Xiaomi just recently launched its 12S series flagship phones, including the top-of-the-line 12S Ultra. The series features the first cameras co-developed with Leica since the announcement of their partnership, though disappointingly, Xiaomi revealed that the phones will be exclusively sold in China.
The good news — sort of — for those who are eager to try out the Xiaomi-Leica camera, the APK file for the phone’s exclusive camera app has been leaked online shortly after the series’ launch. This means that enthusiasts outside of China can get a taste of Leica’s co-engineered mobile photography aesthetics, though it does come with a caveat.
It's not optimized for it but you can get the Leica filters on the Xiaomi 12 Pro by side loading the Xiaomi 12S Ultra camera APK pic.twitter.com/QIL1StQ56v
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) July 6, 2022
In our testing, the leaked app would only seemingly work on other Xiaomi smartphones such as the Redmi Note 11S. According to Max Weinbach, it would even work on the Xiaomi 12 Pro. Trying the app out on phones from other brands, however, the app would immediately crash. Interestingly, it does not appear as a separate app when installed, but instead replaces the default camera app on your Xiaomi device.
With the app, the only major change you get is the four exclusive filters found in the standard photo tab: Leica Vivid, Leica Natural, Leica B&W Natural, and Leica B&W High Contrast. Of course, there are also some discrepancies since it is only optimised for the Xiaomi 12S series; such as the camera saying “50MP Ultra HD is on” when using the 108MP mode on the Note 11S, though it still takes 108MP images regardless.
According to a report by Xiaomiui, a member of the CoolAPK community was responsible for leaking the Xiaomi 12S camera app after scrapping it from the Mi Store. Apparently, the reason the app works on other Xiaomi devices is because the company did not put any restrictions on it.
The publication adds that the Chinese tech giant is reportedly not happy about the situation and has filed a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the leak. The report also alleges that the CoolAPK app has been removed from Xiaomi’s GetApps digital store.