lunedì 5 agosto 2019

[SOLVED] Xiaomi Xiao Yi HOME CN12 – This camera can only be used within China

[UPDATE!] 2019 08 06: The provided fix works also with the latest firmare ver.

[HINT!] Direct downgrade from firmware ver. to ver.  isn't possible. You need to first downgrade to ver. (I used, then upgrade to ver.


This last 14th July a friend of mine has appointed me to fix his camera Yi Home 720P model CN12 which all of the sudden, after an unintentional consent to the camera firmware upgrade, stopped to work.
The camera would say “This camera can only be used in China” and would shut down.
I first tried the "old school" fix... which was to downgrade the camera firmware to one of the 2015 versions.
To my great dismay with none of the five, year 2015 ( B to N), "region unlocked", original firmwares for CN model that I tried, the camera were able to connect to the given Wi-Fi network.(it took me hours of attempts to rule out the possibility that there was something wrong on the Wi-Fi settings or on the camera hardware, and that instead the failure on connecting to the Wi-Fi was only due to the firmware and Yi Home app versions in use. Grrrrrrrr )
Only with use of year 2016 firmwares ( A to B) the camera were able to connect to the local Wi-Fi, but then the "region lock" were operative and the camera would shut down soon after saying "This camera can only be used in China".
That was the 1ST "NO GO".

I realized that the manufacturer have been able to prevent the use of old firmwares by changing the way the YI Home app encode the Wi-Fi ID and password in the QRcode. They implemented a new way that only the newer firmware versions were able to decode properly.
I then tried to search, find, download, install, try, some older version of the YI Home app, to see if I could get to have the camera connected to the Wi-Fi with a 2015 firmware running on it... after having tried about ten apps in vain, it turned out that it was all just another waste of time.
That was the 2ND "NO GO".

So, established that a firmware downgrade couldn't solve the problem, I started to search for any possible "hack" of a 2016 version firmware.
I first found the yi-hack-v4 ( which apparently could have contained a workaround to the "region lock" issue... I was going to give it a try when, by reading the Issues list on yi-hack-v4 Github page, I found one thread specifically related to the CN12 model (
By reading that thread I realized that the yi-hack-v4 was defenitely not compatible with the camera I was working on.
That was the 3RD "NO GO".

By going on reading the said thread I then learned of the existence of another "hack", the Fritz Yi-hack project (, which anyway wasn't a solution to the "region-lock" issue.
But, luckily, in the README of the Fritz Yi-hack project, the author had written a paragraph dedicated to the "models that are usable only in China" and there he provided the link to this web page
The clever solution I found there was based on the use of a Telnet session to access the camera filesystem and doing the required modification.
Unfortunately, as my camera couldn't connect to the local Wi-Fi, it wasn't possible for me to start a wireless Telnet session.
That was the 4TH "NO GO".

Fortunately in that same page, the author has provided the link to the work of JonesChi which should have been able to perform the "hack" "off-line" without the use of a Telnet session and manually given commands... that was a great news for me... but... that solution was claimed to run only on camera with firmware version
I only had available the original CN version (found here so I tried to find the "C" version... it turned out that finding that version wasn't easy at all.
After having checked dozens of sites, broken links, fake download, wrong firmwares versions, etc... I finally found one only download (this one wich apparently was a valid for CN cameras... yet using that firmware had made me feel very uncomfortable due to unknown and untrusted uploader which could have been someone who had hacked the firmware to open a backdoor and remotely access the camera video streaming... uhmmmmm.
Anyway, I took the risk and I installed the firmware on the camera, then copied the JonesChi scripts on the micro SDcard, inserted the card in the camera, switched on an waited for the "hack" to be automatically applied according to the author claim...
But... nothing happened! :-/
That was the 5TH "NO GO".

