The Xiaomi Mi A2 might not be the best Android based device available on the market, but it is a good alternative for those looking in buying a good-looking smartphone with decent performance and with a pure Android UI, everything packed on a more than affordable price tag. Additionally and above all, Xiaomi is promising on-time updates for the Mi A2 for at least another two years and here we don’t include the unofficial support that will be offered by the third party devs. Thus, bottom line if you are on a budget and if you still want to get a great handset, then this might be the perfect solution for you.
What is important for now, at this moment and for the subject that will be further detailed, is the update aspect. As already outlined, this is a phone made in partnership with Google meaning that it will receive official support without another delays. We’re talking about OTAs that will be reaching your device as soon as Google pushes out a new Android platform – minor or major ones, it won’t matter. Along OTAs we also think about manual update solutions that can be used for resolving other challenges and of course about the unofficial support in term of custom ROMs (including the already popular platforms like Lineage OS, AOKP or Paranoid Android).
The update aspect is extremely important because as long as you can keep your Xiaomi Mi A2 updated you have nothing to worry about: you will be able to run the latest apps, features, processes and capabilities, you can enjoy the best Android functionality, you can use your device on a daily basis without experiencing software related issues and you can choose to customize, optimize and personalize the built-in UI by your own taste. And these should represent important criteria when choosing a new Android based handset.
Well, mainly that’s why we’re now talking about the update operations that can be followed and applied on the Xiaomi Mi A2. The guidelines explained below should help you better understand how your phone can be updated by using different ROMs and Android platforms whether we discuss about official updates or unofficial ports of the default Android UI. Thus, this tutorial is here to teach you how to apply three different types of update operations on your smartphone – as you will see, the tutorial is structured depending on the update that is discussed: applying OTAs, manually installing official firmware packages and setting up a custom ROM software.
Along with the update steps we will debate other details that will help you choose a certain update procedure. We will therefore review the advantages and the risks implied in each case and we will remember the essential pre-requisites that must be first checked and performed for ensuring a safe update experience for your Xiaomi Mi A2. So, let’s get started.
Apply OTAs on the Xiaomi Mi A2
As we all know, occasionally we receive OTAs in form of Android notifications on our devices. These can be minor or major updates depending on what Google and our OEM releases for our smartphones. These types of updates are spotted automatically and are then installed if we agree with the flashing process – the firmware is applied also automatically; all we have to do is to watch how everything is completed.
These updates are released gradually or in phases so it might be received sooner by some users compared with others. Moreover, for being able to receive a new OTA your Xiaomi Mi A2 must already run on stock Android OS and tweaks shouldn’t be enabled – for example, if root was gained you won’t be able to receive future Android update notifications. In those situations a manual update procedure will be required (for that, see the next section of this step by step guide).
Of course, applying an OTA is an official operation supported by Google and by Xiaomi. Thus, when dealing with such update process you don’t have to worry about losing your phone’s warranty, about having to use risky or complex apps or about losing your personal data, info, accounts and files. All you need to do is to ensure enough power for the actual flashing operation – in that respect you should plug in the charger first if the power left is lower than 50%.
Now, if you know that a new OTA is available but you don’t receive it on your Xiaomi Mi A2, you can try to force it down by following:
- Switch off your device and make sure that a WiFi connect can be used – otherwise you can be extra-charged by your carrier.
- On your Xiaomi Mi A2 tap on Menu and access Settings.
- In Settings find the System Update entry and tap on it.
- Use the search engine that’s available in order to scan for new updates.
- If an OTA is available for your device a new notification should be now displayed.
- Just follow on-screen prompts and complete the update operation.
Also, if the OTA package can be downloaded from online sources you can try to manually set it up on your smartphone through recovery mode as it’s explained during the following steps:
- A computer must be used in this case and there you first have to download the OTA file.
- Afterwards, switch on your phone and connect it with your computer via USB cable.
- Now, transfer the OTA package and place it inside your phone’s root destination.
- When done, remove the USB cord and power off your device.
