Battery pulls on your BlackBerry - when, why and how

By Alicia Erlich on 19 Nov 2010 02:11 pm EST
Battery Pull

You've decided to take the first step and purchase a BlackBerry smartphone. You've setup your e-mail, installed some applications and themes, used it for a few days and suddenly find that it's acting funny. Maybe it's not working as fast as before, the internet is stalled, or application memory is gone and nothing has been added. Is it possessed? Do you want to hurl it against the wall?

Before exchanging the device or panicking that it's broken, know this. It's normal; from time to time, your device might become slow and unresponsive. There is a quick and simple way to troubleshoot these issues. In these cases, it's necessary to reset your BlackBerry device by performing a hard or soft reset. A hard reset is also called a battery pull.

Essentially, a battery pull restarts the operating system on your BlackBerry device and is just like rebooting your PC when it's experiencing problems. It is not the same as using the Pwr Off/On button. This only places the phone in standby mode. Not only does a battery pull solve various problems with your device, it also frees up application memory and shuts down applications running in the background that can drain battery and resources.

When to Perform a Battery Pull

Hardware Problems
  • Device display freezes or jerks
  • Torch/Storm devices lag when going from Portrait to Landscape and vice versa
  • Keypad/Trackball stops responding or does not work
  • SIM card errors
Software Problems
  • Java code or module errors appear on screen (e.g. Uncaught exception)
  • Applications are slow, unresponsive, do not load or lag
  • Theme issues
  • Bluetooth errors – connecting, pairing, etc.
  • Installing/Uninstalling Applications & Theme)
  • Music streaming apps (Slacker, Pandora) experience continuous buffering
  • Social networking apps (Twitter/Facebook) indicate there is no connection available
  • Memory leak – available application memory drops
  • LED Notification - LED keeps flashing when there are no new e-mails, texts, alarms, etc.

How to perform a hard reset

A hard reset is when you manually remove the battery from the device while it is powered on and reinsert it after 30 seconds. This will involve removing any case you are using and the battery cover. After a few moments your device will start to reboot the operating system. If you have OS5 or OS6 you will see a progress bar and a black background that shows the BlackBerry name and logo. Earlier systems will show a white background with a blinking hourglass. Your phone can take anywhere from one to five minutes or possibly more to reboot depending on your OS and the applications you have installed. This is completely normal.

How to perform a soft reset

A soft reset does not involve removing the battery but rather pressing three keys simultaneously on the QWERTY keyboard - similar to pressing Control-Alt-Delete on a Windows computer. However, devices that utilize SurePress ™ and SureType ® (BlackBerry Pearl and BlackBerry Storm) cannot perform a soft reset and will require downloading a third-party application to simulate one. A soft reset is useful when you do not want to go through the whole procedure of removing the case/cover to access the battery. Some hard shell cases do not last if constantly taken off and put back on.

RIM's online support database describes the following procedure for performing a soft reset:

  1. Press and hold the Alt key on the BlackBerry smartphone.
  2. While holding down the Alt key, press and hold the Right Shift key.
  3. With both of those buttons still pressed, press the Backspace/Delete key. The display on the BlackBerry smartphone turns off to indicate that the reset has started, and the keys can now be released.

How to perform a DOUBLE-SOFT reset

Some BlackBerry users often discuss the double soft reset and how it comes closest to substituting for a hard reset. To perform, you will first need to do the standard soft reset. The red indicator light will appear and the screen will go blank. When the screen is no longer blank, press the keys again (perform another soft reset). You should then see another black screen followed by an hourglass (on earlier models) or the progress bar on OS5+.

Third Party Applications that simulate a battery pull

Third-party applications make simulating a battery pull extremely easy, especially for those of you who want to avoid accidentally breaking the cover, pressing the wrong button combinations, or to just prevent breaking a nail. Just one click allows you to reset your device. The following are a few of the free and paid applications available from both the CrackBerry App store and BlackBerry App World.

  1. A+ Reset by Windship Nasoft, Inc. This is available at the CrackBerry app store for $2.99 and will work on all BlackBerry devices. They also offer a free 7-day trial. For more information and to download here's the link:
  2. QuickPull by Steelthorn Software. This is available for free the CrackBerry App Store at QuickPull recently updated their application to version 5.0 making it compatible with all devices running OS 4.5+ including the Torch and Style.
  3. RestartMe by S4BB Limited. A free application from the CrackBerry app store that is currently available for all devices running OS5 and older.
  4. deReset – The Effective Device Reset / Restart App by OdEve. Available for $5.99 through the CrackBerry app store and is compatible with all BlackBerry models using OS 4.6 and higher including the Torch. A free trial is also available.

There you have it - the when, why and how of the battery pull. Resetting your phone is just one of the many ways you can keep your device running like new and to solve many of the minor problems you may have.

