45 Blackberry tips and tricks for you.You probably bought a BlackBerry for the keyboard and fantastic battery life but there's more to it than that.
|45 Blackberry tips and tricks|
You can just pick a BlackBerry up and start using it, because all you need to do is press the Menu key to get the main options on every screen - but the BlackBerry OS hides a huge number of clever tricks and shortcuts that make it faster and simpler to get things done.
There are some tips you won't need often - like pressing Alt, Del and the right-hand Caps key at the same time to reboot instead of just restarting; others you'll use all the time, like pressing the red 'hang up' key to get back to the home screen and clicking the spanner icon on the home screen to open Options. Here are our top 25 Blackberry tips.
1. Use the keyboard less(Blackberry tips and tricks)
BlackBerry has always had a QWERTY keyboard and you can type everything out in full - but you can save time with the built-in shortcuts. Press space twice at the end of a sentence to get the full stop and an automatic capital on the next word.
Don't bother with apostrophes in words like I'm and isn't (type im and the BlackBerry will correct it for you); there are other handy abbreviations like 'wel' to get 'we'll' and 'il' to get 'I'll' and you can add your own with Options > AutoText.
AUTOTEXT: Speed up typing by creating your own abbreviations and corrections
2. Quick capitals(Blackberry tips and tricks)
You don't need Shift - press and hold a letter key to type the upper case letter.
3. Skip Symbol(Blackberry tips and tricks)
If you're typing an email address into a field that expects an email address, don't bother looking for how to type the @; just hit space and BlackBerry with put the @ in for you. Press space when you need the . in the middle of the email address and it will fill that in, too. Do the same for URLs in the browser; pressing space fills in the periods faster than typing them by hand.
4. Fast select(Blackberry tips and tricks)
There's a Select command on the menu for choosing what to copy and paste - but you can make a selection just by holding down the Shift key as you scroll the trackball.
5. Keyboard shortcuts(Blackberry tips and tricks)
Save on scrolling by using 't' to get to the top of any email message, web page or other long screen and 'b' to get to the bottom. There are specific shortcuts for all the built-in apps like using the Mute button to pause videos or music or skipping to the next or previous track by pressing and holding the volume up and down keys (which also zoom in and out in the camera - although many apps use I and O to zoom); there's a list in the Help tool.
SAVE TIME: Put the keyboard to work with shortcuts in every built-in app
6. Choose dialling or shortcuts(Blackberry tips and tricks)
Under Options > Phone Options > General Options you can set Dial From Home Screen to Yes or No; if you set it to Yes you can start typing a name to dial the number on the home screen, if you set it to No you can type the first letter of apps on the home screen to open them (M for Mail, B for browser, C to compose email - and oddly N for Messenger, L for Calendar and U for Calculator).
7. Web columns(Blackberry tips and tricks)
Press Z in the web browser to reflow the page into a column the size of the BlackBerry screen so it's easier to read; press Z again to go back to a normal page view you can scroll around.
EASY READING: Switch between seeing the original layout and a version of the page reformatted as one long BlackBerry-sized column
9. Which browser?(Blackberry tips and tricks)
There are three different browsers on the BlackBerry; a WAP browser for viewing content from your mobile network, the BlackBerry HTML browser (and a hotspot browser that prioritises the Wi-Fi connection). If you have problems accessing or loading Web pages, choose Options > Browser Configuration and set Browser to BlackBerry Browser and make sure Options > General Properties > Default Browser is also set to BlackBerry Browser.
10. Don't get mobile Web sites(Blackberry tips and tricks)
You can also try changing Browser Identification from BlackBerry to Firefox or IE to force the full versions of specific pages to load instead of the cut-down mobile versions - but they might be slow or not load fully.
BROWSER SWAP: The BBC web site always loads the mobile version on BlackBerry; if you want to see the full site, have your BlackBerry pretend to run Firefox or IE
11. Fast search(Blackberry tips and tricks)
You can search for contacts, messages and inside files and web pages - press S to search in contacts and messages and F to search in other apps.