I couldn't understand what was actually going on, I wasn't even sure that the firmware I installed was actually version as the name of the downloaded file isn't a sure proof of the file contents.
I decided to give a look at the shell script code that JonesChi wrote in file saved inside the "test" folder...
The script was fairly simple; basically what it was supposed to do was just to rename the original cloudAPI file (which is a binary executable), make a backup copy of that file with name cloudAPI.bak in the SD card and copy a new cloudAPI file (which is a shell script) from the SDcard to the same location of the original cloudAPI file.
So, when the script is executed a new file cloudAPI.bak should appear in the SD card, but in my case that didn't happen!
Now, the question was... is the script executed but then something goes wrong so that the original cloudAPI file can't be copied to the SD card or... the script isn't executed at all?
I was in need to access the camera via a Telnet session to check the boot process and get some clues of why the "hack" didn't work.
As I already said above my camera couldn't connect to the local Wi-Fi, it wasn't possible for me to start a wireless Telnet session, I had to try to make a wired connection.

I remembered I had somewhere a very old (about 17 years old) Serial RS232 UART to TTL adapter which was an accessory of my Panasonic GD76 first Polyphonic GPRS mobile phone...
I then opened the camera casing, found the TTL serial port lines pads, identified the Rx and Tx pad, soldered a couple of wire, connect the wires to the UART to TTL adapter, connect the adpater to the computer serial port, downloaded the proper version of Putty terminal emulator, run the emulator, power on the camera and...
NOTHING! no go! it didn't work, nothing were displaying on the terminal emulator window... eventually the adapter I tried wasn't suitable for the use I was making of it.
That was the 6TH "NO GO".

I had no other choice than going back to the test script and trying to use it to get the information I needed and debug the execution. 
After a few additions and modification to the script I found out that it wasn't executed at all... why? the filename wasn't recognized as valid filename by the camera firmware.
I then renamed the script from to and, yes!, the script was executed... but then the camera went in a bootloop :-/
The script tries to make the “hack” modifications, then it reboot the camera... at the next boot the camera execute again the script, the script code checks if the “hack” has been applied or not, if not it repeat the modifications and the reboot...
So, for some reasons, the script commands to apply the “hack” were failing and therefore the script kept repeating the commands and rebooting in an endless loop.
Now I had to find out why  the script commands to apply the “hack” were failing...
Using a various combination of Linux shell commands and redirection of the standard output to a file (and borrowing some commands from the script, found in mod available here ) and repeating the cycle
"- cycle BEGIN
1) unplug the camera cable
2) remove the sd card from the camera
3) insert the sd card to the card reader connected to the PC
4) open the sd card and check the contents
5) edit the script
6) unmount the sd card
7) remove the sd card from the reader
8) insert the sd card on the camera
9) plug the power cable to the camera
10) wait for the boot to be completed till reboot
- cycle END”
dozens times, i I've finally been able to figure out what was the problem and to apply a fix.

Finally... “I DID IT!” :-D

The JonesChi script commands were failing because their source and target file were given with a wrong path (wrong for the case of the CN12 model camera I was working on).
The source file path was set to /home/app while the correct one was /home... and the destination file path pointing to the SD card was set to /tmp/sd instead of /home/hd1.
Moreover, as the camera boot process halts after the complete execution of the script, then the script must be renamed or deleted after its first execution, when the "hack" is applied.

Once I fixed the script and the “hack” have been applied, the camera was finally running on firmware and free from the “region-lock/region-ban” restriction.

For convenience of whoever found this page in search of a solution that works on a CN12 camera here below is the modified version of the JonesChi script that works on that camera.
Just replace the text in /test/ with the following and rename the file to [ATTENTION! In Windows you need to use a text editor that can keep the Unix line endings (LF) when saving the file. See here]
Hope this helps! :)

P.S. Many thanks to Csaba Peter for his findings and clever solution and the article he published on this page
All the best!


