BlackBerry 10 UI Bezel Gesture and Swipe Navigation Guide

BlackBerry 10 UI bezel gestures and swipe navigation guidelines
By Bla1ze on 2 Oct 2012 11:16 pm EDT

On BlackBerry 10 devices, gestures are supported directly from the bezel itself. That means with a simple swipe in a certain direction, you can automatically take action.

With BlackBerry 10 now full steam ahead, there are going to be plenty of changes that come with the new devices. Gone are the days of button navigation and it's full steam ahead with bezel gestures and swiping to make your way through the BlackBerry UI.

Much like when the BlackBerry PlayBook was released, RIM has released some guidelines that will help not only developers with preparing their apps for BlackBerry 10, but future BlackBerry 10 users as well.

If you're looking to learn more, jump below where we've laid them out for you as well as added some videos and additional context to show you exactly how the tasks can be completed.

Navigating through BlackBerry 10

Waking Up The Device:

Waking up your BlackBerry 10 Device

On BlackBerry 10 devices, gestures are supported directly from the bezel itself. That means with a simple swipe in a certain direction, you can automatically take action. One action you'll want to know is how to wake up your device. As highlighted in the image above, a simple swipe upward from the bezel across the display will bring your device to life from a sleeping state.

Display Notifications:

Display Notifications on BlackBerry 10

With BlackBerry 10 there is a number of ways in which you can see exactly what is happening on your device. With that in mind, displaying your notifications is one function that is vital to everyday use. Notifications are pushed to the side of your active frames so that no matter where you are, even inside of an app, you can quickly peek into them with one swipe.

Following that gesture, you can then also enter into the BlackBerry Hub, which is the next step below. In the video below, you'll not see any notifications but that's simply because the current Dev Alpha build of BlackBerry 10 does not support them. When it does, we'll update the videos, but for now the image gives you an idea of how it will be or you can refer to some of our previous videos to see it in action.

Minimize Applications:

How to minimize BlackBerry 10 applications

With no physical back button to make use of, minimizing or leaving an application on BlackBerry 10 differs from that of any BlackBerry OS before it. Now, minimizing applications is as simple as flicking your thumb quickly in an upward motion from within the app itself. The app will then minimize and reduce itself to an active frame on your BlackBerry 10 device homescreen.


Display The Virtual Keyboard:

How to display the virtual keyboard on BlackBerry 10


BlackBerry 10 introduces a new virtual keyboard for users to make use of. In all scenarios when the keyboard should be displayed and / or lowered it will do so automatically. However, for those times when you may want it present or to be able to move it out of the way, there is a gesture you can use to complete that task.

Swiping up or down with fingers will raise or lower the keyboard. That's not the be all, end all though. There are other ways to bring up the keyboard. For example, on the PlayBook a swipe up from the left corner will raise the keyboard and such is the case here as well.


Viewing An Application Menu or Settings:

Viewing An Application Menu or Settings Menu On BlackBerry 10

Another carry over that BlackBerry PlayBook owners will notice is the fact that on BlackBerry 10, in order to access the app menu or settings within an app, often times you need to pull them down from the top. A swipe down from the top bezel will grant this access to additional options and settings.


Scrolling on BlackBerry 10:

Scrolling on BlackBerry 10

This one might seem a little obvious but for a new user, especially one who has never used a touchscreen device before, it's not all that obvious. Scrolling on BlackBerry 10 touchscreen devices is all done through swiping up, down, left and right on the device display.


Scrolling Between Items:

Scrolling between items on BlackBerry 10

Another of those obvious scenarios but let's put an example behind it. Say you're in your photos which contains numerous pictures. Rather than viewing one, going to file view and then opening another, on BlackBerry 10 you can simply swipe left to right or right to left to view the next item in line or go back to a previous item.

Selecting An Item In A List:

Selecting An Item From A List on BlackBerry 10

When selecting such things as emails, tweets or an item in a list, it's as easy as just tapping on the entry you wish to choose and from there the selected function will continue. For example, if it was an email you would then be taken into the email to view it in its entirety.