12. Colour-code messages(Blackberry tips and tricks)
If you get both work and personal email on your BlackBerry, you can change the colour of either set of messages. Choose Options > Security Options >Information> Message Outline Colours and either Enterprise Messages or Other Messages.
COLOUR-CODED: Show work and personal messages in different colours
13. Menu multi-tasking(Blackberry tips and tricks)
BlackBerry has had multitasking for years but it's subtly done; apps stay running so you can switch back to them (unless you run out of memory when they're closed automatically). To get back to another app, press and hold the Menu button to get the task switcher.
14. Lock with mute(Blackberry tips and tricks)
Some BlackBerrys have both a lock and a mute button on the top edge, others - like the original Bold - only have a mute button. You can always lock the screen by scrolling down to the Lock icon but it's faster to just press and hold mute until the screen locks (do the same to unlock it).
15. Real convenience(Blackberry tips and tricks)
There are two 'convenience keys' - one on each side of the BlackBerry; you've probably found one of them by knocking it and hearing that irritating 'say a command' message. If you never use voice command, choose Options > Screen/Keyboard to change the buttons to something more useful - starting the camera, opening the music player or launching your favourite app.
QUICK START: Put two apps or commands you use all the time at your fingertips
16. Tweak your trackball(Blackberry tips and tricks)
Use Options > Screen/Keyboard and scroll to the bottom of the page to choose the horizontal and vertical sensitivity (how far it moves across the screen when you move it) and whether you hear a click as it rolls.
17. Turn off speakerphone(Blackberry tips and tricks)
The slightly confusing way to put a call on speakerphone is to use Menu > Activate Speakerphone; the even more confusing way to turn it off is Menu > Activate Handset - or you can use the $ key to turn it on and off. (And the $ key produces the $ sign in email, use Options > Screen/Keyboard > Currency key to set it to £ instead).
18. Say a command(Blackberry tips and tricks)
Voice command does more than voice dialling; if you want to check your signal and battery strength you can wade through the Options menu or you can hit the voice command button and say 'status' or 'check battery' and 'check signal strength'.
19. Say it again(Blackberry tips and tricks)
Voice recognition works quite well, but you can train it by reading a list of numbers and words; choose Options > Voice Dialing> Adapt Voice.
VOICE TRAINING: Choose Adapt Voice and your BlackBerry will ask you to read a list of sample names and numbers
20. Hidden Help(Blackberry tips and tricks)
The hidden 'Help Me!' screen shows the signal strength, battery level, device PIN, free space, space in use, IMEI, OS version, how long the BlackBerry has been on and some other info that can be useful for troubleshooting. View it by pressing Alt + Caps + H.
MORE INFO: The Help Me! Screen collects key information together
21. Archive, don't uninstall(Blackberry tips and tricks)
Only the very latest BlackBerry models have anything like enough memory for all the apps you want. When you run out of space, pick the ones you use least and archive them to your microSD card (this only works with apps from App World). Select the app in the My World sections of App World and choose Menu > Archive; archived apps have a green arrow on their icons and you can click them to reinstall - but you may have to restart to archive or restore an app.
ARCHIVE APPS: You can't run apps from the SD card but you can archive them to save space
22. Save power overnight(Blackberry tips and tricks)
BlackBerry is very frugal on battery life and you can make it last even longer by having yours turn itself off overnight and back on in the morning. Choose Options > Auto On/Off; you can have different on and off times for weekdays and weekends.
23. Master Control Program(Blackberry tips and tricks)
Use the free third-party tool MCP (http://mcpfx.com) for tweaking your BlackBerry, doing a factory reset in an emergency - or just installing updates more easily than with the sprawling and inefficient BlackBerry Desktop software.
