If you didn't buy the Global version of your new Xiaomi phone, you may now be regretting your purchase. It's a great phone, yes, but if you don't speak Chinese you may be struggling without the software. Fortunately it's easy to add all the usual Google services with which you're familiar.

Note that we've installed Google Play on a Note 5A running MIUI 9.5. If you are running an older version of the OS you may not be able to install the necessary software, so it's worth checking you're running the latest version first.

Also see: Best Xiaomi Phones 2018

How to update a Xiaomi phone

Update MIUI 8

  • Open the Settings app
  • Scroll down to and select 'About phone'
  • Tap the link at the bottom of the screen for 'System updates'
  • Follow the prompts to install any software that may be available

Update MIUI 9

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap the top link for 'My device'
  • Tap MIUI version
  • Tap Check for updates
  • Follow the prompts to install any software that may be available

How to install Google Play on MIUI 9

Assuming you are now running the latest version of MIUI, you'll need to enable the installation of apps from unknown sources, then install the various Google services required to run Google apps on your phone.

  • Open the Settings app
  • Tap on 'Additional settings'
  • Tap on 'Privacy'
  • Toggle on the button for 'Unknown sources'
  • Open the Mi App Store
  • Search for 'Google'
  • Tap Install next to the top result - a 0.2MB file
  • Once installed press Open
  • Tap the large blue circular button on the next screen
  • The installer will run through the installation of the various services required: the Google Services Framework, Google Account Manager, Google Play Services, Google Calendar Sync, Google Contacts Sync, and finally the Google Play Store. Tap Install for each when prompted
  • Once the Play Store has been installed tap Open
  • Enter your Gmail address and password, and agree to the permissions
  • Google Play is now installed on your device, and you can install apps from here as you would on any other phone, including Gmail, YouTube and Google Drive

Read next: Best Chinese phones and Best budget Chinese phones