TiNi thin films have attracted much attention in recent years as intelligent and functional materials because of their unique properties. TiNi thin film based micro-actuators will become the actuator of choice in many aspects in the rapidly growing field of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMSs). In this review paper, some critical issues and problems in the development of TiNi thin films are discussed, including preparation and characterization considerations, residual stress and adhesion, frequency improvement, fatigue and stability, modeling of behavior as well as functionally graded or composite thin films. Comparison is made of TiNi SMA micro-actuation with other micro-actuation methods. Different types of TiNi thin film based microdevices, such as microgrippers, microswitches, microvalves and pumps, microsensors, etc. are also described and discussed.