Selecting Multiple Items In A List:

Selecting Multiple Items In BlackBerry 10

Selecting multiple items in BlackBerry 10 is as easy as selecting one item as shown above. Remember, not all applications allow for selecting mutiple items and style guidelines call for a "toast" to be displayed should you try to pick an item which cannot be selected to let you know that is the case.

That said, a number of apps will allow for multiple selection. For example, if you wanted to delete multiple emails you can just tap on and select each email you wish to delete and they will be highlighted. A better example of this is in the video below which is using the "Bucketlist" sample app from the Cascades development tools.

Accessing Peek / BlackBerry Hub:

Accessing Peek on BlackBerry 10

As the name implies, it allows you to peek at your notifications and see whether or not they're important enough to you to draw your full attention. Peek can be accessed from pretty much anywhere you are on the device and more importantly, you never have to leave an app to be able to view it.

Peek is not an app; it's a flow, or in this case, a potential workflow as it leads into the BlackBerry Hub which serves as your universal inbox for every 'message' you may receive be it an email, a tweet, a BBM or any other account related notification you set up. Peeking into the BlackBerry Hub offers you a look at all the things happening on your device.

At this time, the BlackBerry Hub is not built into the BlackBerry Dev Alpha but the video below will give you a good idea of what to expect or you can check out Peek and BlackBerry Hub video from BlackBerry Jam Americas.


Open An Action Menu:

Open An Action Menu

In some apps on BlackBerry 10, in the lower right hand corner you will notice three dots set up. This is called the action menu. Similar to swiping down for additional settings, developers can opt to put additional settings and options in the action menu as well. It's simple to open of course, you just tap on the three dots and you will then be taken to a new screen.

Zooming In And Out:

Zooming In and Out on BlackBerry 10

Just like every other modern mobile device on the market, zooming in and out on items in BlackBerry 10 will use the simple 'Pinch to Zoom' approach. When viewing photos, wallpapers and such a simple pinching outward will zoom in and a simple pinching inward will zoom out and return the item back to normal or give you a fuller view.

Moving Icons Around:

Moving Applications on BlackBerry 10

If you're not satisfied with the placement of items on your device or in this case, application icons, you can move them around to a place that is more fitting for your usage. You can simply hold your finger down on an icon until you see the icons pulse with a little trashcan beside them. From there, you move them from screen to screen or create folders by dropping one icon onto another. If you decide to create folders, you will then be asked to set a folder name / description.


Progressing or Scrubbing Through A File:

Progressing or Scrubbing Through A File on BlackBerry 10

With the updated media player and media player controls, you'll be able to progress / scrub through media files with ease. A swipe across progress bar will further advance you through any video or music files you're currently accessing. The same is applied for reverse order as well. Missed a part and want to see / hear it again? Scrub back on the bar and capture that moment again. At this time, the BlackBerry Dev Alpha does not have a media player loaded but, we've seen it before in images and here is what you can expect.

BlackBerry 10 Media Player

All of the info here was found within the BlackBerry 10 developer guidelines. Some things may change but if they do, we'll go ahead and update the items accordingly.

If you're looking for the documentation yourself, you can hit the source link below to download the full .PDF file which also explains how developers should be building apps, the guidelines they should use and various other information pertaining to the "styling" of BlackBerry 10.

It's important to remember, nothing here is finalized. As noted, the info was taken from a draft documentation of BlackBerry 10 and is not entirely complete. There is a ton more gestures that can be used and some you can use in place of the ones listed. As we get closer to the launch of BlackBerry 10, we'll be providing a further look. Stay tuned!

Source: BlackBerry Developers

Reader comments

BlackBerry 10 UI Bezel Gesture and Swipe Navigation Guide


There is one undocumented swipe that i have found:

To show/hide the keyboard - swipe one finger from the bottom left corner, similar to the playbook gesture for the same function (dev alpha A)

Awesome that was my only gripe while watching this. Needing two thumbs to bring up the keyboard is very unBlackBerry like. I need complete control with one hand or its qwerty model for me. It's looking more and more likely that I'll be going with the L series just as long as I have complete control with one hand.

