BBM for iOS gets updated - makes signing up easier and adds new emoticons

By James Richardson on 3 Jun 2014 01:14 pm EDT

We knew that BBM for iOS would be updated soon and the new version has indeed dropped (version, so make sure you tell your buddies who use an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to communicate.

What's nice to see here is that the initial sign up process has been made easier - something that many users have complained about since BBM went cross platform.

As you'll see below there are also a bunch of new features - including new emoticons - as well as some fixes and improvements.

New in this version:

  • Simple sign up for new BlackBerry Messenger users
  • New sign in screen for existing BBM users
  • Improved experience for adding BBM contacts by mail
  • Updates tab has been renamed "Feeds"
  • 16 new emoticons
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements

Have you managed to convince your iOS friends to use BBM yet? If not, here's some quick tips you can tell them to help them make the switch.

Topics: BBM Apps

Reader comments

BBM for iOS gets updated - makes signing up easier and adds new emoticons


Can't wait for the BB10 update and cross platform video calling.

Q10SQN100-1/ CB10'n

I was able to convince some of my iPhone friends to install BBM. Some were successful and others didn't have any ppl on it besides me so removed it.

Just keep on improving the features, adding more and making it a better experience and the user base will continue to grow!!!

 Posted via CB10 on my  Z30

What are the new emoticons? I updated on my iphone but can't really tell. Are these icons on BB10 bbm already?

Posted via CB10

ibimmer got an iPhone, you just gave some people ammo for the time you call first... and by some people I really only mean one person. Good luck with that!

Triple D's 4G on BB! 

I will wait for x-platform BBM Video for my own "marketing efforts". Hope it will be reliable.

Still many friends out there not using it, that might win them over. But yeah, still a few reliability issues...

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

I've convinced about 5 people to get bbm on their Android and iPhone. Three of them don't care, and the other 2 have 1-2 contacts! I wouldn't exactly say that cross platform bbm is a huge success.

I've seen 1 BlackBerry commercial in a year, it's 15 seconds and rarely plays. Also I've yet to see a bbm commercial or much of anything properly promoting bbm besides that bbm van. C'mon BlackBerry, get moving on this instead of sitting on your hands hoping.

Via The BlackBerry Z10 Experience.

Even if the android version was tweaked, so we can sideload it on the PlayBook. This is a huge failure in my opinion.

The hopes are still going, PlayBook is dead. It'll be easier for you to get an android tablet or iPad.

Posted via tin can telephone

I'm still waiting for the official update so that my group can share pictures, voice note, share location, unread megs, un played voice note..

 BB FANS via Q10 

I've talked 4 people into it but I'm waiting for the video calls upgrade before I try and talk my friends from Australia and new Zealand into trying it.

Posted via CB10

I have all my family members using and loving the groups feature. My son loves being able to BBM me from his ipod touch,will blow his mind once we can video chat! Can we also get some more practical stickers! lol When in my day to day am I going to have the need to send the ultimate warrior to someone!
Long live BlackBerry

Posted via CB10 on my glorious Z30!

The notification features are horrible on iOS so friends avoid using BBM altogether.

Powered by BB10

I agree.. it's very horrendous that most of them miss a lot of conversations and replies due to lack of notification

Posted via CB10

My Android friends are reporting missing entire paragraphs that show as read on my end , but in fact they never received it.

Poetry in Motion

it is not but for example in the Czech Republic nobody i know has it or knows it though the crucial thing for a messenger is that the other person has it as well.

How about Canada? The "home" of BlackBerry! In 2010 I had 25+ bbm contacts, now I'm down to 7 or 8 and nobody really seems to care.

Via The BlackBerry Z10 Experience.

Priority No1: Other Platforms. IOS, Android etc will be there in 5 years
BlackBerry OS? Not sure. They want BBM to have success beyond Blackberry Handsets which are suffering.
RedBerry Z10 #00167  OS10.2.1.3175

Lansscape mode should be standard. Not using BBM, don't know anybody.( here in Germany most ppl don't know Blackberry anyway, thinking long time dead already) No Lansscape modus sounds like fun,lol. But stickers that's important. Same with BB OS, they make icons more pretty but calling by accident and taking 20 pictures a day by mistake they can not fix!

RedBerry Z10 Limited Edition #0167

I knew you were German because you didn't get that Aldi Talk rep *** joke. But for work here in Berlin Vodafone is still pushing BB. I think What's App has over 90% of the market here, but I still deleted it and told everyone to BBM me or SMS. many people tried BBM but most deleted it because it's too buggy on android and iPhone, plus I was there only friend there.

Triple D's 4G on BB! 

