Long back, I was looking for third-party apps to use with the Mi Band 4. Accidentally, I stumbled upon the GitHub page of Gadgetbridge. A little bit more digging and it turns out, it is quite a novel app. Unlike other Mi Band third-party apps like Mi Tools, it doesn’t require you to have the official Mi Fit app. Plus, it supports quite a vast number of other fitness bands like Amazfit Bip, Pebble, Casio, Lenovo watches. In addition, Gadgetbridge has much more to offer and we’ll have a look at it in this article.
What is Gadgetbridge
Mi bands are one of the most popular fitness band out there. However, you always need the official Mi fit app to use it. For many privacy-focused users, this has been a turn-off, which is where Gadgetbridge comes in.
Gadgetbridge is an open source app that works directly with the Mi bands, Amazfits, Pebble, Casio, and Lenovo watches. So, if you care about your privacy (which you should) you can delete the Mi Fit app and start using Mi Band solely with Gadgetbridge. The whole underlying concept of Gadgetbridge is to let you use your fitness band without sharing your data with the company.
Gadgetbridge vs Mi Fit
Gadgetbridge was built as an alternative for consumers who don’t want to share personal data with the companies. It provides all the basic settings like setting up an alarm or custom app notifications. However, data representation and analytics is highly unintuitive.
Like every FOSS app, the UI of Gadgetbridge is complex. It doesn’t provide you a visually clean analysis of your workout and sleep data and it’s nowhere close to what you get with the Mi Fit app. However, you can always make use of a third-party app like Notify & Fitness with Mi Band. It provides you good analytics as well as graphs which are easy to interpret.
|Gadgetbridge||Mi Fit App|
Intuitive UI with graphs, charts, etc.
Requires to Sign-Up
|Local data storage||
|No screen lock and custom watch faces||
Supports screen lock, custom watch faces
|Cannot sync data to Google Fit||
Can sync data to Google Fit
How to use Gadgetbridge
The procedure to use Gadgetbridge is quite simple and similar to the vendor apps. Firstly, the fitness band needs to be unpaired from the vendor app and also your phone’s Bluetooth. If you have already registered the band on the official app, Gadgetbridge won’t be able to detect it. In that case, you would need to unpair your band or simply factory reset it. For example, if my Mi Band is connected and registered on the Mi Fit app, Gadgetbridge won’t be able to connect to it. Hence, I would need to reset the Mi Band.
Gadgetbridge is not available on the Google Play Store and you have to download it from F-Droid.
Once you have done that done, open the Gadgetbridge app. It will ask for multiple permissions to access your phone, SMS, Calendar, Location, etc. After you have provided the necessary permission, tap the “Start Discovery” button on the next screen.
Next, you will see a list of fitness bands populate below. Tap on your band once you see it and it will open a screen asking for a couple of settings. You can leave it to default and press the back button. Gadgetbridge will now start pairing with the fitness band. Meanwhile, if your band vibrates, tap on it to accept the pairing
In case you don’t see any band listed out, restart your Android Phone and try again.
After the device is paired, you will see a card with the band name. Now, you can view the fitness band data on Gadgetbridge.
How to use Gadgetbridge with the Mi Band 4
Mi Band 4 is the latest iteration of the Mi fitness series. The band has witnessed some remarkable changes over its predecessor but one of the not so cool changes is the restriction on setting Auth Key by third-party apps. Previously, it was possible with the Mi Band 2 or 3 which made pairing easier with Gadgetbridge. But with the Mi Band 4, it’s tedious and most-importantly requires you to have a rooted Android device.
If you have one, you would need to pair the Mi Band 4 with the Mi Fit app first. This is against the underlying principle of Gagdetbridge but unfortunately, there is no workaround. Once you have paired the Mi Band 4 with the Mi Fit app, exit it.
What happens now is after pairing, the Mi Fit app will allot an Authentication Key to the band and we need this key. It’s stored in the Mi Fit app’s local database and a normal Android phone won’t be able to access those files. Hence, we require root access and a root file explorer. You can use any file explorer but I recommend Amaze File Manager because it has a built-in SQLite database explorer. Download the app and navigate to the following location.
Here you will see a bunch of files. We have to search for the file which starts with “origin_db_” followed by multiple characters. Apparently, there are 2 such files, ignore the one that ends with the text “journal”. Tap on the other one and choose to open it as a database file.
Once you are in the database, you will see numerous tables. We have to find the table “DEVICE” and tap on it to see the table values.
Among the values in the table, you will see an authentication key, note it down.
Next, force stops the Mi Fit app through system settings.
Open the Gadgetbridge app and tap on the “Start Discovery” button.
When you have the Mi Band 4 listed, long press on it to open the additional settings. Navigate to the bottom and you will find the “Auth Key” option. Tap on it and enter the Auth key derived in the previous step. Make sure you prefix it with “x0”. For instance, if your Auth key is “96724d6846073181b5217b7ff071daa3”, then enter it as “0x96724d6846073181b5217b7ff071daa3”.
Once you have entered the Auth key, go back tap on the Mi Band 4 and tap on the back button once again. If you have correctly followed the steps, Mi Band 4 will be successfully connected to the Gadgetbridge app. In case you face issues with Gadgetbridge crashing or not able to discover Mi Band 4, restart your Android device and try again.
If the pairing doesn’t work, make sure you also unpair the band from your Phone’s Bluetooth
Third-party apps for Gadgetbridge
Similar to Mi Fit, Gadgetbridge also lets third-party apps to access the fitness band data. Moreover, it even allows them to modify the settings of the fitness band. Gadgetbridge works seamlessly with Tasker so you can easily remap the buttons on your fitness band. In my case, I have been using Amazfit Bip and Mi Band 4 with the Gadgetbridge app. So, the third-party apps I would recommend are Mi Tools, Notify & Fitness for Mi Band, Sleep as Android, etc.
Gagdetbridge even lets you download the firmware of the fitness band. This comes in handy for third-party developers to make mods of the existing firmware. A good example is the custom firmware developed to display smileys on the Mi Band or the Amazfit Bip.
Gadgetbridge has been there for a while now, with fairly active development, but due to the recent restrictions being imposed in firmware, it’s difficult for Gadgetbridge to provide support for the latest fitness bands.
For more queries or issues regarding Gadgetbridge, let me know in the comments below.
Also Read: How to Add Custom Watch Faces on Mi Band 4