# JonesChi's script.
# Modified by halnovemila (HalEx) to work on CN12 model

sdcarddir=`dirname $0 | sed -n 's/\/test//p'`

echo "Current dir= ${testdir}" >> $logfile
echo "SDcard dir= ${sdcarddir}" >> $logfile
cat /home/version >> $logfile
echo "========== LIST OF /home ============" >> $logfile
ls -l /home >> $logfile

if [ -f /home/cloudAPI_real ]
   echo "Already hacked ${timestamp}" >> $logfile
   echo "Start hacking ${timestamp}" >> $logfile
   cp /home/cloudAPI $sdcarddir/cloudAPI.bak
   mv /home/cloudAPI /home/cloudAPI_real
   cp $sdcarddir/cloudAPI /home/cloudAPI
   echo "Done hacking ${timestamp}" >> $logfile
   # fix bootcycle
   mv $testdir/ $testdir/

# Once the script is executed the boot process is halted,
# nothing else will be executed.
# Therefore if the hack has been already applied
# and this script executed,
# the camera will not complete the boot process
# and will seem like if it's not working.  

30 commenti:

Anonimo ha detto...

HI This is really helpful, but I cannot I try to download the JonesChi patch, unfortunately the url link was broken. Can you please provide the test zip so that I can download it?

Anonimo ha detto...

hi there, unfortunately it didn't work.

i succesfully downgraded (I can hear english now) and replaced the text in the script with notepad++ setting EOL to UNIX first. then I renamed the file according to instructions.

the camera boots and scans the QR code from the YI home app. it then connects to wifi and ends with "invalid QR code, please reset camera"

Anonimo ha detto...

Hi. I have 3 Chinese cameras 12CN54AARZ, 12CNDTFT04 and 12CNYCFNG5. The first two I succeeded to connect to my android phone using the same firmware version but I didn't succeed with the last one. I tried to connect to the app and I get the WIFI PASSWORD ERROR, and I don't know why. I thought being the same 12CN version I will be able to connect with the same firmware to the app, unfortunately it didn't. I didn't get the USE IN CHINA ONLY error and I was happy about it but this is becoming annoying because I didn't find many discussions about my error. The camera with error sees my wifi, I type the password, I scan the qr code, the light goes blue blinking, I get the CONNECTING THE WIFI and then after 2-3 minutes, I get the WIFI PASS ERROR and the light goes blinking orange. PLEASE HELP
I'm using Yi home camera app version 3.8.2_20190829 and for the cameras firmware version... two are working with this combo and one is not. Why?

Chxtreme ha detto...

I hope it was not too late to post this:
Below link content JonesChi patch with modified file.
Also latest firmware file.

1. Upgrade camera to by rename '' to 'home' and put on root of sdcard.
2. After done upgrade, if you got "This camera can only be used within China", then only proceed to copy all content of zip file into root of sdcard.
3. Your should able to camera with latest firmware. In some case, pls downgrade to then repeat step 1.

halnovemila ha detto...

Apologize to all who posted a comment earlier.
I didn't read them till now because I wasn't aware they existed.
I thought I had the email notification for comments enabled but I realized just now that it wasn't set.
If any of you who posted a comment still need to ask me something, please don't hesitate.
For those asking for a link to download the files, Chxtreme has been super kind to make the upload and provide the link on his comment. Thanks Chxtreme
For the Anonymous with the 3 CN12 cameras my guess is that the camera that fails to connect isn't running on firmware or above, but on some earlier version.
As also Chxtreme said in his comment at 3. try to downgrade to first, then upgrade to

All good things!

My Rose ha detto...

does this work for 18CN?

ZIV ha detto...

Hi, I have 2 cameras 12CN. I can't connect to my android phone. Already do downgrade to first, then upgrade to and no success :(

using the link from Chxtreme:

I get the WIFI PASS ERROR and the light goes blinking orange. PLEASE HELP
I have them connected in de pass but change my network and have to reconfigure all in.

Thanks in advance.

halnovemila ha detto...

Hi nmvilela,
my guess is that your camera firmware isn't upgraded.
The Wi-Fi pass error happens when the camera is running on old firmware that can't read properly the QR code made with the latest version of the app.
Make sure that no "test" folder is present on the SDcard when you do the firmware upgrade (or downgrade), only the file "home" (which is the firmware file) has to be present.
Make sure your camera can connect to the Wi-Fi (and giving the "this camera can only be used within China" message) before you copy the test folder with the hack file on the SDcard.
In other words, make sure you follow exactly the instructions given by Chxtreme in its comment here above.
Hope this helps.
If you'll succeed, please let us know.
All good things.