TWEAK BLACKBERRY: Install a new OS or tweak the modules on your BlackBerry with the excellent Master Control Program
24. Install any app(Blackberry tips and tricks)
If you want to run an app that doesn't have an installer - including alternative email clients like Astrasync and NotifySync which RIM won't sign for installation - connect your BlackBerry by USB, switch to mass storage mode so it shows up on your PC as a drive and copy the JAR file to the root folder. On your BlackBerry use the Media app to open the folder and select the JAR file to install it.
25. Save money on texts(Blackberry tips and tricks)
If you're sending a message to another BlackBerry user, BlackBerry Messenger is free -but you need to know their BlackBerry PIN.The easiest way to get someone in your contact list is to invite them.
26. Use Wifi when available - Turn Off Wifi when not in use (Blackberry tips and tricks)
Wifi seems to be the biggest influencer of battery life on newer devices like the Bold 9900/9930. In all of our tests and real world outings, having Wifi on and connected to a Wifi network was amazing for battery life. Using the Wifi network for data instead of the carrier network makes a HUGE difference in battery life (the radios don't have to work as hard). The Bold 9900 can get a full "work day" of use and still sit at around 80% battery life come quitting time all thanks to Wifi.
However when you know you won't be using Wifi if you're out for the day or somewhere where there is no Wifi connection, you can simply turn it off to keep it from eating away at your battery. This keeps the device from searching for networks and draining the battery.
Long story short - if you have a Wifi network available ... use it. If you don't ... turn it off.
To Disable Wifi
· Click on the Network Settings area on your home screen
· Uncheck Wi-Fi (to enable Wifi repeat the process but check the box)
27. Dim the Backlight(Blackberry tips and tricks)
When you fire up a new device, more often than not the backlight brightness is set at 70%. This is all well and good to start as you can see the screen clearly and everything looks great. Your natural tendency to want to see things as bright as possible may have you cranking it up to 100%, however this can more quickly drain your battery as the extra juice needed to keep the screen fully lit up eats away at battery life. Turning the brightness down (even just a bit) can help immensely to extend your battery. Personally I always drop my screen brightness to 10% and have never had an issue. It may seem a bit dark at first for some, but trust me, once you adjust to it you'll never know the difference and your battery will thank you.
To change your backlight brightness:
· Go to Options > Display > Screen Display
· Scroll to Backlight Brightness and change to 10
28. Change Your Backlight Timeout (Blackberry tips and tricks)
Having the backlight timeout set to a low value keeps your screen from staying on unnecessarily when you're done doing whatever you're doing. In most cases there is no need to have the screen stay on for 2 minutes or even 1 minute after you're done using the device. I think that sticking to 20 or even leavng it at the default 30 seconds works just fine, though if you're really in need of more precious seconds of battery life you can put it all the way down to a 10 second timeout. Having a short timeout on your backlight keeps the screen from staying on too long and eating up your battery.
To adjust the Backlight Timeout:
· Go to Options > Display > Screen Display
· Scroll to Backlight Timeout and change to 20 Sec.
29. Turn Off Bluetooth When Not In Use (Blackberry tips and tricks)
Bluetooth is a great feature of BlackBerry smartphones. It lets you connect with devices such as headsets, computers, speakers and much more. However when not in use, having Bluetooth active can slowly take away from your overall battery life. When you're not using Bluetooth it's always a good idea to just turn it off. Granted you won't be able to automatically connect to devices without turning it on again, but it's only a few clicks away so it's never too much of a hassle to fire it up again.
To Disable Bluetooth:
· Click on the Network Settings area on your home screen
· Uncheck Bluetooth (to enable Bluetooth repeat the steps but check the box)
As for Bluetooth while talking on the phone, the Crack team debates this one back and forth. Arguably you should get better BlackBerry life if you're on a call using a Bluetooth headset or Bluetooth Speakerphone (since you're now saving your BlackBerry from having to use it's microphone and speakers). Over the years we've found this can vary a bit depending, so it's something you'll want to test out with whatever Bluetooth Accessories you use. But for sure when you're not using Bluetooth, turn it off.
