How to switch BlackBerry devices

Connect via USB
By Joseph Holder on 27 Apr 2011 11:11 am EDT

What happens when you get a new BlackBerry? There's an incredible amount of data on your old device: phone numbers, email address, and physical addresses of your contactsemailsWi-Fi settingsBBM contacts... The list goes on. Thankfully, you needn't concern yourself; BlackBerry Desktop Software does it all for you.

After connecting to BlackBerry Desktop Software, the device switch wizard is much like an Operating System upgrade. Only this time, you'll be upgrading your smartphone. The wizard will copy all of your selected data from the old device and then ask you to connect your new BlackBerry.  Transfer your SIM and (if you have one) media cards to the new device, insert the battery, and connect back to your computer.

After clicking next, the software takes care of the rest. The whole process should take somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour; less if you choose to transfer data only, not applications.

As always, more complete instructions are after the break.

Step One connect your old device

The Device Switch wizard begins by copying all of the data from your old BlackBerry. Connect your device via USB to your computer and then start BlackBerry Desktop Software. Give the device a few moments. If you're like me and you back up often, the software will probably start an automatic backup. Let it finish; my rule is you can never have too many backups.

From the Device menu, choose Device Switch... The program prompts you to connect your current (old) device, which you've already done. Click the picture of the device to continue. You have the option of transferring both your data and your applications to the new device. I recommend checking both of these boxes. Two things to remember about transferring apps: some apps may not work well on an upgraded operating system and application settings are not backed up or transferred. If you want to save your app settings, you'll need to refer to the application itself.

Once you've made your selections, click Next to continue. The software will take it from here. When it's finished with your old device, the software will prompt you to connect your new BlackBerry.

PRO TIP: Taking your BlackBerry in for warranty service? You might not get the same device back, and due to privacy concerns, some carriers do not allow the center to complete a full transfer. Before leaving the house, complete this first step. When you come back with a new BlackBerry, finish the third section to get back up and running.

Step Two: Move your cards 

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

You'll now need to transfer the SIM and microSD cards, if you have one or both. Both the SIM card and the microSD card fit just one way into your BlackBerry. There are usually drawings to help you figure out just how the cards fit; never force a card into a slot. If you need to use anything more than a gentle to moderate push, the card is not inserted correctly. Install the battery - again it only installs one way - and close the battery cover.

Step Three: Transfer data to your new device 

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

After completing the first step, the Device Switch wizard prompts you to connect your new BlackBerry. Once you've done that, click Next to continue. The wizard restores all of your databases, contacts, emails (and a bunch of other stuff) to your new phone. My absolute favorite feature of this process is the way BBM contacts are handled. Automatically.

Rather than resending invite requests and rescanning bar codes, the system simply updates all of your contacts with your new PIN. There's no action required of you or your contacts. Unless you tell them, your contacts won't even know you got a new device.

The wizard will continue its duties for about half an hour; similar to how long it takes to restore data following an OS upgrade. When it is complete, the wizard will tell you it is safe to disconnect your device, and you're good to go. You'll soon get the registration email from your network, letting your know your BlackBerry is back to its always-on, always-connected status.

Now What

Once you've completed the Device Switch, your old phone is next to forgotten. Take a moment, though, to consider what will happen to that BlackBerry. Will it need to be returned to the warranty or insurance center? Will you donate your phone to a worthy charity? Passed down to a friend or family member? Thrown in the garbage? (not recommended)

Before you do, make sure to remove your personal data from the device. If you don't wipe the data from your BlackBerry, you're basically saying, "Here's all my information. I want to get my identity stolen by the random person who gets this phone!" Don't give away your life story; prepare your BlackBerry for its next life by removing all of your data, leaving your old BlackBerry a tabula rasa for its next owner.

More to find...

BlackBerry 101: Tabula Rasa - How to wipe the data from your device, removing all personal information
Installing applications on your BlackBerry Smartphone
How to Install the SIM Card and MicroSD Memory Card into a BlackBerry Smartphone

Reader comments

How to switch BlackBerry devices


Does this process also transfter the apps from one device to another??? if so, will apps running on O/S 5.0 be backwards capadible with O/S's 6.0 and 6.1. Specifically I am looking to upgrade from the Storm 9530 (which I have to state beside the key board, low memory and slow browser I am otherwise satisfied with :-) ) I am looking forward to upgrading to the Monoco Touch and hope that I will not have to give up any of the current 37 apps I am running now on the Storm.

Not all apps are compatible with the newer OS so the sad truth is that yes, you may lose an app or two when you upgrade. Desktop Manager will back up some third party apps but you may lose some info. I've found it easier to use BBSAK for my third party app backups.

This is a great 101 lecture. Great work Joe!!!

I will be switching from my 9650 to the 9930 once it is available. Related to that, I have 2 follow up questions....

1) I am on OS5...975 going to the OS7 that should be loaded on the 9930 at launch. With respect to the media card, is the file structure any different? Or said another way, when going to a new device with a "new" OS, should I NOT be just switching the media card over per the vids/instructions?

2) Also, regarding 3rd party apps, I know you state it's best to have DSW load the apps and then pick off after the ones that don't work. Do you feel strongly that way considering that I will be going from 5..975 to 7? Would I be better off taking a backup with either the DSW way of backing up 3rd party apps (or using BBASK) and then loading CODs back in one by one?

Part of me feels it might be best to just move the data/media over and then first go to mobihand and switch my device/PIN there and start loading the apps from there one by one. Any thoughts/advice would be great. Feel free to send me a message...


When I
I upgrade to a newer bb next month I want a larger media card in the new bb. Now what? I have a video of my deceased son on the small card I have now (and ALL my music) that I don't wanna lose. How can I keep it?

OK, I have my new 9800 now. Did a backup last nite but did not use dm switch device yet. My laptop has the older version 5 dm on it. Can't upgrade to newest version since my laptop won't connect to internet anymore. I checked all my file folders and found all my vids, pics, music and made new file folders on desktop and copied-pasted into the new empty folders. If all my info doesn't show up on 9800 can I use drag and drop method to load onto 9800? I don't wanna just move SD card over since 9800 came with a 4 gb SD and my curve has only a 2gb.(and it is so full!) Thanks and hope to see a reply soon.

Question... Who's getting ANOTHER BlackBerry after already having lived with one??

Lol, its like getting married for the second time. You don't make the same mistake twice. hahaha.

sorry couldn't resist, I am on my third BB now and have used and loved the Switch device wizard! Awesome tool.

However, I am almost positive that my next one will not be a BB, but who knows BB OSX might change things... we'll see

Thanks for this info.

I found that after the Device Switch wizard prompted me to connect my BlackBerry it transferred all the files and apps BUT the BBM was still linked to the new phone's old owner - I could not change the Blackberry ID to my own.
So, I decided to do a data wipe (factory reset) and redo the Device Switch wizard. That worked :)
So, to help your future readers, perhaps add a note to your article to make sure that the new BB phone has been wiped before starting with the Device Switch wizard - otherwise the BBM contacts will not migrate.


HTT ;)