BlackBerry 101: the Help Me! screen explained

The Mighty Help Me! screen
By Joseph Holder on 20 Apr 2011 02:51 pm EDT

I tried to find something today, a tidbit of knowledge here at for Storm and Pearl users about getting to the Help Me! Screen. I couldn't find it. I remembered the gist of the information, I remembered writing the darn thing, and I still couldn't find it. When I finally tracked down the article, I realized the Help Me! Screen needed its own BlackBerry 101, and here it is.

For most BlackBerry users, it's a simple three key press top access this useful little screen. Press the alt, left shift, and H key at the same time. Don't worry about pressing them simultaneously, just make sure all are depressed at the same time. In other words, while holding both the alt key and the left shift key, press H. Pearl users can hold the alt key and type R A C E. Storm users will hold down the return (back) key while they click the top left corner, then the top right, top left, top right and release. Slightly complicated, but it works. Any further questions, head on into the CrackBerry forums.

So what information does the screen give you?

  • Vendor ID: the identifying number Research in Motion uses for your specific carrier
  • Platform ID: Internal designation for the Java Development Environment
  • App Version: When you hear about such and such leaked or official OS, this is the number we're talking about. 
  • PIN: Your Personal Identification Number; the unique number assigned to your Blackberry.
  • IMEI: International Mobile Equipment Identity, your carrier's way of uniquely identifying your device on the network. When changing devices, it's a good idea to alert your carrier of your new IMEI.
  • MAC: Media Access Control address; uniquely identifies your smartphone on the network. Every single device connected to the internet will have it's own MAC address.
  • Uptime: the amount of time (in seconds) since your BlackBerry was last restarted
  • Signal Strength: Your carrier's wireless signal strength represented in dBm. Through a quirk of physics and math, the numbers are all negative. A higher number is still better, thus -65 is a much higher signal strength than -127.
  • Battery Level: The amount of charge left in your battery
  • File Free: The amount of space available on your BlackBerry's internal memory. This figure does not include removable microSD cards.
  • File Total: The total amount of space in your BlackBerry's internal memory. Also does not include removable microSD cards.

More to find...

BlackBerry 101: Application Permissions
BlackBerry First Steps: Operating systems - official, leaked, and unofficial
BlackBerry 302: A complete wipe and clean install of your BlackBerry OS 

Reader comments

BlackBerry 101: the Help Me! screen explained


When I had my Pearl, I used alt E A C E to bring up the help screen. I believe it is fairly universal, as my curve can access it the same way. That's what is so great about BlackBerries, you can access the same information multiple ways on multiple phones!

Help me screen is.

While holding Back or Menu key,
Tap in order. Top left, top right, top left, top right.
Tap not click. (Don't press screen in.)

Thank you! I saw the article earlier and assumed it was another cool thing for OS6 since I couldn't figure it out on my 9550. Thanks!

i remember sprints customer service told me to take the battery out,and get info from the back of phone,then call then back lol (it was my first blackberry)

Or you can hack your BB to replace the "Help Me" screen with BB Engineering Screens. Lots of options you won't use, but here's the kicker: YOU CAN KILL ANY APP! This "task manager" function isn't available anywhere else in the OS, since RIM locks you out of the engineering screens. Now I can't live without this function. It's amazing to me that there's no native functionality to kill a hung app except restarting your entire phone!

The problem with that screen is you can also end programs you need for the phone to run. Most users shouldn't get into that screen and most won't ever need to anyway.

Yes, but the worst case scenario is that your phone then has to reboot, which you'd of HAD TO DO ANYWAY to kill the app. You can't do any permanent damage to your device simply by killing a running process.

I understand what you're saying, but if users unlock the engineering screens only to use this functionality, theirs is really no harm.

Just out of curiosity I tried the method for getting this screen for the storm on my 9800... Apparently it works as well! Good to know!!