These Are the Places in the World Where Your Xiaomi Phone Won’t Work

Written by Bill Toulas
Published on September 10, 2021

Xiaomi was forced to proactively block its devices in certain regions to comply with export regulations and avoid sanction troubles, so all its phones will no longer work in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, and Crimea. All of these places are areas of political tensions between their rulers and the United States, and the Chinese phone manufacturer has already had enough trouble there, even if they don’t even dare to step foot on the U.S. market yet.

To clarify, Xiaomi devices were never officially retailed in these countries, as they aren’t offered via a retailer network in the U.S. either. Still, there was nothing stopping people living in these regions from importing them from wherever they could. Now, imported devices may work there for a couple of days and then display the following message to the user:

Xiaomi policy does not permit sale or provision of the product to the territory in which you have attempted to activate it. Please contact the retailer directly for additional information.

It appears that the blockage is done by detecting a communication provider from that region and making sure that the user is stably served from them. It is unclear if GPS data play any role or not, but users who have installed a custom ROM on their Xiaomi device aren’t barred from using it. Considering that most Xiaomi models come with the bootloader unlocked, getting something like the LineageOS on them shouldn’t be complicated.

If you’re using a Xiaomi device and you’re planning to visit Cuba or any of the aforementioned countries as a tourist, your smartphone should continue working as normal indefinitely, as the auto-block system only cares about the activation location. If you’re booting it up for the first time on these regions, you will get a lock, though. A last-resort solution for those who already got their Xiaomi phones locked down is to swap the SIM with one from a non-blacklisted region and then proceed to unlock the bootloader.

Now that Xiaomi has reached the top of the world in smartphone sales, they could be planning to finally enter the North American market, so enforcing export regulation restrictions should be a standard preparatory step. Not that this is going to save them from scrutiny, but at least they’ll try their luck with the best possible chances.

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