I needed a new phone and thought around Christmas 2020, that the Xiaomi Mi 11 would be the perfect fit for me. Since it just got released at that time I ordered it from the CECT store for around 570 Dollar and thought "ha, cool, cheap". It was my first experience in terms of importing a device from China to Germany and in the end, ~50€ toll, proofed me wrong. But the story should not end with that little pitty.
So after I received the phone 2-3 weeks later, with the China MIUI 12.0.12 ROM, I noticed quickly, that something isn't right. I mean Google was just fake initilialized and apps like Telegram, Signal, Whatsapp, Mail, etc. did not send me notifications. Trust me, I tried every generic and tryhard solution that is out there - no, neither the battery optimizations nor Security concerns nor app settings were the reason. It was simple: those apps require the kernel driven Google Apps API interface to work properly. And China does not include that. Long story short: I had to flash it. And to be able to flash it I have to unlock it... I found out, that you have to do that with the official Unlock tool from Xiaomi.
HINT 1: if you have a Xiaomi Vacuum Roboter connected with your Xiaomi Mi Account do NOT use this account also for your Xiaomi phone! The unlock process will always fail with the info "Phone Number is not linked to that account" or something. Create a new Xiaomi Mi account only for that phone.
Well, the next pitty step: you can't just unlock the phone. You have to wait 168 hours before you can. So here we go, let's meet in 1 week.
During that waiting period I pulled every knowledge I thought I need to know for flashing and ended here: https://forum.xda-developers.com/t/rom-miui-venus-xiaomi-eu-rom-for-xiaomi-mi-11.4219357
Many said it works, the MIUI EU ROM includes Google Apps, so all cool, I thought. Then, after 7 days, I instantly booted into fastboot and ran the script: it got stuck during the process "send modem_ab". I waited more than 30 minutes but declared the flash process for dead. I closed the script, ran again, but it was black. I tried to reboot my phone into fastboot, but it didn't work. Nothing worked anymore. Congratulation. I hardbricked my brand new Xiaomi Mi 11!
Let's hard Unbrick your Xiaomi Mi 11
The only reason I didn't lose hope was that when plugging in the USB cable to my PC, I saw and heard this in my Device Manager
Now, after trying out probably 10+ drivers, I found out that the Qualcomm Driver 9008 64bit is the one to go. I used this one: https://gsmusbdrivers.com/download/android-qualcomm-usb-driver Now it looked better:
After lot of searching I found out I need the MiFlash tool, so I just tried it. I tried many but this one worked in the end (version 20200314): https://www.getdroidtips.com/download-xiaomi-mi-flash-tool-flash-miui-rom-mi-devices However, did I mention hard brick? Yes! No handy commands worked like adb devices, fastboot devices and so on. It got proofed with the non stop error of either "write time out, maybe device was disconnected" or the super annoying "cannot receive hello packet".
Nothing really worked so one nice guy at XDA recommended a guy "xiaomi_auth" in a Telegram group, even though it might cost me something. I had still hope and money is not the issue here. It was a "challenge accepted" mindset by now.
So I joined the Telegram group: https://t.me/xiaomi_auth and quite fast got a PM from him, "Can I help?". Great guy, had lot of patience with me and tried all he can together with me. It was a challenge for him too, cause I was the first Xiaomi Mi 11 guy, who bricked it so hard. It was clear quite fast, that I had to make my hands dirty. I have to open the back glass, reach the battery, unplug it and find the mysterious "test points", which I had no clue of them before.
With a hair dryer and a kitchen knife equipped, I was able to open the cover and make my way through the battery.
HINT 2: I really recommend the hair dryer, to not screw up your materials inside completely. That way you can reused your back cover later on again.
The friendly Xiaomi Auth guy told me, that if those MiFlash flash attempts fail, I must find the "test points" of the Qualcomm device and start the phone that way. He had good connections and found them:
With some tweezers from the bathroom I was then able to short circuit them and at the same time plug in the USB cable to my PC.
HINT 3: do not push your tweezers gently on the test points. I needed at least 10 attempts until it worked, because I was scared to damage the test points before.
HINT 4: I tried tons of variations but in the end this worked: shorting the test points without the battery and display connected:
IF you did everything right (you really can), then MiFlash does not come up with the "cannot receive hello packet" anymore but instead "edl authentification".
And here is where the nice guy comes into play. It is another firewall Xiaomi added into their devices, that only "authorized accounts" can do this hardbrick stuff. So for 30 Dollar and a quick Teamviewer session, he approved the authentification with a code and the flash ran successfully!
With that motivation I tried the flash script for the MIUI 12.5 EU ROM once again and it all worked nicely and I was done after 15 minutes. A two day hardcore story had a happy end and I want to thank once again XDA and the Telegram guy, for helping me out!
I really hope that who ever stumbles over my blog, can save himself frustration. Especially since it is his / her first time having a Xiaomi device, doing a surgery, fiddling around with test points and flashing it in the end.