Xiaomi Yi Action Camera notes

I bought a Xiaomi Yi camera. It’s a GoPro-knockoff, a small HD camera that takes amazing high quality video and is only $70. Unfortunately it’s also not really made for the US market and is poorly documented and I can never remember how to use it.

Quick use notes:

  • Press front button to turn it on: it beeps and light in front starts flashing.
  • Wait for beeping / flashing to stop. Front should glow blue (full battery).
  • Press shutter button on top to start recording. Beeps once, lights flash while it records. press shutter button on top again to stop recording. Beeps several times.

Status lights:

  • Front ring: battery indicator goes from red (low) to purple to blue (full)
  • Top/bottom/back: flashing red LED indicates video recording, photo taken
  • Side: blue LED indicates WiFi is on


  • One beep: turning on. Also acknowledging image capture start.
  • Two beeps: still turning on.
  • Three beeps: connected to USB.
  • Four beeps: video recording finished.
  • Seven? beeps: turning off

Buttons and controls:

  • Front button: power. Short press to turn on, long press to turn off.
    Can also be used to swap between photo/video mode.
  • Top button: shutter control / start recording
  • Side button: turn wifi on. This takes awhile, wait for flashing blue.

For more complex control the camera connects to an iPhone app. The camera can be put in WiFi access point mode, at which point your iPhone connects to its private WiFi network and can control it. (Default password: 1234567890). Lots of settings, the main thing I did was be sure the camera defaults to video mode when turned on.

IIRC you can also download video this way but it’s unreliable, I ended up popping the SD card to copy my recordings over. Or maybe I used the device as a USB drive.

The phone is hackable, there’s a world of custom firmware etc. Also lots of stories of people bricking their cameras.