Xiaomi Mi 9 SE common issues and how to solve them

Xiaomi is a mean smartphone-making machine. They brought to light so many devices recently, with so many variations and product names (a bit confusing naming scheme, to be honest) for all kinds of users. The long list also includes our champion for today, the Mi 9 SE.

The Mi 9 SE is one of 10 phones (ten phones!) in Xiaomi’s Mi 9 branch. It’s a bit watered-down version of their flagship Mi 9, having a smaller form factor, mid-range chipset, and similar triple camera setup on the back. Its main selling points are its size and nice 5.97” Super AMOLED display. It, of course, runs the latest MIUI 11.

Now, we decided to share some love for this compact-sized device and its users and look into reports of Mi 9 SE common issues. In addition, we made sure to, along with problems, provide some solutions, as well. Check them out below.

Note: All the issues mentioned in this article are individually reported cases, which doesn’t mean any of the problems will occur on other devices. If you’re looking to buy this phone, DO NOT take these problems into consideration.

Table of contents:

  1. The device is bricked after an update
  2. Ghost touch
  3. Fingerprint issues
  4. NFC issues
  5. Mobile Data issues
  6. Battery drainage
  7. Sound issues on USB-C to 3,5mm dongle
  8. GPS problems
  9. Display color scheme issues
  10. Tip: How to Wipe Cache Partition and reset Mi 9 SE to factory settings

1. The device is bricked after a firmware update

The problem with bootloops or devices getting bricked after an update seems to be bothering more users than it should.

Of course, there are various reasons this might happen on devices with an unlocked bootloader and on custom ROMs but, in this case, the issue appears on the Mi 9 SE with the stock ROM and the locked bootloader.

Namely, users that got themselves the official MIUI 11 on the Mi 9 SE report that their devices got bricked. These are, of course, isolated cases, but there are older reports saying that certain versions of MIUI 10 have caused something similar.

If your device is bricked, there’s only so much you can do. First of all, the chances that you’ll get your data back are minimal. Sadly, EDL access is not allowed so you won’t be able to do much over your PC.

You can try reflashing the stock firmware (find it here) but this will lead to complete data loss. Download the MI Flash tool on your PC and then, by pressing the Power button + Volume Down on the phone, try accessing the fastboot. After that, connect your device and flash the aforementioned firmware.

We recommend contacting your seller that’s, under the warranty, responsible for the device repairs. That’s a better way to go then trying to repair the device on your own.

Bonus: Take care of your passwords!

Are you using the same password for all your accounts? Is it something simple like the name of your pet or the club you're rooting for? If the answer is yes, you're not making it any harder for hackers and other scammers to break into your account.

It's strongly recommended that you use a complex combination of letters, numbers, and symbols instead of super-predictable words that mean something to you.

But who's going to remeber all that? Well, you don't need to. All you need to do is subscribe to a password manager, store all your passwords inside, and use it to log into all your accounts.

Our sponsor is NordPass, so if I convinced you to invest in a password manager, you might as well give this one a try. It's reliable, convinient, and most importantly, it's new on the market, so you can get it for half the price right now!

2. Ghost touch

Ghost touch issues are not that common on modern AMOLED displays and we can’t be certain if the faulty hardware causes it or MIUI is simply misbehaving.

We heard reports about ghost touch issues being addressed after system update while some users suggested disabling touch-to-wake and MIUI optimization helps.

Firstly, you can try turning off your device and thoroughly cleaning the screen with a cloth. Make sure to apply some pressure (not too much, though) to the display.

Furthermore, you can try with these two software tweaks. Here’s how to disable touch-to-wake first:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Always-on display & Lock screen.
  3. Toggle the “Double tap to wake or turn off screen” option OFF.

And here’s how to disable MIUI Optimization in Developer Settings:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose My device.
  3. Tap on All specs.
  4. Now, tap 7 times on the MIUI version to enable Developer Options.
  5. Get back to Settings and open Additional settings.
  6. Open Developer options.
  7. Scroll to the bottom and disable MIUI Optimization.
  8. Reboot your device and look for improvements.

3. Fingerprint issues

The in-screen fingerprint scanner on the Mi 9 SE is sometimes a hit-or-miss experience. Users have had a hard time getting consistency out of it, although it’s unfair to say it’s bad. We assume you are using stock ROM (or MIUI EU ROM) because ported Fingerprint on custom ROMs isn’t all that good.

What can you do to make it consistent, though? The trick lies in applying one fingerprint multiple times to improve the readings. Just add a single finger (fingerprint) multiple times and witness the much better recognition from the in-screen fingerprint scanner.

On the other hand, if the FP scanner won’t work at all, there’s nothing you can do but to either tackle the software (update or downgrade your MIUI version) or contact the seller and ask for repairs.

4. NFC issues

One of the secondary selling points for this device that placed it in front of others is the presence of NFC. Having an option to pay with your phone is great in supported regions. Have in mind that NFC on rooted custom ROMs is another hit-and-miss and you can’t rely on it.

On the other hand, if you are on the stock ROM and still experiencing issues with NFC payments, here’s what you can try:

  • Reinstall the banking app you are using for NFC payments.
  • Make sure that your information is properly set.
  • Try removing a protective case from your device.
  • Update MIUI.
  • You can also install an older version of the app, as some users noticed. However, due to security reasons, we don’t recommend installing APKs from untrusted sources when it comes to banking apps.

5. Mobile Data issues (no mobile data during calls)

GSM Network and consequently Mobile Data issues are not uncommon for European customers with Chinese handsets due to unsupported bands.

