Recently, a rumour emerged on China’s microblogging platform Weibo that Xiaomi was planning to provide app whitelisting feature on its smartphones whereby uncertified apps won’t install. For clarity, app whitelisting is the practice of specifying an index of approved software applications that are permitted to be present and active on a smartphone. The goal is to protect the phone and networks from potentially harmful applications.
The rumour was specific that the feature would come to Xiaomi smartphones sold in Mainland China, that it has been tested in house and is expected to go live in March. Existing Xiaomi users will be required to update their phones or face some restrictions until they do. Also, the feature will be pre-installed on new Mi phones in the feature. Even though the feature may have some usefulness, it isn’t going to be a popular one with fans who would like to have the freedom to install any app of choice on their phone. So it is no surprise that Xiaomi’s PR unit head Xu Jieyu was quick to come out to that it is a rumour. He did not expatiate but we take it that the company has any such plans.
However, the rumour may have some weight, as it also claims users will not be able to flash/root their phones anymore. Xiaomi has already implemented the inability for users of the MIUI China ROM to flash the Global MIUI ROM on their MI phones and vice versa. Thus, there is the possibility the company will stop it entirely. Also, for global ROM users, apps are usually installed from the PlayStore which ensures they meet security standard. Any app that falls short is usually removed from the store by Google. But such feature may not be available in China where Google services are banned.