No I have both my arms. I use my device one handed at least 70% of the time. Very important RIM makes sure this stays with BlackBerry10

I've added that into the post. Thanks for pointing it out, I did mean to add it but got caught up with the portions. :)

@Bla1ze can we see what it looks like to wake up the phone if it's password protected?

Also what notifications and whatnot can be seen while it's locked?

Any info about whether or not there will be a pattern lock option, or if we will still be relying on third party apps for that?


Can you reference any particular video? I don't remember seeing anything where the phone was password protected...

If you have a password, you wake it up the same way. You just don't get the fancy peak show thing. When you swipe up, it just goes straight to prompting you to enter your password. You would also see all the same notifications.

Because there is no back/escape/return button, does that mean that applications (such as browser, email, sms, or any other apps for that matter) have built in software back/return buttons? Can you confirm that?

Sure, but as far as going back, I'm hoping it's the diagonal bottom swipe such as is the case with the current android player on the PlayBook.

yes you have to press the back tab in the browser in order to go back. on BB7 or later devices there is no back button to press you have to pull up the menu so in cases liek this the physical back button s good, but if you old it to long it closes the browser which i often do :s

I'm not trying to minimize the app, I want to go back to the previous Page. For example, in the browser, say I go to, then I click a news article, read it and I want to click back to read a different article, is it a swipe or will there be a software button that let's you go back? Again, I'm not trying to minimize the app to go to a different app but I want to go to the previous Page.

This is way harder to deal with than waiting for Christmas as a kid. I have found absolutely zero reasons to be disappointed in both the hardware and software of BB10...thus far. I can't wait for Q1 2013. I find the iPhone 5 to be a joke but the GSIII is a serious phone. Holding off on my upgrade is difficult but I know it will be worth it. (Those Aristo specs are looking like a beast too)

i don't know if i like how you bring up the keyboard, two fingers doesn't allow for one handed use, i personally would prefer how the playbook does it with a swipe from the left bottom corner


and my bad i just scrolled down to comment didn't bother reading since there were only 7 comments i figured it was more to say awesome write up or first like some do :P

Do the bezels recognise horizontal swipes? imagine being able to switch browser tabs in a single swipe (Android and iOS native browsers both require 3 steps to change tabs). Or undo/redo text editing. I'm sure there are hundreds of other uses.

This is great stuff! Thanks for taking the time to post these tutorials. I am drinking the Kool-Aid and it tastes so damn good! Want MORE! At this rate I'm going to need a 12-step program!

Copy and paste has been there and included forever, not sure why that's even a question. Were you expecting to use the bezel and swipe gestures to copy and paste because that's what these guides are for.. not for general UI stuff that shouldn't even really need to be validated and is just plain common sense to include. Here's your copy and paste menu.

No problem. To add to that a bit, when you tap and hold down on each of the icons.. it tells you what it does in case the images don't give it away or ain't a big enough hint.

I'm pretty positive that not all gestures have been unveiled. I bet 100 bux there will be some sort of gesture that brings up the phone app or something so you can quickly make a phone call. Or just ask it to make the call with voice I suppose.

100% accurate. No one should take this as a "final" anything, it was taken from a draft of beta guidelines.

Don't need one for the phone... Just swipe up to minimize your app if you have one open and tap the phone button...

I hope there's a way to have persistent notifications - on the lock screen and on the home screen.

I don't want to swipe to unlock then swipe to look for notifications.

There is.. you should watch the previously posted videos if you haven't already.. as suggested above in the article.

Thanks for the post and videos Bla1ze! It's going to be excruciatingly difficult to wait until BB10 comes out...

Thanks, Bla1ze! Totally making me lust for the first BB10 device even more!