Ryan ha detto...


Can Help me, I hvae this 1080p, YYS.2016.CN model.
I tried inserting the microsd with the firmware, however the camera dont seems to detect it to do the firmware installation, It straightaway prompt for "waiting for connection".

Could you assist?

Thank you


Ryan ha detto...


Can Help me, I hvae this 1080p, YYS.2016.CN model.
I tried inserting the microsd with the firmware, however the camera dont seems to detect it to do the firmware installation, It straightaway prompt for "waiting for connection".

Could you assist?

Thank you


halnovemila ha detto...

Hi Ryan,
I'm sorry but I have no experience on the camera model you own.
My guess is that the you are trying to install a firmware that is NOT intended to that camera model
Apparently in the latest camera versions the firmware file to be saved on the SDcard isn't recognized by the camera at startup if the file has the "old" name "home"; the name has to be "home_" plus a suffix that depends on the camera model, something like "home_y203c".

Hope that helps

Anonimo ha detto...

Hi, I have 3 cameras 12CN. Already done this method:

Below link content JonesChi patch with modified file.
Also latest firmware file.

1. Upgrade camera to by rename '' to 'home' and put on root of sdcard.
2. After done upgrade, if you got "This camera can only be used within China", then only proceed to copy all content of zip file into root of sdcard.
3. Your should able to camera with latest firmware. In some case, pls downgrade to then repeat step 1.

i have the result is all 3pcs 12CN camera no longer pop up voice command from the camera saying "This camera can only be used within China".

But All 3 camera stuck at 30% streaming. I'm using Mi Home Apps latest version. No live streaming video at all..... Any master here experience this before? Appreciate any master can share the solution?

halnovemila ha detto...

Hi Anonymous,
I have no experience with your issues but as far as I can say there are only 3 factors involved that can be cause of it.
One factor is the camera firmware ,you may try to downgrade and use firmware version rather than
Second factor is the App version. You may try an earlier version than the latest.
Third factor is the Internet route. You may want to test your camera while connected to a different Wi-Fi or to try to replace your Wi-Fi router with a different one.

Also you may want to try disabling mobile data on your smartphone where the app is installed while you are using Wi-Fi connection. Having both Wi-Fi and mobile data enabled has been reported to cause connection issue on some phone.
Also check your internet connection and make sure the speed is good enough to support the cameras streaming.

Hope this helps.
If you'll be able to fix the issue, please come back here and leave a comment telling us how you did.

All good things.

Anonimo ha detto...

I have try all this 3 factors that you mentioned.
Factor One: use firmware version rather than FAIL-- Same result.
Second factor: I don't think is App version problem cause my other 12CN camera is working fine. Just my other 3pcs 12CN keep loading at 30%.
Third factor is the Internet route. Already try different house with different WIFI router. Not working, Same result stuck streaming at 30%

Tonny Hartono ha detto...

Hi Detto,

i'm having 7 cameras, the issue now is i cannot connect with the camera if i'm using mobile network ( not connected to the accesspoint at home where those cams are connected ) do you have any idea how to fix this ?
the error message is " Camera connect failed, please retry(-3003)
Many thanks

xumi ha detto...

I could connect to wifi (not the app). I can get RSPT stream wich is enough for me bu then get an annoying "invalid QR code please read somethingthatidontunderstand".

Can i get into ftp and just put the wifi info so it connects on further boots without speaking?

ZIV ha detto...
Questo commento è stato eliminato dall'autore.
ZIV ha detto...

I'm still desperate about this, I don't know what to do anymore.
I've tried everything and nothing works, which makes me frustrated because I already had both cameras working in 2016 when I followed this video...

my desire at this point is to put the cameras in the trash

I got "This camera can only be used within China", then copy all content of zip file into root of sdcard.

Test Folder (

Now the Camera after reading the QRCode, still in a blue continued ligth a can´t connect to wi-fi.

halnovemila ha detto...

