official China ROM and EU ROM

Tampered/Vendor ROM

  • MIUI based
  • Default ROM that comes pre-installed on some NEW Mi4c devices
  • Comes with an unlocked bootloader (temporarily) and Google Playstore
  • Have heating issues, adware, bloatware, bugs at cannot use OTA update

Official China ROM

  • MIUI based
  • Original/Official ROM that should be installed on Mi4c devices
  • NO Google Play Store installed by default
    • Follow this guide to install Google Playstore: Blog Link
  • Chinese apps/features (especially online content)
    • You can always set English as the default system language
    • You can uninstall some Chinese apps and change the keyboard by installing other keyboard apps
  • Installed using system updater, recovery mode or fastboot mode (using MiFlash)
  • BOOTLOADER WILL LOCK once installed
    • Not able to enter recovery mode
    • Not able to flash ng custom recovery, custom rom or tweaks
    • Not able to root using Kingroot/SuperSU
    • You should to apply to Xiaomi for official unlocking
      • Apply for unlocking your Mi Device here: Site Link
      • Guide for unlocking bootloader is also here: Site Link
  • Can be incrementally updated via OTA or install full size ROM update via system updater/recovery mode
  • Can replace Tampered ROMs by installing via system updater/recovery mode
  • Go here for Official Mi4c China ROMs download: Site Link
    • China Stable – more stable, less bugs, less update frequency, less features
    • China Developmental – more up-to-date features, weekly updates, less stable, more bugs
  • More info below regarding Stable and Developmental builds

EU ROM

  • MIUI based
  • Like the Official China ROMs, EU ROMs are the same in terms of functionality and aesthetics, but has ton of improvements, enhancements, tweaks and additional features
  • Google Play store functionality
  • No Chinese apps/features
  • Flashing this ROM WILL NOT LOCK your bootloader
    • Flashing the MIUI 8 Nougat ROMs WILL LOCK your bootloader
      • Not be able to enter recovery mode
      • Previously installed TWRP v3.0.2 recovery will be erased (TWRP v3.0.3 and newer will not be erased)
        • Flash TWRP v3.0.3 or newer
        • How to flash TWRP: Blog Link
      • Not able to flash ng custom recovery, custom rom or tweaks via fastboot
      • You should to apply to Xiaomi for official unlocking
        • Apply for unlocking your Mi Device here: Site Link
        • Guide for unlocking bootloader is also here: Site Link
  • Custom ROM, needs custom recovery (ex: TWRP) to be installed
    • Guide here to install ROMs via TWRP recovery: Blog Link
  • Go here for additional details and EU ROMs download: Forum Link
    • EU Stable – more stable, less bugs, less update frequency, less features
    • EU Developmental – more up-to-date features, weekly updates, less stable, more bugs
  • More info below regarding Stable and Developmental builds

Custom ROM

  • These ROMs are created, modified or ported from other devices to run on your device. These ROMs might have similarities or differences in terms of design & aesthetics, functionality and features. They might also come with bugs not present in stock ROMs, please read the changelogs, buglist and notes of these ROMs.
  • Notable examples of Custom ROMs  for Mi4c are EU/Globe/MultiROMs (MIUI based), CyanogenMod, LineageOS, Resurrection Remix, AICP, Slim, Mokee, FlymeOS and many more.
  • These ROMs need a working custom recovery (ex: TWRP) to be installed.

Differences between MIUI Stable and Developmental builds

  • Official Stable and Developer ROMs are made by MIUI Official
    • Some Custom MIUI ROMs also has both Stable and Developer builds. But they are NOT Official ROMs because they are Custom/Modified MIUI ROMs

Stable ROMs

  • Are updated every month, two months or even longer. They don’t have a regular update frequency.
    • You should use the stable builds if you are not eager to experience new features, just want a stable working device and don’t have much knowledge and time on regularly flashing ROMS your phone etc.

Developer ROMs

  • Are updated every week (except for special occasions like Chinese national holidays) and they should get faster bug fixes and new features in every update
    • Developer ROM versions are named after the date of its release. E.g. the update released at June 13, 2014 is named 4.6.13
    • You might want to use developer builds if you want the bleeding edge features and updates but more unstable device. Have the time, resources, patience and knowledge for regular flashing

Source: en.MIUI


What are the differences between Recovery and Fastboot MIUI ROMs?

Recovery ROM

  • This is a ROM (zip file) you can install via Mi Recovery or System Updater. Most of the time, this is the type of ROM you want to install if you want to update to a new version. Flashing a Recovery ROM will not wipe user data or files in internal storage.

Fastboot ROM

  • This is a ROM (tgz file) created to be flashed using a flash tool or in our case, MiFlash Tool. You need a Windows based computer to use MiFlash tool and install the ROM. Before installing this ROM type, you can also choose if you want to wipe user data or not.

Source: en.MIUI


What are Stock and Custom Recovery?

Stock Recovery

  • Android devices come with Google’s recovery environment, which is often referred to as the “stock recovery.” You can boot to the recovery system by pressing device-specific buttons as your phone or tablet boots or by issuing an adb command that boots your device to recovery mode. The recovery menu provides options to help recover your device — for example, you can reset your device to its factory default state from here. The recovery mode can also be used to flash OTA update files. if you want to flash a new ROM to your device — or re-flash the factory default ROM file — you’ll need to boot to recovery mode first.
  • The stock recovery is a minimal, limited system. It’s designed to be ignored, and it can generally only flash OTA updates and ROMs provided by the device’s manufacturer, not third-party ROMs.

Custom Recovery

  • A custom recovery is a third-party recovery environment. Flashing this recovery environment onto your device replaces the default, stock recovery environment with a third-party, customized recovery environment. This is a bit like flashing a custom ROM like CyanogenMod — but, instead of replacing your device’s Android operating system, it replaces the recovery environment.
  • A custom recovery environment will do the same things as the stock Android recovery. However, it will also have additional features. Custom recoveries often have the ability to create and restore device backups. Custom recoveries allow you to install custom ROMs.
  • Notable examples: TeamWin Recovery Project (TWRP) Recovery, ClockworkMod (CWM) Recovery, Carliv Touch (CTR) Recovery,  Philz Recovery, Cyanogen Recovery, etc.

Source: HowtoGeek


What is the recommended ROM to install?

It highly depends on your usage and knowledge regarding flashing recovery and ROMs.

China ROMs

  • Recommended for casual users who just want the original and stock MIUI experience without the hassle of unlocking bootloader and rooting their phones. Install via system updater or Mi Recovery.
  • Guide here: How to install Official China ROMs

EU ROMs

  • Recommended for advanced users and for those who want the same MIUI experience from China ROMs, but are also experienced and comfortable in advanced flashing, console commands and tweaks. Installed via TWRP recovery.
  • Guide here: How to Flash Custom ROMs

Custom ROMs

  • Recommended for advanced users and those who want a different/stock Android experience on their devices, but are also experienced and comfortable in advanced flashing, console commands and tweaks. Installed via TWRP recovery.
  • Guide here: How to Flash Custom ROMs

Notes

  • Because Mi4c is released exclusively in China, there will be NO MIUI Global ROM releases for it.
  • Feel free to comment your suggestions, recommendations, errors or wrong information in this post. Thank you.
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