- Now, reboot recovery mode on your Xiaomi Mi A2.
- In recovery choose ‘install zip from SD card’ followed by ‘choose zip from SD card’.
- Pick the downloaded OTA package and flash it on your phone.
- When done, return to main menu of recovery and select ‘reboot system now’.
Another way in which you can complete the steps from above is:
- On your computer download the OTA package.
- Also, on your PC install the Xiaomi Mi A2 drivers first and set up Android SDK: learn how to install Android SDK on Windows or how to set up ADB on MAC OS X / Linux.
- Enter your Android device in recovery mode and from there select ‘apply update from adb’.
- On your computer rename the OTA package into ‘update.zip’ and place the renamed file inside the Android SDK folder.
- From that place open a command prompt window: press and how the Shift keyboard key and right-click on any blank space; then select ‘open command prompt window here’.
- Connect your Xiaomi Mi A2 with your computer via USB cable.
- In the cmd window type ‘adb sideload update.zip’ and press Enter.
- The software will be now automatically installed on your handset.
How to manually install a firmware on the Xiaomi Mi A2
When the OTA cannot be applied, or for any other reasons (we will discuss about them in a few moments), you can use the manual update procedure instead. By using a dedicated flashing program, developed by Xiaomi, you can anytime set up any update, in a manual manner, on your Xiaomi Mi A2. The only condition that must be ensured: you must be able to download the full firmware package that’s available for your smartphone.
Now, the manual update procedure can help you skip the OTA-wait which was already detailed above. It can also help you revoke tweaks as after setting up the full firmware package you will manage to restore your handset back to factory state; thus, in this way you can unroot your Xiaomi Mi A2, you can relock the bootloader, you can reinstall the stock recovery and you can re-apply bloatware. Additionally, the same manual update operation can help you fix different Android software-related problems including boot loops, lags, hangs, screen freeze, battery drain, heating issues, signal strength malfunctions, total blackouts and more.
Manually setting up the official Android OS on your Xiaomi Mi A2 is also an official operation. As mentioned, a flashing program will be used, but you have nothing to worry about. This program is developed and offered by Xiaomi and it can be easily handled even by a newbie who is on his first update attempt. Moreover, the warranty flag won’t get tripped and you won’t lose access to built-in apps after completing the steps from below.
However, you should make a general backup first – your files might get corrupted or wiped out during the manual flashing procedure and that’s why it is best to be precautious. In term of backup solutions you can use built-in cloud storage apps, or you can sync your data with your Google Account. Another backup method implies in using dedicated, but already tested, backup and restore tools available on Google Play.
Of course, since it’s a manual process, you should first verify how much power is there left on your Xiaomi Mi A2. If this power is lower than 50% you shouldn’t do anything else before plugging in the charger.
And, as you will observe, a computer is required. There you have to set up your phone’s drivers and the Android SDK toolkit (in that matter you can use the guides mentioned during the previous section of this tutorial). Additionally, on your Xiaomi Mi A2 you have to enable Developer Options: go to Menu - > Settings - > About Phone and tap repeatedly on Built Number until the ‘you are a developer’ prompt is returned. Finally, on your handset enable the USB Debugging feature – you can find in inside Developer Options, after navigating towards Menu - > Settings.
Good; now you can follow the update steps:
- On your computer download the full firmware package that’s compatible with your Xiaomi Mi A2.
- Also, download the Mi Flash Tool from this page. Afterwards, install the flashing program on your PC by running the executable file and by following on-screen prompts.
- Switch off your device and wait a few seconds. Then, reboot fastboot mode on your Xiaomi Mi A2 and when done connect your smartphone with your computer via USB cable.
- On your PC run the Xiaomi flashing program and from its main window click on the Select button.
- Load the Android update package in the program and afterwards click on the Refresh button.
- Your Xiaomi Mi A2 should be recognized by Mi Flash Tool; at that moment you can successfully click on the Flash button.
- Once you do it the update process will begin and it will be automatically completed.