Sure, the Aristo looks like it's got some serious firepower, but who knows when that'll come out and at what price point? It doesn't matter to me what specs are available right now or will be available on another platform when the Aristo is launched, because it's about how the software and hardware work together (i.e., synergy: the sum being greater than its parts).

Regardless, things are looking sha-weet! xD

P.S.: I think a bezel-swipe-up-and-to-the-left could be used to bring up the phone app (unless that's already intended to be used for something else... LOL!).

P.P.S.: Looking forward to waking up and updating my PlayBook to the newest OS! xD

Haven't got a chance to read the entire post yet since I am at my internship, but I would like to say thank you Bla1ze for the effort! Looking forward to the video's that go with it!

all I could think after I scrolled all the way thru these gestures was : fudge this crap, give me my physical berry

I have a question: are they still keeping the gesture to swipe between apps? So far the gesture that on the PlayBook allows you to quickly move from one app to another brings the notification up from the blackberry hub. Is there a way to switch in the same way on BB10?

Nice work as always Bla1ze. For switching between apps is there a carousel? Or do you just minimize current app and then select a new one from array of live tiles?

Nice guide for many of the gestures and swipes...

***With due respect, how is the average consumer supposed to know all this?

It is my belief that without even a "Home" button, and horrendous lack of Playbook sales staff at electronic stores, even the average BlackBerry fan did not buy the PlayBook.

I'm one of them. How do I even get back to the Home Screen to get started??
No sales person. No Home Button. No Sale.

I hope that BB10 will have better luck, but I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this...

***The avid BlackBerry fan may know most above gestures and swipes, but the average consumer that RIM is hoping to catch, would not know these gestures.

Frustrated would-be-buyers with no sales support = no sale.

Yep, it's already happened for me personally.

I wish Good luck to BB10.

I have to hope that part of the carrier rollout is training of sales staff, and perhaps a fold-out card or small poster showing gestures, displayed prominently on the sales floor.

I'm pretty sure it will be shown in the marketing ads how to... Buts its really sad that the bulk of the world pop has become mindless sheep that lack the ability to learn and have become monkey see monkey do....

Bla1ze, thank you for all the wonderful updates and information. I'm SO EXCITED about BB10 and have been regularly updating the naysayers with news of the Q1 2013 releases, complete with sending them links and videos. I believe these two new devices are indeed the turning point! And with the changes within RIM as well as the marketing blitz that is sure to come, BlackBerry is positioning itself for a strong comeback and great future!

My following comments don’t relate to your instructional post, but I wasn’t sure where else to post (feel free to start a new one based on this). One question I have that I haven't seen answered is with regard to the "Only 10 recipients allowed" when sending SMS text messages. Up to and through device OS5, we were able to send a single SMS to large groups of recipients. From what I understand and experienced, starting with device OS6, RIM decided to limit this number of 10 recipients to be "in line" with limits imposed by the carriers. However, with the BlackBerry historically being considered a business phone, and the fact that RIM’s decision was a conscious decision and nothing imposed by the carriers, I would hope (and implore RIM) to remove this restriction. I have read dozens upon dozens of complaints about this from users who, like myself, use our beloved BlackBerry devices for business as well as personal. Having to create, for example, ten groups just to send out a single text to a hundred recipients is tedious, time-consuming, and frankly, un-BlackBerry (sorry, couldn’t think of a real term here!)

If there is any way possible for you to relay this to the powers that be at RIM (even going so high as Thor himself), I, and the entire BlackBerry nation would be extremely grateful!

Continue on with your excellent work, and have a blessed day!

It's pretty and I'm sure it's a great operating system....but I fell in love with my blackberry because I enjoying having the option of having a touchscreen AND a real KEYBOARD. I have a torch and I wish I could have BB10 put onto it instead of buying a full touchscreen phone, I've never liked them and I never wanted an iphone or droid, I bought a torch because it was the best of both worlds and I love it...Is there an option for BB10 to be put on a torch like the 9800 or 9810?????