30. Change Network Settings In Poor Coverage (Blackberry tips and tricks)
This one not many people think of but it can also be a big help on the battery. If you happen to find yourself in an area with poor network coverage for your carrier, you can change up your settings or even turn off data completely and save yourself some precious battery bars. Sometimes when you find yourself in poor coverage it could be due to a clogged network (as happens often to the Crack Team at tradeshows or for those who are on AT&T in big cities like New York or San Francisco). If this is the case, you can access your Network Settings and change your device from 3G/H+ down to 2G. This drops your "3G data" and gets you on the slower 2G network, but also clears things up as your device won't constantly struggle to find a data connection. It may sound a bit odd, but in times of need it definitely does the trick. Depending on your situation, this could literally add a day, never mind hours, to your battery life.
Change your Network Settings to 2G:
· Click on the Network Settings area on your home screen
· Choose Networks and Connections > Mobile Network
· Choose the dropdown box next to Network Mode and select 2G
Alternatively, you can totally disable data on your device by simply turning data services off in this same menu. Keep in mind this will kill all data to your device, so apps, emails, BBM and the like won't be received.
31. Use the Auto On/Off feature or Bedside Mode(Blackberry tips and tricks)
This is a simple yet not well known feature of BlackBerry Smartphones. Built into the OS is the ability to automatically turn the device on and off at given times. This is extremely useful for saving battery life as well as turning the device off when you're sleeping, in daily meetings etc. In BlackBerry 7 you can set the Auto On/Off for both weekdays and weekends and if you learn to use it correctly it can help out tremendously with your battery life. Keep in mind that this will totally shut down the device so you won't receive emails, phone calls or SMS messages as it's essentially the same as powering off the device. The good news is that if you have an alarm set before your turn on time the device will power on to sound the alarm.
To use Auto On/Off
· Select Options > Device > Auto On/Off
· Check Enabled for Weekday, Weekend or both
· Choose the time you'd like the device to turn on and the time to turn off (ie. 10pm to 7am)
Also lumped in with the Auto On/Off is Bedside Mode. This nifty feature is accessed through Clock > Options and lets you automatically turn off the device LED and Radio as well as dim the screen when Bedside Mode is active. This feature lets the device remain on while not taking up any extra battery life with the device radio or LED active. The clock will be displayed and the screem dimmed, so if you don't want to worry about missing phone calls or SMS messages, this is definitely a better way to go. You can also power off the display fully in Bedside mode, further saving battery life (just hit the screen lock button once in Bedside mode).
32. Lock Your Device and/or use a BlackBerry Case w/ sleeper magnet (Blackberry tips and tricks)
While locking the device is something you should do anyway (better security when you use a password) it can also help save battery life. When your device is in your pocket or purse and it gets banged around, sometimes the screen will activate when a key is pressed. To prevent this you can either use the lock button on your device or set a device password with a timeout. This is a good practice to keep the device safe while preventing the screen from turning on when you don't want it to. You can also use one of the many BlackBerry holstersthat contains a sleeper magnet - automatically putting your device to sleep when you put it in the holster.
33. Exit Unused Apps (Blackberry tips and tricks)
Simply closing unused apps can go a long way in helping battery life. In particular apps that constantly pull your GPS location or perfom other tasks really hinder your battery life when not in use. To easily close these apps you can use the built-in App Switcher to see what's running on your device, then close anything you aren't using.
To close unused apps:
· Press and hold the Menu button to open the app switcher
· Highlight and select the app you want to close
· When in the app, press the Menu button again then exit (shutdown, logout) the app
34. Change App Refresh Settings (Blackberry tips and tricks)
Apps like Twitter, Facebook and others that run in the background on your device can eat up precious battery life in no time. These apps constantly refresh at set intervals and slowly chip away at battery life you could be saving. For any app that has a background refresh, you'll want to turn the refresh rate up or even off completely. Twitter for example can be set to refresh at anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour. Having the app refresh every five minutes isn't the best idea if you're looking to conserve battery power, so changing it to 1 hour or even turning it off and manually refreshing as needed goes a long way. The same is the case for Facebook, Social Feeds and other apps that refresh in the background.