Now, global versions usually support a wide array of bands. So, we suspect APN configuration and lack of network coverage to be the main reason for Mobile Data issues.

Alternatively, there are some reports of software-based problems that were, allegedly, addressed after a system update.

So, make sure that your system is up to date. Also, reset APN settings to default values by following these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose SIM cards & mobile networks.
  3. Tap on your SIM card.
  4. Tap Access Point Names.
  5. Now, tap Reset.

Or you can reset Network settings by following these instructions:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Connection & sharing.
  3. Scroll down and open “Reset WLAN, mobile networks, and Bluetooth“.
  4. Tap Reset settings.

Have in mind that this will erase saved Wi-Fi SSIDs and credentials along with Bluetooth paired devices.

6. Battery drainage

It was hard to expect such a compact device as the Mi 9 SE to have a large-capacity battery unit. However, the 3070 mAh battery is usually enough to get you through the day.

However, there are reports that the SoT and the overall battery life are lower than expected. And there is noticable battery drainage over night.

Now, in our experience, if something gets broken after MIUI firmware updates, that’s the battery longevity. Thus, we recommend staying put and waiting for the fix on the next update.

Alternatively, you can check forums and look for reports about recent updates. Don’t install them if users report battery drainage.

Finally, try these tweaks to significantly expand the battery life on Mi 9 SE:

  • Disable AoD. Navigate to Settings > Always-on display & Lock screen and disable AoD.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi and Mobile Data overnight.
  • Disable Face Unlock.
  • Disable unused apps from starting automatically. Navigate to Settings > Apps > Manage apps and individually disable Autostart on apps.
  • Disable NFC if you are not using it in Settings > Connection & sharing.
  • Use manual brightness settings, it will save you a lot of battery.

7. Sound issues on USB-C to 3,5mm dongle

This is quite a common issue on the Mi 9 SE. Since there’s no dedicated headphone jack, Xiaomi provides users with the USB-to-3,5mm dongle.

This dongle is not exactly doing justice to audio output, and even more, it makes crackling sounds for some users while there are reports of it not working at all.

The most common issue occurs when you shift between media sources (e.g. listening to music on Spotify and then opening a Story on Instagram). It just stops playing.

You can try and use Mi Sound Enhancer to enhance or optimize audio output, but that won’t help much if the hardware is underperforming.

Here’s how to use Mi Sound Enhancer on Mi 9 SE:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Sound & vibration.
  3. Scroll down and open Earphones.
  4. Enable Mi Sound Enhancer and choose the type of your headphones.

The best solution is to acquire an alternative dongle (they are not that hard to come by and affordable at that) and use it.

8. GPS problems

GPS is essential for so many reasons. But reports we ran into are stating that GPS is either not working at all (Searching for GPS prompt appears), is inconsistent, or stops working when users are talking on the phone.

Now, if you are using the Chinese variation of the device, we recommend avoiding the MIUI 11 update for the time being. You can flash (with unlocked bootloader) the Global MIUI 11 version that seemingly doesn’t suffer from GPS issues.

Other than that, there’s not much you can do except using the CIT to determine whether the problem is general or app-related. Here’s how to enter CIT on the Mi 9 SE:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose My device.
  3. Tap All specs.
  4. Now, tap numerous times on the Kernel version to enable CIT.
  5. Once there, scroll down and select GPS.Mi 9 SE common issues
  6. If the test shows that GPS isn’t working, the only thing that comes to mind is, as we said, unlocking bootloader and flashing EU or Global ROM on your device.

9. Display color scheme and over sharpness

Many experts suggest that users should tweak the display as soon they acquire and set up the Mi 9 SE. And if you look at it, you can see why. The colors are, initially, too cold. So switching to the warm color scheme should help.

Alternatively, besides color reproduction, some users are not satisfied with the Super AMOLED text overs sharpness.

This is mostly due to a factory firmware that allows better readability on the direct sunlight. It might be reduced if you choose the Standard instead of the Auto color mode.

You can display colors to your liking by following these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Display.
  3. Open Color scheme.
  4. If you want a warmer color reproduction, choose Warm under the Color temperature.
  5. If you hate the text over sharpness, set Standard under the Colors section.Mi 9 SE common issues

10. Tip: How to Wipe Cache Partition and reset Mi 9 SE to factory settings

Finally, the only thing remaining to explain is how to wipe cache partition from the Recovery mode (to clear the pilled system cache and hopefully fix certain issues) and reset your device to factory settings. For the latter, please don’t forget to back up your data. The factory reset will delete all files from the internal storage.

Here’s how to access the Recovery mode and wipe cache:

  1. Power off your device.
  2. Press and hold the Power button + Volume Up until the MI welcome screen appears. Let go of the Power button and keep holding the Volume Up button.
  3. Once you get into the Recovery mode, use Volume buttons to get to the Wipe Cache Partition option. Press the Power button to confirm the selection.

Note: You can perform a factory reset from the Recovery mode as well. It can come in handy if you can’t boot into the system.

And this is how to reset your Mi 9 SE to factory settings:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose My device.
  3. Open Backup & reset.
  4. Choose Erase all data (factory reset).
  5. Tap Erase all data and confirm the selection when prompted.Mi 9 SE common issues

With that said, we can conclude this long but, hopefully, helpful read. In case you have additional issues with Mi 9 SE we forgot to mention, make sure to tell us in the comments section below. We’ll do our best to help you out.

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