Hi Ziv,
please make sure that the "test" folder is NOT present in the SDcard unless you have already done the downgrade to followed by the upgrade to
Only after you have successfully installed the firmware on the camera you can copy the "Test" folder to the SDcard and reboot the camera so that the camera can read it and apply it.
Also be aware that the Test folder needs to be deleted and copy back again if you want to use it a second time because it's a "onetime run hack" script, so once it's executed it doesn't run a second time.
Please, check your SDcard "test" folder and look for a "hacklog" file,if there's such file then you know the hack script has been executed once already.
Please open the "hacklog" file with notepad and copy the content and paste it here so I can read it .
Cheers .

AlbertOH ha detto...
Questo commento è stato eliminato dall'autore.
AlbertOH ha detto...

hi, i got some few questions,
1) to install it the first time do I need the yi home china app?
2) once i have updated thew cam to and copied all the file to sd card the cam will reboot, then I have to reset it and i have to use the international app to pair the cam?

halnovemila ha detto...

Hi AlbertOH,
as far as I know this camera model works only with the China version of Yi Home app.

ajieboy ha detto...

VERY HELPFUL! Your script and guidance is WORKS! Thank you!

Anonimo ha detto...

hi there - first thanks so much for this!

I foolishly update my software to 1.8.7 and broke my previous hack.

I tried to just copy the 4 files
Test Folder (

into SDcard but it doesnt seem to work and keeps saying this camera can only use in china. The script doesn't seem to have run. I don't see any log of the hack

I guess I need to go to 1.8.5? But I copy 1.8.5 into the sdcard and place it into the camera but doesnt seem to be installing / downgrade firmware. I still see it as 1.8.7.

Any idea what i am doing wrong?


Kees ha detto...

Hi Guys, I tried everything, more times over. Nothing works, trew the piece of shit in the garbage.
Thanks for all your help

ChiL ha detto...

does this works on 18CN 1080P camera?I have two lying around

Sebastián S ha detto...

Hi. I know this is an old post, but I found it looking for a solution. I have an old Xiaomi Yi Ant Cam, I think is the first one that was available (model is 21CN) which I haven't used in years but I want to use it again. I found that I can't connect to the app anymore, unfortunately all the voice messages are in chinese so no idea what it says, but I think is related to the fact that it is a chinese model intended now for use only in China.

I tried the instructions provided but I have no success. I have one question, how do I know if the firmware upgrade was succesful in the first place? I put the home file in the SD root and follow the instructions, the camera boots again, etc, but when I look into the SD card the home file is still there, is this normal? How can I know which firmware is currently on the camera?

Anonimo ha detto...

I can confirm that following the Chxtreme and halnovemila's advices and instructions I could make my Yi Cam model 12CNY7Z0YK work again!! Thanks so much and I would want to add another FUNDAMENTAL WARNING that maybe is underconsidered on this post and it is that: This solution WILL ONLY WORK for Yi Home CHINA APP!!
You can download the .apk for that app from different sites (from example at version "YI Home China 5.7.3_20220126 (arm64-v8a + arm-v7a) (Android 4.4+)" worked with my cam. Login with your personal account on that app and then pair the cam just like you do too in the International Yi Home app. And that's it! Hope it helps for people who still have the same problem in 2022 :P

Thanks everyone!

halnovemila ha detto...

@Sebastian S
If the script is executed then a log file name hacklog will be created and few lines of information will be added to that file at each execution.
The first line will show Current dir=, the second line will show SDcard dir=, and the third line will show the current firmware version of the camera.
If the file hacklog can't be found on the SD card, then it means that the script has never been executed not even once.
If the script is executed multiple times then also the three lines above mentioned will be added multiple times so always look to the last one at the end of the file.
Hope this helps :-)

Thank you for your useful advice and for the appreciation :-)
All good things!

PlanetMedia ha detto...


I accidentally updated the rootfs with an incompatible update (17CN), do you maybe have a proper rootfs for the 12CN version?

I would be really grateful.