It’s usually suggested that you keep your smartphone on the latest version of Android for a few reasons. However, some of the latest updates (especially for major versions) may contain bugs that ruin the user experience. So this tutorial will show you how to downgrade the Xiaomi Mi A2 from Android 9 Pie back down to Android 8.1 Oreo.
The Xiaomi Mi A2 is the company’s second Android One device but it seems as if the company is still working on getting the hang of the program. Just before the holiday season, Xiaomi began rolling out OTA updates to Mi A2 users that gave them a taste of Pie before the new year.
So far, there have been two different Android Pie updates pushed to Mi A2 devices and both of them have had various issues reported with them. Here is a brief summary of the reported issues that I’ve been able to find so far. . .
- Increased touchscreen latency
- Face ID accuracy inconsistency
- Slower fingerprint authentication
- Lower audio volume
- Lower screen brightness levels
- Camera issues
- Issues focusing in portrait mode
- Black banding on the preview screen
- Random app crashes
- Front flash working inconsistently
Now usually, when people begin to notice random issues with their phone (whether it’s after an update or not), I recommend booting the smartphone into Safe Mode. 3rd-party apps can have random issues with other apps, the Android OS, or changes to the code after a new update.
So if you are experiencing any strange issues after updating your Mi A2 to Pie then I still suggest doing this to see if it fixes the issue. If it does, then your next job is to hunt down and uninstall the offending issue. If this doesn’t work then my next suggestion is to perform a factory data reset.
Sadly, a lot of people who have experienced some of the issues listed above (and others) have said that neither of these suggestions have helped. So from here, the next suggestion is to either download the latest firmware update and manually install it or to downgrade to a previous version.
If you want to try manually installing the latest (as of writing this) firmware, then download this file instead of the one I link to in the tutorial below. The process will be the same. You will just be manually flashing the newest (again, as of writing this) version of Pie for the Mi A2 instead of downgrading back to Oreo.
The thing is, a lot of people were happy with their Oreo version and would rather go back to what is familiar with them. So if you want to downgrade the Xiaomi Mi A2 back down to Android 8.1.0 Oreo then follow these steps below.
- You will need to unlock the bootloader of the Xiaomi Mi A2
- You also need to execute the “fastboot flashing unlock_critical” command in Fastboot Mode as specified in the extra note at the bottom of that tutorial
Warning – Unlocking the bootloader will force the Xiaomi Mi A2 to perform a factory reset (for security purposes). Backup as much data as you can ahead of time but be aware that everything on your phone will be erased once the bootloader has been unlocked.
How to Downgrade the Xiaomi Mi A2 from Pie to Oreo
- Download and extract the Mi Flash tool from Xiaomi
- Download and extract the latest Oreo Fastboot ROM for the Mi A2
- Boot the Mi A2 into Fastboot Mode
- Connect the smartphone to the PC with a USB cable
- Launch the Mi Flash tool by double clicking on the XiaoMiFlash.exe file
- Open a Windows Explorer window and browse to where you extracted the Oreo firmware files
- Then copy the entire file path of where these firmware files are located in
There can not be any spaces in the folder path or the Mi Flash program will error out. You can replace any spaces with dashes (-) or underscores (_) if you need to
- Then paste this entire folder path into the Mi Flash tool’s empty box
- Click the Refresh button to the right of that input box and make sure you see a device listed in the Mi Flash tool
- Look at the bottom right of the Mi Flash tool and make sure the Clean All option is selected
- And finally click the Flash button in the top right of the Mi Flash tool to begin the downgrade process
- Wait until the Xiaomi Mi A2 reboots and you see a Success message under the Results column of the tool
If you wanted to, you could skip all of the Mi Flash tool stuff and just double click on the flash_all.bat file like you would with a Google Nexus/Pixel device. However, I have found that most people like to use programs that come with a GUI so that is why I suggest using it in the Xiaomi tutorials that I make.
It really is up to you. When you’re selecting the Clean All option in the bottom right of the Mi Flash tool program you can see that it’s just switching the program to run the flash_all.bat file instead of the others that are included. So take your pick when you choose to downgrade the Mi A2 from Android 9 Pie to Oreo.
The main points of this tutorial is making sure you have unlocked the bootloader (with the flashing unlock and flash unlock_critical commands), download the linked firmware for Oreo, and then downgrading from whatever version of Pie you are on to the latest version of Oreo.
When Should You Upgrade Back to Android 9 Pie ?
There really isn’t a definitive way of knowing if the issue you were experiencing has been fixed with the latest update. Changelogs for updates are usually vague and simply list ‘various bug fixes and stability enhancements’ so you are left with two options to choose from.
You can either take a risk when you hear about a new Pie update being released. Or you can wait until others within the community (on places like Reddit and XDA) have updated their device and give feedback. Even then, it’s going to be very difficult to figure out if it’s fixed for your device.
I hadn’t noticed any of the issues listed at the top of this tutorial but many, many others have. So while an update may have fixed one of those issues for someone else, it might not be fixed for you. The hardware inside our phones are the same but the software configuration is different.
Like one of the complaints I saw talked about how the front flash worked normally when auto mode was selected. So if you only use the camera in auto mode then you would have never known about that issue. I haven’t noticed any overheating issues but someone who uses a certain app or plays a certain game may have discovered a conflict between that software and the new update.
At the end of the day, it’s just really difficult to figure out if a specific bug you are experiencing is fixed with a new update. The only time this isn’t a case is if the issue is widespread (and happens to everyone) because then the OEM will most likely specifically mention it in the changelog.