Never Miss a WhatsApp Notification with the Mi Band

You can get Whatsapp notifications on your Xiaomi Mi Band, basically any notifications on your phone, with the ability to customise the number of vibration and LED colour. The Xiaomi Mi Band is an extremely value for money gadget for 2014 – offering a rich feature set at a fraction of the incumbent’s price. Read more on our initial MiBand review here.

The default app provides incoming call notification. It can be especially useful in crowded places or when you are moving about where you can’t hear the phone ring, or feel the vibration in your pocket or handbag. The vibration from the Mi Band is strong enough to alert me any incoming calls and it is also relatively discreet. Useful. But that’s only for incoming calls, if you want to use the Mi Band for other notifications, such as Whatsapp, Emails, you would have to switch to a tweaked Mi Band application that you can get from Xiaomi’s MIUI forum. Download here: http://en.miui.com/thread-53761-1-1.html

You would need to activate your app – after logging in with the tweaked Mi Band app, head towards Settings -> My Devices -> Notification Settings; and you would see the apps on your phone available for notification alerts. Click on the app and you can further customise details such as delay, vibration intensity, duration, and LED color, number of flashes etc. Quite detailed. I use the colour notification to discern between whatsapp and gmail alerts on my Mi Band but you can also use the number of vibration as well.

whatsapp-notification-mi-band

You might want to rush and try out the Mi Band notification straight away, but there’s stil one more step. You would need to head towards your Phone Settings -> Security -> Notification access; and turn on BLENotificationService. If not, the notification alerts on the Mi Band wouldn’t work.

For certain phone models, notably some China models and LG, they have disabled access to the notification access in settings. For those models, you would need to install another app such as Notifier Pro to configure this. However, after you restart the phone, the BLENotificationService would be disabled again and you need to run NotifierPro to turn it on again. There isn’t this issue if you can configure it directly from your phone settings.

The notification system is also quite smart. Your mileage may vary – but for me, it seems to stop the notification service when the MiBand thinks I am sleeping. So unwanted emails after I’m on the bed do not buzz my wrist. I couldn’t find a way to configure this though.

When it comes to battery, the Mi Band is a champ and lasts up to three weeks on a single charge. Turning on notification service, with the vibration and LEd would definitely affect the battery life but my personal experience till date shows that the impact is pretty mild, and maybe only 10% decrease. I only turn on whatsapp and phone notification on my Mi Band.

If you are worried on whether the Mi Band app would preserve your data etc if you switch to the tweaked app – the answer is yes! I even switched across devices (such as review phone units) and the data is preserved. I am guessing all the step and sleep data are synced to your Xiaomi account which you need to login.

One flaw of the tweaked app is app updates. You would need to return to the thread to get the latest version. I tried checking for the latest version within the app, but it indicates that it is the latest when there’s a newer version already posted on the MIUI thread.

Sean

Sean is a tech geek and star wars fan. He loves playing with new gadgets, writing little code snippets in Python, JS, and dabbling with Android programming from time to time, while keeping a lookout for the next biggest happening in the world of tech!

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