I was just talking with someone whose son deleted BBM from their Android because of the data cost. Text is free (or on an un limited plan) for them, but they were eating up data doe to BBM. Can anyone speak to this??? Is it better or worse than WhatsApp?

What will video calls do to their consumption?

Tapped and flicked from my BlackBerry Z30!

My wife's not having any problems with data consumption on her android phone. BBM actually saves data if you send a lot of photos, but most android users hate the active icon on the top left. all of your contacts are automatically added with What's App if you like it or not, then people can see your status and photo ( even enlarge ). A manager I know checked up on a young woman that applied for work, he could see a photo of her giving the finger...she didn't get an invite. He also looks up his employees last login sometime at 3-4 am. So privacy is horrible.

Triple D's 4G on BB! 

I have gotten about 10 people now. Adding BBM Video would make it an easier sell. I think some advertising when this improvement is made would be effective.

Posted via CB10

BBM is seriously falling behind WhatsApp (and now iMessage/iOS 8 is coming up with new features too). I've wishlist of features / bug reports for BBM. But this wishlist is moot if BBM can not even reliably deliver messages to iOS and Android platform. That's step 1 for any instant messenger!

When will this be addressed? It has been 6+ months and message delivery on iOS and Android is still spotty. Message doesn't get delivered instantly (gray checkmark, no D icon for a long time, this happens very often when messages are sent to iOS / Android BBMs)

*** Hello BBM team: I can live-demo this to anyone from BlackBerry team (just contact me if you work for BlackBerry and are looking to fix this bug, and need help from end-users to recreate this issue).


Serious?... with Android I find it as good as with bb.. & with apple it seems the settings need a tweak & it's fine then. I've convinced about 40 peeps to use it consistently & most don't have ANY Issues now. Just my experience, others may vary ;-)

Posted via CB10

Awesome that you don't have any issues. I am happy to live-demo this to BB team (if they are interested). Even if a SMALL percentage is having issues, it's a big deal.

Let's say out of 10 friends, only 1 has reliability issue. Well, this 1 guy is going to always want to use whatever he perceives to be reliable (WhatsApp etc). So, now remaining 9 are never going to un-install WhatsApp because it works (whereas BBM doesn't work).

So, I really hope (*pray*) BBM team seriously investigates this and fixes this even if it's only impacting a small number of users.

But if my experience is anything to go by, it's impacting a lot of iOS/Android users (not an insigniciant small percentage). But I am trying to say, even if percentage was actually small, it'd still be important to fix it.

WhatsApp has (over the years) managed to figure out how to reliably deliver messages. It works out of the box (no special settings required). I am sure BBM team can figure this out too. Just need to put some focus on this. They may be thinking it's only impacting very small number of users, so it's not a big priority.

By the way, what settings on Apple do you speak of? Let me know so I can advise my friends to change those settings. Though I suspect settings are already okay. Doesn't hurt to double check though.

I'd be interested in hearing what "tweaks" are needed in ios cuz my step daughter keeps saying she never gets any notification of bbm's until she opens the bbm app.

Posted via CB10

It is a problem with IOS user not excepting the default settings when they install the app. They don't grant BBM access to notifications and push notifications that allows you to receive alerts when the app is not open. As a result people don't receive notification and on the sender's phone we just see the Grey check and not the blue d.

Posted via CB10

All people should have to do is go into the phone settings >permissions> apps >BBM>then should look for turning on push notifications or notifications and turn it on.

Posted via CB10

I confirmed - my friends already have that on and yet it doesn't work. BBM messages are not delivered unless they open the app.

If your friends on iOS are able to receive messages, great. But (some) of my friends are not getting BBM notifications (I double checked their settings as you said) and yet WhatsApp notifications seem to work just fine.

Hello BLACKBERRY BBM TEAM - are you reading this? How many more months before a fix? BBM is supposed to be your crown jewel - how can you watch this (BBM) fall behind competitors?

This is definitely a real problem with respect to lost notifications or delivery, as well as a perceived problem with respect to speed. I've posted before so I'll just be brief with what I know as I've worked with the BBM team to iron out some of the issues but not all. I don't work for BlackBerry but was able to reach them and give detailed reproduction to them of the problems. It is a bit concerning that they are not able to repro these issues internally.

The main problem is partly to do with the APNS notifications that iOS Uses along with app scheduling. Apps remain running for a period of time before they are put to sleep (i.e. not true multitasking.) When the app is put to sleep it is periodically woken up to check for notifications. After which it will go to sleep again. When the app is sleeping naturally nothing will come in.