35. Charge Your Device (and buy a spare battery!) (Blackberry tips and tricks)
Last but not least is the "no brainer" of the bunch. Charge your device whenever you have the chance. Be it at home or in your office with a standard wall charger or BlackBerry charging pod, in your car with a car charger or wherever you happen to be. Charging in your down time is obviously the best way to keep your battery up and running all day long.
If you happen to be on the go daily and fear your device won't make it through the day, why not just carry a spare battery? This is the best way to ensure you're up and running when you need to be and will leave you worry free knowing you have an extra battery ready to roll when you hit the red.
36.General Tips: (Blackberry tips and tricks)
·Roll the trackball to scroll horizontally in any field where you can enter/edit or view text.
·Roll the trackball vertically to scroll vertically or to go to different fields to change options.
·Hold the Shift (CAP) key while you roll the trackball to select multiple items in a list (such as messages). You may use this to delete messages, for instance.
·Type the first letter of an item in an option lists or menu to jump directly to that item.
·Type the first letters of a name or the first few letters of the first name and last name separated by a space to quickly find a contact in the Address Book Screen. e.g. 'jo sm' to find John Smith.
·Press C to compose a new message from withing Messages.
·Rearrange the Ribbon (menu): In the Home (icon) screen, press the menu key to bring up a menu. You can then select Move or Hide an icon. If you have hidden an icon, you can select Show All to show it again. A hidden icon will appear with an X over it or shadowed. To un-hide press the menu while on it and uncheck Hide Icon.
·The BlackBerry display can be adjusted to allow reading messages while conserving battery power. Go to Option icons, Screen/Keyboard. Change the Backlight Brightness to 40% and set the Backlight Timeout to 1 minute or perhaps 90 seconds.
·If you've lost signal or data coverage, try turning the radio off/on by going to Manage Connections. Uncheck then recheck the box for Mobile Network. Also, try going into, Options, Host Routing Table and clicking the menu key, then selecting 'Register now'. After doing this you should receive a registration message from your wireless carrier. If this fails, pull out battery and reboot BlackBerry.
·Password protect your BlackBerry: to set a password, go to the Options menu. If you have a Password option, select that. If not, click on Security Settings, General Settings. In either case, change Password to Enabled. Select the desire Security Timeout value, then click the menu key and choose Save. You will be prompted to enter a new password and confirm the new password. You should also go to Owner item in the Options menu and enter your name, a phone number (other than BlackBerry, etc). When password protection kicks in, the owner information is displayed on the screen. Note: if the wrong password is entered 10 times, the BlackBerry will perform a security wipe and delete all data stored on the device.
·To support more than one email signature: Go to Messages, then click the Menu key and choose Options, then choose Email Settings. Change the Use Auto Signature to No. Then 'AutoText' to add the alternate signatures you wish to use.
·AutoText: Create your own abbreviations by going to Options, AutoText. Click the Menu key and choose New. Enter an abbreviation then enter the text that will replace the abbreviation. Choose Specified Case if the replacement text is a proper noun, otherwise choose SmartCase. If the replacement text is at the beginning of a sentence, the first letter will be capitalized, if it occurs in mid-sentence, it will be lower case. Hold the ALT Key while you roll thumb-wheel to scroll horizontally in any field where you can enter or view tex.
37.Message Tips: (Blackberry tips and tricks)
a. Enter or spacebar: scroll down a page/screen at a time.
b. ALT-Enter: scroll back a page/screen at a time.
c. b: scroll to bottom of page or list.
d. t: scroll to top of page or list.
e. u: jump to closest unread message in a list.
f. n: jump to next message.
g. p: jump to previous message.
h. backspace/delete key: delete previous character while typing or delete message if viewing it in a list.
R: Reply to this message.
L: Reply to all.
