Xiaomi just recently launched its 12S series flagship phones, including the high-end 12S Ultra. The series features the first cameras co-developed with Leica since announcing their partnership, although disappointingly Xiaomi revealed the phones will be exclusively sold in China.
The good news — of sorts — for those keen to try out the Xiaomi-Leica camera, the APK file for the phone’s proprietary camera app was leaked online shortly after the series launched. That means enthusiasts outside of China can get a taste of Leica’s co-engineered mobile photography aesthetic, although it comes with a caveat.
It is not optimized for this, but you can get the Leica filters on the Xiaomi 12 Pro by sideloading the Xiaomi 12S Ultra Camera APK pic.twitter.com/QIL1StQ56v
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) July 6, 2022
In our testing, the leaked app would apparently only work on other Xiaomi smartphones such as the Redmi Note 11S. According Max Weinbach, it would even work on the Xiaomi 12 Pro. However, trying the app on phones of other brands, the app would crash immediately. Interestingly, it doesn’t 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 deviations as it is only optimized for the Xiaomi 12S series; like the camera saying “50MP Ultra HD is on” when using 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 deleting it from the Mi Store. Apparently the reason why the app works on other Xiaomi devices is that the company has not imposed any restrictions.
The publication adds that the Chinese tech giant is said to be unhappy with the situation and has filed a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the leak. The report also alleges that the CoolAPK app was removed from Xiaomi’s GetApps digital store.