What you need to know
- Xiaomi is adding app shortcuts and an app drawer to MIUI.
- The feature was spotted in an alpha build, so it may be awhile before it is available on the stable channel.
- App shortcuts debuted with Nougat, and let you perform specific actions with a long press action.
Xiaomi's MIUI continues to be one of the most popular custom ROMs, with over 250 million users across the globe. While Xiaomi has added a lot of features to the ROM over the last two years, a key omission has been the app drawer. It was particularly frustrating to see that the POCO Launcher had an app drawer, while most MIUI users had to resort to using a third-party launcher to access the same.
However, it looks like Xiaomi is finally set to add the app drawer into MIUI. According to screenshots received by the folks over at XDA, MIUI build 18.104.22.1685-06141703 comes with the option to switch to an app drawer, with a dedicated button at the middle of the dock allowing users to pull up the drawer.
Unlike most recent phones, it doesn't look like you'll be able to swipe from the bottom of the home screen to launch the app drawer, or use the same gesture to collapse it. Instead, there's a downward-facing button to do so, and you'll also be able to use the back button to go back to the home screen. Considering this is an alpha build, Xiaomi will obviously tweak the feature so it's closer to what you'll find on recent versions of Android.
Other Chinese ROMs like EMUI and ColorOS already feature an app drawer, so it's great to see that Xiaomi is finally set to offer the same. In addition to the drawer, Xiaomi is also rolling out app shortcuts, a feature that debuted back on Nougat.
App shortcuts let you launch specific actions with a long press action — like playing your favorite playlist on Spotify or going directly into the compose window within Gmail. Right now, there's no mention of when the features will make their way to MIUI, but it is possible that the additions could be a part of MIUI 11, which is slated to launch sometime later this year.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.