The other problem is the difference in transparency of message delivery. In BBM the check mark means the server has the message, the D means the phone has the message, and the R means it was read. When BBM is open or the process is woken up, the D appears in near real time, as does the R. When it's sleeping we see the checkmark for long periods, because apps are quickly put to sleep and stay that way for long times. It's very frustrating because we know it's not going anywhere at a certain point. (In contrast, BlackBerry to BlackBerry devices almost always go to the D state no matter what as BBM is always running. If not it usually means the user has no signal or the phone is off. )

One reason people perceive Whatsapp to be more reliable is because the first normal looking check means the server received the message. The second normal looking checkmark means the phone received the message. There is no indicator that the message was read. (Many people think the first check means delivered and the second check means read when in fact they don't. ) Based on my observations Whatsapp also has long delays in showing the second checkmark which is the equivalent to the D message in BBM. Whatsapp benefits from a normal looking check mark which people think means delivered (but doesn't.) and don't think anything is amiss. Unfortunately, the gray check in BBM looks ugly and we know something is wrong because it's gray and not an immediate D, or never goes to D.

BBM however does also have real problems retrying message delivery upon failed attempts. And sometimes messages are never delivered or are delayed 24 hours or even out of sequence. I believe I helped the BBM team identify some server bugs causing this but there may still be lingering problems. There are actually a lot of edge cases here. I regularly raise these with the BBM team when they come up and they are still having trouble fixing all the timing issues.

I'm as concerned as anyone here as it creates a perception that BBM is unreliable in a small percentage of situations, which as you said causes skeptics to immediately walk away and refuse to come back. I've lost a lot of iOS users and am waiting till these issues are solved before going back to them. I agree if you can't rely on message delivery then you don't want that messenger for critical or urgent situations.

Posted via CB10

So...change the checkmark from grey to green or blue (across all platforms), and keep hammering out the kinks with the real issues for message delivery for iOS (I don't think there are the same issues with android) we know yet if these issues still exist with this iOS update? If many are fixed then we know they've been at work. I too am waiting for cross-platform video feed to promote, and hopefully 90% of the iOS issues will also be resolved by that time. Keep in mind they're also working on getting a Windows version up and running right now, which also likely means a desktop version on the way soon. They're also releasing new features to the BlackBerry10 users first, which I fully support, and will help sell z3 phones around the world. Lots on the go, even though it seems like they're moving slowly sometimes. As far as I'm concerned marketing spend should be targeted at this point (e.g. Advertising z3 as the only sub$200 full-featured BBM phone in existence), until they get it all rolled out and 99% perfect.

Posted via CB10

Thank you for this amazingly detailed response. Wish BlackBerry team was this responsive.

I suspected this is what was happening and this is what I usually tell my iPhone carrying friends but but but .. WhatsApp works is what they say. And I have tested it out with few friends's iPhone and there is more to it.

Let me explain. I understand the distinction between gray checkmark, D, R (for BBM) and single and double checkmark (for WhatsApp).

But here is the thing: Double checkmark on WhatsApp is almost always instant. Send a WhatsApp message, and my friend's iPhone screen lights-up right away. On my phone, I see double checkmark right away. Sometimes I see a single-checkmark (*eventhough* iPhone has already lighted-up and showed notification).

In-theory, message should NOT have been delivered when it's showing only a single-checkmark. But in practice, message is (usually) delivered even with a single-checkmark. Although for double checkmark, the person has to probably unlock the phone and that's probably when WhatsApp sends an acknowledgement to server that, hey message has been received, and we see double checkmark.

Point is - even with single checkmark, the message is often delivered to the device (but probably not yet acknowledged by WhatsApp app to the server that message has been received, and hence the delay in double checkmark).

Where as with BBM - Send a BBM, I get a gray checkmark and my friend's iPhone doesn't get any notification or alert for a very long time. I continue to see gray checkmark on BBM and my friend sees nothing. Sometimes for HOURS! Sometimes indefinitely.

When my friend unlocks iPhone and opens BBM app, I see a "D" on my phone. When friend reads it, I see "R".

Im trying to update my BlackBerry os to the latest update but it won't allow me to do it over my network. Is there a around it? Keeps giving me error when I try to it with the blackberry link software. I want to be able to download it over my mobile network. Any help?

Posted via CB10

Still no ability to use on multiple devices and still no ability to retain chat history going from device to device. Fail.

Posted via CB10

I don't think it is time yet to ask my friends to install BBM yet because the group chat features are not there yet. It has to be the same as one to one chats first.

It is also difficult to add contacts for them because most people don't add emails to their contact list or address books. So this defeats the whole purpose .

Posted via CB10

BB needs to forget all that stupid sh!t and fix the notifications on IOS!!!!! I have to BBM my wife and then send her a txt to ensure she gets it.

