Lately I’ve been experiencing many issues on my Xiaomi ‘smart’phone. From phone calls not working to laggy applications, from unsolicited reboots to advertising on my notifications. Issues were so much increasing in number and in gravity I decided to take a risk and switch to LineageOS.

If you don’t know what LineageOS is, think of it as stock Android with no Google apps, no Chinese shitware, and overall better performance and more customizability.

Issues during installation

I own a Redmi Note 8T, a supported device. Let me underline an important fact: it is very hard for a non-technical person to install LineageOS on a Xiaomi device. Because you first need to unlock your device, and it’s clearly something accurately crafted to make it as much uncomfortable as possible.

First of all: their tools are full of bugs, and can only run on Windows. I do not own a Windows machine, so I had to seek help from my girlfriend who still needs Windows in her life. I had to register a Xiaomi account, allow every permission required by their spyware (which probably was capable to get all data from my phone regardless), download their tool, only to see it wasn’t working at all. I tried everything, watched videos, only to realize it wasn’t me, but some bug. In fact, downloading the previous version, which provided proper USB drivers too, worked well. But a non-techie person following the guide would probably just have stopped right there before unlocking.

Second aspect: to unlock your Xiaomi phone you must wait. Wait a week, two weeks, or a month, it depends. Why wait? Well, they say it’s because they want to protect their phones from being misused, but that probably mean they just want to get as much data as they can before wiping out their crapware. Or maybe they hope people will forget about it and change their mind while waiting during that period of ceasefire. Sigh.

Then there’s the official guide. Sadly it is not accurate and is missing a lot of non-intuitive steps. The fact that I guessed what to do - not without a bit of luck and some failed attempts - does not mean someone with less experience will do. I am sure it’s not Lineage’s folks fault: this may be due to frequent changes in unlocking and flashing methods.

microG

I’ve chosen to install an image from the microG website, which contains microG on top of standard LineageOS. I currently attend University for which some apps strictly require Firebase implementations.

Despite all those issues during installation - which occurred regardless of the fact I was installing a different version of LineageOS - my phone runs like a charm.

Improved battery, no more lags, everything works well, and now FOSS applications are at the foundation of my OS. No more Xiaomi crap, no more tons of Google apps preinstalled. I am finally happy when using my smartphone.

I do not use banking applications. That said, if I had to I would simply install Magisk and hide root to pass SafetyNet and allow those apps.

Conclusions

LineageOS is something I would strongly recommend to anyone… But if you’re not expert, you’ll probably need some help installing it.