Reader comments

Battery pulls on your BlackBerry - when, why and how


As a software developer, it's amazing to me that people put up with this. If there are memory leaks bad enough to reboot your phone regularly, then app vendors (and RIM) need to step up and fix them.

You are right sir. IMHO if an app is causing the phone to reboot regularly it should be removed. I'm not sure why the article says a regular reboot is necessary. To me that indicates a problem.

I couldn't agree more. The Battery pull is one the biggest reason I walked from BB. The battery pull is bad enough the reboot time is a utter Joke. Every other phone OS reboots in about 2 minutes or less. My wife now has the 9700 and it is no better on boot time. The Storm is the worst.

I still do not understand where there isn't a reboot option in the menu.

it's quite simple. download one of the reset apps (such as quickpull) and have it reset every night at 4am. that's what i do and i never have to deal w/ its slow resetting or waiting. stop complaining and use your brain. apparently everybody looked over the iphone's radio issues and "just putting a bumper" over it, so add an application and deal w/ it. reset the phone while you sleep and your "issue" will be gone. sheeeesh.

You must also consider that a bb charges up (on/off button, not a hard reset) faster than any other smartphone out there.
The hard reboot does, indeed, take forever. But you don't really have to do it so often, unless you install apps that require you to.

It's just something specific to its hardware and software. It could, indeed, be improved. But I don't find this matter a reason to stop using these phones. Come on now.. :)

idk what you guys are talking about, I have had a blackberry for years and reboots are usually necessary when a new app begins to be bugging or you just doing something out the norm on your device. I reboot mine about twice a week, the most. Not every day or every other day. And now I have the Torch the reboot rate remains the same, usually caused by buggy apps.

I needs to be done on a pc, BlackBerry and when I had my iphone it needed reboots almost daily. Now I'm rebooting it on average once a week and with os6 it only takes about a minute and a half.

I needs to be done on a pc, BlackBerry and when I had my iphone it needed reboots almost daily. Now I'm rebooting it on average once a week and with os6 it only takes about a minute and a half.

I could be wrong but it was my belief that since at least OS5, a hard reset is identical to a soft reset and a double-soft is just stupid.

...with your little nose pressed up against the glass of the wonderful world of BlackBerry ... shivering with cold ... gripping your other device in your cold little hand yelling out loud, "I will not go on, I will not wish I still had a BB, I will not make myself look like a troll on the chats ... I WILL be happy with my choice ..."

I've had my Storm2 since about spring, and I have yet to do a battery pull or use any of those apps. I have verizon, and I simply dial ##000000 and enter "vzw" for the SIP password, save, and the phone reboots itself for me. :)

Whether it's a BB or not, if my phone is acting up, a batt pull almost always resolves the issue(s).

Same with other electronic devices, unplug it!

Yeah I agreed, most electronical devices use the batt pull for resolving freezing and other stuff!! My Samsung G5 when it freezes or lag, I'll probably do the batt pull even though it's an android phone

Reminds me of the 'good 'ol days' when you had to do this sort of thing (restarting all the time) to keep your Windows-based PC running smoothly. Always amused me that people blindly put up with it.
My Bold 9700 when running OS 5 never seems to need a battery pull. With OS 6 it needs one every couple of days.

Resets/reboots/battery pulls were not uncommon for me when I used a WM Treo device. I haven't experienced any problems with my BB device that caused me to do a reset.

This is one of the many reasons why I switched to the new iPhone. You think RIM would have fixed this major issue by now.

Don't tell me that the iphone works better. I have an iPhone 4 and a BlackBerry Torch ( I work for Rogers and they give me a Demo line with the iPhone 4, Blackberry 9800 its my personal choice )and that shit does need a soft reset from time to time... The reception sucks and it goes on and on... But of course when it comes to sell it, it's the best phone ever to me =P Hahahaha

LOL. Seriously. Went into att for my friend and the lady was like, "if you get the iphone 4, of course you want a case because of the reception problem. And the back is glass and we don't want that breaking do we?" Real multi tasking for life!

A battery pull ceases all electronic function, and allows for a complete reset and reload. A soft reset does not. They are two very different things.

Do you unplug you PC every time you need to restart it? Probably not b/c a reboot restarts all the services running and clear up most problems.

There are times when something goes terrible wrong when installing or uninstalling an app that i feel a battery pull is needed but in most cases simply restarting all services clears them memory and errors.

I had a laptop that would act up from time to time and the only solution was to unplug AND pull the battery out for a minute or two.

Yes I too thought that soft and hard resets ultimately performed the same task.. And if not, what's the difference?