Dude..with new ios release go into settings and click Alert icon and set notifications on and it worked for me. I had same issue with txting wife after bbming a pic or something. It's too bad it's an extra couple steps but seems to work great.

I am happy for updates!
How ever as a blackberry device user I feel a bit betrayed by waiting till the end for updates, yet again. I know I'm not the first to have this opinion, but hopefully some one listens to us! Because us loyal fans who have suffered thru some bad times need some extra love!

Posted via CB10

Android and IPhone got the update first for a simple reasons. 1 to address the low IQ crowd that was having difficulty signing up with an email address and password to create a blackberry ID. 2 to fix bugs with notification and BBM channels. If you have a BlackBerry 10 phone we were two versions ahead. They are not getting something new that we don't have so calm down.

Posted via CB10

Thank you for the response, I was not fully aware of that! Got caught up in some of the banter I was reading elsewhere! Cheers

Posted via CB10

Would like to see blackberry marketing do most of the grunt work of getting BBM known to cross platform folks.

Posted via CB10

It needs a lot of performance enhancements. Everyone In my BBM group, most of which is IOS, complains about lag, freezing, delay in messages. They really need to focus on making it smooth.

Posted via CB10

BBM for ios needs ios look and much better user experience.

Now it looks like it doesn't belong to ios at all.

Posted via CB10

I think with the new update it looks really good and feels much smoother than the previous release. I tested it on my sister's iphone.

BBM doesn't succeed on ios because they were once direct competitors. Even if they add video calling it still won't make it to the top. BBM is enemy territory to ios users.

My daughter and friends (young girls - Iphone with colorful cases - go figure), recently added BBM, and they all think the group sessions, are the best. Apparently they are all addicted.

Posted via CB10

Release the BlackBerry version now!!!!!! It should have been released first BlackBerry!!!!!!! I'm the one supporting your company, not ios and android users.

Posted via CB10

To those asking why not these features from the beginning don't understand how much behind BlackBerry is/was. They couldn't even get basic features to work. BlackBerry will not gain major traction unless it offers something different or better. Why else would people migrate?

Posted via CB10

I just installed it on my 11 yo daughter's iPhone 4. No problems with lag time in messages. We like that we can send each other emojis. Most of the ones that she texts me, I can't read. And tge ones available for me to text are so basic. When the video chat feature comes, we will be super happy.

Posted via CB10

Just got Dad to download BBM on 4S went into settings...notification...bbm...set to 'Alert' and we tested and tested with phone off, on, mid chat, etc and notification issue on ios seems solved.

On my GF's 4s, the notifications work, but they are too quiet, and they don't offer vibrate. Apparently it only notifies once, while text messages, et cetera notify multiple times.

I don't know about the quiet part but in notification settings there are 3 options and I believe it is the one on the far right that leaves the notification up until acknowledged

Of about 100 contacts I have, my last BBM friend (who was on iOS also) dumped BBM two weeks ago. She said the app felt dated... :-(

Really makes me mad to think that bbm is available on ipad when us BlackBerry loyal customers can't get the full experience on our BlackBerry PlayBook....... if BlackBerry can't see that is an issue for its customers there on the wrong path

Posted via CB10

BBM for iPhone is broken. Nobody I know in my country can't create or join any of the channels. They got stucked on the Day of Birth confirmation prompt.

Few people using Android and of course BlackBerry devices have no problems at all...

Posted via CB10

I use bbm so much with close friends and family..what I really want to see is a share to bbm option on android and ios. Whenever my wife finds an article that she wants to share she sends it via email. So slow and clogs my email inbox

From my z30

Hopefully the Notification acknowledgment has been revised. I'm pretty certain that people don't get the notifications because they've been saying they don't want to receive stuff from BBM.

Posted via CB10

There should be a system that automatically asks you if you want to invite to BBM people that also have it (IOS, android, BB10), by simply adding their number to your contact's agenda. That would increase the number of contacts per person, because the truth is that the IOS and android BBM users don't ask other people if they have BBM or not, and if they have a decent amount of contacts, they won't think BBM is useless to them.

Posted via CB10

I heard nothing but good things for the android update! So this should be good! Any improvements to remove bugs and make the operation smoother makes me happy so more friends will be on bbm!

Posted via CB10

I have fewer and fewer BBM contacts. BlackBerry did a terrible job going cross platform.

Unfortunately What's App is the popular medium and unless something drastic happens, it's here to stay. I don't see how BBM will increase the number of cross platform users.

BlackBerry acted too late on everything and it is paying the price.

Posted using my VZW BlackBerry Z30