F: Forward this message.
· Press the Shift Key and then scroll the trackball to select (highlight) text. If you release the Shift key and scroll the trackball you will select entire lines. Press the Shift key again at any time to start selecting by character again.
· Hold down the ALT Key and click the trackball, release the trackball and then use it to scroll whole line. You can press and hold ALT Key at anytime to start selecting by character again.
· Click Menu key and choose Select from the Menu. Roll the trackball down to select the entire lines. Click trackball again and select Copy.
· With either method, click the trackball and select Cut or Copy... to Paste, go to insertion point, or open a new message or whatever, click the trackball and then select Paste.
38.Composing Message Tips: (Blackberry tips and tricks)
· Press and hold a letter to capitalize it.
· Press the Space key twice to insert a period and capitalize the next letter.
· When typing in an E-Mail field, press the Space key to insert "@" and "."(period). e.g. Type: john <space> xyz <space> com to create email@example.com. Backspace and type again to over-ride this like you would with AutoText.
· Press and hold a letter key and roll the trackball to scroll through international/accent characters, equation symbols and other marks.
· For other symbol, press Symbol SYM key. Scroll to highlight a symbol then click trackball or type the letter shown below that symbol.
39.Calendar Tips: (Blackberry tips and tricks)
(From Calendar screen, click Menu key and choose Options, then General options. Change Enable Quick Entry to No.)
a. Press T to go to Today in the Calendar screen.
b. Press N or Space to go to Next (day, week, month depending on the view you are in).
c. Press P to go to previous (day, week, month depending on the view you are in).
d. Click Trackball to create a new entry.
e. Press A to go to Agenda View.
f. Press M to go to Monthly View.
g. Press W to go to Weekly View.
h. Press D to go to Daily View.
i. Press G to go to a specific date in the Calendar screen.
40.Battery Tips: (Blackberry tips and tricks)
The largest draw on battery power is the transmitter, if you are transmitting a lot (such as while on phone), you can expect reduced battery life.
Being in fringe or no coverage areas will eat up your battery as well, since the BlackBerry frequently attempts to connect with the tower. If you're in this situation, you can go to Manage Connection icon and uncheck Mobile Network. Or try to press and hold Mute key (usually on top of device) to place device in standby mode to conserve the battery life. Turn the radio/device back on when you're in a better coverage.
41.Change Battery Graph to Numerical Value: (Blackberry tips and tricks)
· Rather than looking at the signal bars, you can change the coverage indicator to show signal strength in digital (dBm) format. While at the Home (icon) screen hold down the ALT key while you type NMLL. The bars change to digital mode. A lower number is better, and anything between -90 and -50 dBm is good.
· To get the signal bars, repeat the same procedure: hold down the ALT Key while typing NMLL.
42.Help Me Screen (Blackberry tips and tricks)
While holding down the ALT key and the Left Shift key at the same time, press the letter 'h'. This brings up the "Help Me!" screen that lists detailed device information including software version, PIN, uptime, IMEI, signal strength, battery level, file free and file total.
43.Event Log (Blackberry tips and tricks)
Hold down the ALT while typing LGLG. This brings up the event log where you can clear events (free some memory). This can be useful for technicians for advanced troubleshooting/diagnosis.
44.Include phone # or PIN # in a E-Mail message using AutoText: (Blackberry tips and tricks)
In the message body type the following AutoText entries followed by the spacebar to insert information into a message:
a. mypin: Inserts BlackBerry PIN Number
b. mynumber: Inserts BlackBerry Phone Number.
c. myver: Inserts BlackBerry model number/software version
d. mydcid: Inserts Direct Connect Number (on Sprints/Nextel device).
45.Reboot BlackBerry: (Blackberry tips and tricks)
· Remove/Replace Battery.
· While holding the ALT Key and the Left Shift key at the same time, press the Delete key until the BlackBerry reboots. This will restart the BlackBerry and no stored data will be lost.
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45 Blackberry tips and tricks
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