- When it’s over close the flashing program, unplug the USB cord and reboot your phone.
How to Update the Xiaomi Mi A2 with custom ROM
If you’re an advanced Android user or if you want to tweak your Xiaomi Mi A2 then you have to try a custom ROM firmware. That’s an unofficial Android update that can totally change the way you use your smartphone.
If you choose wisely (a fully stable ROM that comes with great features and various tweaking possibilities) you can easily customize and optimize the Android UI and you can also upgrade the Xiaomi Mi A2 performance by applying the right tweaks.
A custom ROM represents a free aftermarket distribution of the stock Android UI. The ROM is developed by third party devs and it’s only based on the official software. Usually, most ROMs are light, fast and pre-loaded with features that cannot be found on the stock Android OS. Moreover, a custom ROM is ensuring an unlocked system that can be further customized.
Of course, replacing the stock Xiaomi Mi A2 OS with a custom ROM is not a process supported by your OEM. That’s why, if you choose to apply this particular update solution, you are going to lose your phone’s warranty and maybe access to some built-in apps. Do note that the warranty can be restored only if you choose to manually reinstall the official Android platform – in that case your handset will be restored back to its default state, as already discussed during the previous section of this tutorial.
A new ROM can run without problems only if you first make a full wipe on your Xiaomi Mi A2. That will imply in initiating a hard reset and in clearing app data cache. Thus, in this case the backup is no longer optional as if it’s not completed you will end up in losing everything that wasn’t there from day one: contacts, call logs, texts, images, videos, audio files, market apps, internet settings, calendar info, IMEI / NVRAM data and so on.
Moreover, a Nandroid backup is also recommended in this case – the Nandroid backup means that you can use a saved version of the stock Android UI: if the ROM that you apply will not run as expected you can choose to go back to stock by flashing the Nandroid backup package.
You can complete this update operation only if your Xiaomi Mi A2 is rooted and installed with a custom recovery image (do use the latest built of TWRP recovery). The root process will unlock the Android UI which will then be modified by the custom ROM and the custom recovery image will be the environment through which the actual flashing procedure will be completed.
Other than that you still have to take care of the general pre-requisites which were already detailed in this step by step guide: a computer is needed and your phone and its USB cable must be there too; on your smartphone enable Developer Options and check the USB Debugging features; charge your handset if the power that’s left is lower than 50%. And, when done, start the steps from below:
- On the computer you are using download the ROM that you want to set up on your Xiaomi Mi A2 – in that respect you can use the xda-developers.com database.
- If needed also download compatible Google Apps – if the ROM package isn’t including Google Apps you will have to flash it separately.
- The best is to save these files on desktop.
- Power off your phone and afterwards reboot it into recovery mode.
- In recovery you need to choose to perform a full wipe and that can be done by selecting these options: ‘wipe data factory reset’ followed by ‘wipe cache partition’ and by ‘wipe dalvik cache’.
- When done, return to recovery mode menu and pick ‘reboot system now’.
- Connect your Xiaomi Mi A2 with your computer now and copy-paste the downloaded files from desktop to your handset. Remove the USB cord when done for disconnecting your devices.
- Go to recovery mode again and this time tap on Install (if TWRP recovery isn’t used, select ‘install zip from SD card’ followed by ‘choose zip from SD card’) and load the custom ROM package. Swipe and wait while the firmware file is installed.
- If needed repeat the steps from above and install Google Apps on your Xiaomi Mi A2.
- When done, from main menu of recovery choose ‘reboot system now’ and that should be all.
Hopefully, at this point you know how to keep your Xiaomi Mi A2 updated even if the official Xiaomi support will be ended. Bookmark this tutorial as you might need to read it again in the future and don’t forget to share your update experience with us and with the other users who might need a third opinion on this subject. You can find other useful tips, tricks and step by step guides compatible with your Xiaomi Mi A2 on our ‘how to’ page. Of course, for new and specific update opportunities stay close and email us if you want to learn something in particular – we will then try to assist you as soon as possible.