I only skimmed through the article but I didn't see you mention clearing the event log, some people do battery pulls way too often just because their berry slows down, you can just open the event log and clear it to free up application space and get your berry back up to speed. To do this from your home screen: while holding your alt button press lg lg. This is very easy to remember just thing alt log log. Once you open the event log press the menu button then select clear log.

The Event Log takes up a negligible amount of space on your BlackBerry, I heard. Clearing it won't affect memory space drastically.

yesterday while i was typing on bbm my 9780 all of a sudden went white screen and said ERROR 303 RESET.
does anyone know how or why that would have happened?

My Bold 9000 requires 6-8 battery pulls a day. Lucky to be able to reboot by the key method. It's insane. I thought BlackBerrys were the best device ever when I bought my phone. Since 5.0 on at&t, it barely functions due to the memory leaks. Considering Torch is already down to $99, I am thinking all BBs have problems.

But the 9000 was not intended for really using a lot of apps on it. The memory is really low at only 128, so it bogs the phone down to put apps on it. I just ordered the Torch for free, actually. They are lowering the price because they want to sell the phones and boost numbers, not due to a problematic phone. Plus manufacturers always have sales for the holidays. To be honest, it's hard to make anything that small that does so much that has no problems. All smart phones have their issues.

That answer makes as much sense as the iPhone 4 was dropping calls because people were holding their phone wrong. When I bought my 9000, it was the top of the line and it was meant to handle apps. It was handling apps, albeit with a shorter than desired memory, but programs like quickpull and battery boost made it possible. From the very beginning, it would drop info out of Calendar and Contacts. Come OS 5.0 and it became a worthless piece of crap. Considering it has always came short of what it originally was intended for, I have trouble believing any BlackBerry functions as well as the droid or the iPhone.

Yes you do and it's actually worse because when it boots up you have to hook it up to (sh)iTunes and re-sync it or nothing works. Or at least that's how ours works...

Last time it had to be rebooted it was because it stopped charging, BTW.

All you people that just enjoy whining and complaining need to get a life. Who cares if you're on Droid or iphone or two tin cans and a rope! Stop wasting everyone's time with your pissing and moaning!

i'm a new bb user and i was wondering how to "reboot" my system after choosing not to reboot it in app world. thanks for this article!

I have an Otterbox Defender case so I really don't like taking it all apart to do a battery pull. I've been doing the soft reset and things have been running pretty good. But I'm going to try to remember to use Quick Launch and see how that goes. I'm using that app all the time anyway.

Had to do a couple of battery pulls when I first got my Torch with OS 6.0.246, but nothing in the last 6 weeks (knock on wood).

as long as i can remember having a cellphone, i've had to pull that batt occasionally. with my curve, and then my tour, it's not really been something that bothered me. i don't see why people complain so much about such a trivial thing.

I would go weeks on my 9700 W/O a battery pull w/ OS5..

W/ OS6 I have to pull nightly.. I'm ready for a new leak.. good thing it boots up in like a minute so its not a big deal.. OS5 would take for ever. But it was a solid build..

Considering how bad the battery life is. When I'm not plugged in while using my storm 2 the battery only last About three hours and I hafta change it. So the reboot is a mute point. I only wish it didn't take so long.

I'm VERY careful about what I put on my device and don't have this problem. When I put a new app on the device, I watch the memory useage before and after I start/stop it to ensure that its cleaning things up behind itself and then on a regular basis when running it.

I've had blackberry's since the old pager days and VERY infrequently have to do a memory pull - and then I can usually blame that on a specific application. My old Storm that I had for almost three years would go weeks without a pull and my new Torch (running the latest release of OS6) hasn't been shut down in weeks.

For the Apple/Android fans out there that claim this is a blackberry only problem... bs. I support both and there is nothing to lead me to believe that this is any more prevalent on their platforms. In fact with them, I'd suggest that the likelihood is higher due to the extremely high number of "junk" apps you can download.

THAT is amazing to me. Many sensitive electronics benefit from a complete power disconnect. Not being able to access/remove/replace a battery in a mobile phone is a joke! Having 2-3 day batt life and a spare I can pop in is FREEDOM!

I hardly ever pull the battery. I think I've only had to do that maybe three times in the past 9 months. Overall, with the exception of maybe 6 times or so, all the reboots have been associated with app and OS updates or when I had to change the battery. Storm2 9550.

Whats worse after you have to constantly pull the battery, you have a 10 min reboot time, or a spinning clock of death....lmae

One of those things that made me walk away from a BlackBerry. Wonder why RIM does not even bother to correct this problem. The constant battery pull is one thing. I use an Otterbox Defender and taking the battery out is simply annoying. And the 'hourglass of death' is something I can't take any more.

Have to say... The whole BB concept is great. Love the phone but I have the POS curve and have had nothing but problems. Daily sometimes the most of 3 times daily soft reboots and atleast 1 hard reboot. Sim not allowed comes up every couple hrs and AT&T doesnt understand why?? Its not operator error, its the operating system i believe. Not sure. Will be upgrading soon to the droid. Enough already!

Enough already! Switch platforms, go ahead! Just read the problems b4 jumping to conclusions. Join the IPHONE forums and the Droid's! They all have their problems. Ask my wife and my son. They have each! Its actually funny, that at night around the dinner table, we all have our bitches about our phones. There are some features that I wouldnt mind on my9800, that her 4 and his x has. Just remember people! You have 30 days after purchasing your phone to decide wether your going to switch it or ditch it. Im not going to praise my berry or badmouth their phones. At the end of the day we all have managed to keep in touch with our friends and family. BTW if you guys come across the perfect platfowm feel free to spam the hell outa me. Until then, live and let live

Also has a phone reset option on it. Some of you guys get so angry at each other over what is a phone! Chill out a while. I don't get why people come on here to moan about BB's.... Surely if you've "moved away from BB's" you'd move away from a forum talking about them....?

Just digging around on the Android forums, and their devices need the same attention to reboots as the bb's. The difference being that they have faster processors and more ram that hide the lagging symptoms (while sacrificing battery life).

Anyway, if you go read up on it, all platforms need reboots every now and again. Droid users range from twice a day, to once every 2 weeks. Not really something to bitch about considering how powerful these little handhelds are getting. My old Moto v635 needed reboots twice a day, and it was a dumb phone!

I have had this phone for almost a year and a half and cant wait to get rid of it.
This phone is a death trap. If there was ever an emergency and you needed to use it and the phone had low memory your screwed. especially when you have to reboot and wait. Rim should be worried about a law suit. lol

topic for those who arent to much into Blackberries..
And if u dont like the rebooting etc.. why come here and complain if u dont use a BB for urself?

Yea, its bad enough your messages start to delete, but then you cant even get a call through when the red light of death happens, if jason and freddy were after you...RIP sucker lol


not to do to much that would cause me to ever have to do a battey pull like not leaving to many apps running in the background and use a MB app to catch memory leaks. I guess its working cause I can't remember the last one I had to do.

I must have had an app running in the background for a couple of days because I thought my battery had suddenly died. It went from lasting a day and half to just half a day. Ever since I did a battery pull battery life is back to normal. I would add unexplained short battery life to the list of reasons to do a pull.

1: A "hard reset" typically refers to a complete wipe where you lose all data. Maybe the terminology is different in the BlackBerry world, but I myself wouldn't consider a battery pull to be a "hard reset".

2: Why would a battery pull have any more of an affect than other methods such as Alt + Shift + Del?

I don't really have any problems. I use QuickLaunch & schedule a reset for 6am (a time I am not likely to be awake). Works VERY well. The phone gets a simulated battery pull every single day and the only thing I have to do is hit "OK" after the reset is done.

I've never done a battery pull on my Curve 8530. I do a soft reset rarely, but usually just after an app update.

You neglected to mention that the application QuickLaunch allows you to manually reboot or to schedule a recurring reboot. I believe it simulates a hard reset, but it might technically be a soft reset. The progress bar shows after the reset. I've got mine set to reset every night in the middle of the night and only have to perform an actual battery pull if/when the BB (Storm 2, but also used this on my Storm 1) locks up. QuickLaunch is my number 1 MUST HAVE app. It also includes many other features that end up being sold as stand along apps such as tilt lock.

I don't have a problem with having to do hard resets. I love my BlackBerry because of it's business structure (no other phone offers it like a BB). The battery pulls USED to be a pain, but I installed QuickPull a long time ago, and set it to reset every morning at 3:50am. I am hardly ever awake at that time and the phone is in its charger. The phone resets and when morning comes, my phone is working like new. Pretty much, just set the phone to reset at a time that you are almost always asleep and have the phone charging.

Can someone help out a fluffy please
I have a blackberry 9650 and on the home screen of my bb the track pad works to go from left to right but it cant click and once i go in menu it doesnt move none at all and the call and end call buttons dont work or the one with the blackberry logo!! only the back space button works and i have done the battery pull more than i can count!!! PLEASE HELP!!

I know this is an old thread but just to let you guys know all phones need a restart at least once a day.
Pay very close attention to typing that's the dead give away right there that many phones will have issues.
I have two android one old one new and I have a Z10 just bought a new Z30 haven't got a chance to play with the Z30 yet, back on point.
The issues you may see is sluggish and or abnormal errors in typing from what I can tell it's when I type on the web not while hammering out emails maybe on texting too but damn sure does happen on the web and only a reboot seems to calm it down.
Ya hafta watch with a keen eye to see it but it's there. If you are like me and type faster than spell check can keep up that's when it really shows up.