BlackBerry OS 10.3 bringing 'home' shortcut to physical keyboard devices

By Adam Zeis on 25 May 2014 01:35 pm EDT

We've already seen an extensive list of some new features coming to BlackBerry OS 10.3, but another cool one that we hadn't seen yet has turned up in the latest 10.3 SDK. It appears that a new keyboard shortcut will be added for physical keyboard devices, allowing you to quickly minimize apps and return to the home screen with just a single key.

As seen in the demo above, pressing and holding the space key on a BlackBerry Q5 BlackBerry Q10 will throw the current app into an Active Frame (minimize it) and return you to the homescreen where you can go about your business. Yes, it's the same as just using the swipe gesture to get where you're going, but I'm all for having more keyboard shortcuts available.

So what say you Q10 and Q5 users - is this a feature you're anxious to have? Or one you can do without?

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

BlackBerry OS 10.3 bringing 'home' shortcut to physical keyboard devices


Lol, definite more gooder!!

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

I'm used to the swipe up already, but if this means there will be more keyboard shortcuts then horray!!

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

Totally agree with the more shortcuts the better.. but how can you beat the speed of a swipe up??

-okay maybe if you're typing and your thumbs totally can't leave the keyboard.

I want a shortcut to lock my phone like the legacy one. Instead of hitting the button on the top.

Posted via CB10

I think it helps for people who have issues hitting the bezel correctly for the swipe-up gesture. Some never seem to nail it right the first time...

Agreed! Some people want simplicity, I want speed, just teach me the ones I need and let me get back to work!

Posted via CB10

One of the best improvements to 10.2.1 was the "hub icon" on the home screen.

I never use "peek and flow" anymore and without any sales representatives in carriers teaching people how to use "peek and flow" it became a tragic mess for the adoption of BB10.

Thorsten forgot that you would have to teach people how to use it....just because he knew how didn't matter.

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

I think you mean you don't use "Peak".

Flow is just how apps string into each other. E.g.: If you share a picture to a BBM friend you can then chat in BBM ('flow' from Pictures app to a BBM chat).

You can then simply swipe backwards in BBM to return yourself to the Pictures app in exactly the same place you left it.

Posted via CB10

This will probably be my most used shortcut in all of the BlackBerry10 experience!

Now allow me to turn off the swipe up feature all together so that when I'm playing Pac Man I don't accidentally minimize and/or pause the game (thus a higher score :)

I also want to see an improvement in interacting with apps, hiding icons, accessing our apps. Imagine a gesture to get into the application pages. When not in the application pages the home screen is present, swipe left & right opens particular apps or functions (highly customizabe) like convenience keys.

 BlackBerry Q10  Keep The Faith 

+1 on being able to disable the swipe up gesture-very annoying when playing games

I was kinda hoping the long press space bar would act as a phone hang up shortcut. Coming from the 9900 the only thing I have not gotten used to is the hanging up on the phone!

Posted via CB10

This news is old. Crackberry needs to step up their game. Other BlackBerry fan sites reported this in the day.

Posted via CB10

Oh hells to the yeah!

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  ‎BlackBerry Q10...oh wait a sec....its my new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The holy grail of phones! Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! LOL! #longestsignatureever

Agreed on option to turn off. I can only imagine all the complaints when people hit the space bar to scroll and the window keeps minimizing instead.

Posted via CB10

But what if you want to enter a bunch of spaces??

Posted without the aid of AutoCorrect with my physical keyboard via CB10

The Z10/30 know when you are trying to enter text (the keyboard comes up) so I'm sure the keyboard devices would know the difference between trying to enter text and trying to minimize a frame.

Posted via CB10

We've already lost the ability to enter a bunch of periods in repitition (.....) We now have to continuously hold both the alt and the "M" buttom, and then touch the screen for 3 dots in succession, or hit the period multiple times. Some of the shortcuts are great, but some are not "shortcuts" at all.

There's already a long press space bar gesture on the Z10/Z30. Long press hides for keyboard. I don't see how it would cause a problem on a Q device to have a space bar long press gesture.

Keith. Posted by CB10 using Z30.

Sure, but also have a swipe left/right shortcut too, they would compliment each other well.

Posted via CB10

Just out of curiosity, are many of the users out there opposed to the old app switcher? What about a shortcut for switching between apps? It seems more efficient than minimizing and then selecting.

emPowered by 

I don't understand the need for redundant features and shortcuts. Swiping is faster than holding down the spacebar.

Posted via CB10

I asked many friends about it. The answer is that there are many circumstances where it is easier to tap than to swipe.

This is so true, that since 10.0 there is a setting for predictive text.
Either the words are on the letters, or oj top of the keyboard (like on a Q10 or like on a PlayBook). The second setting seemed crazy to me (farther to where the thumbs are, and less words choices), but then my friend told me that swiping is not easy when you are sweating on your thumbs.

So yes, BB10 relies a lot on swiping and it is good to have another possibility without swiping.

Posted via CB10

This feature would be good for people wearing gloves. Plus I'd imagine it would benefit people migrating from a legacy device to the Q20.

I can definitely see the benefits of having this new shortcut included.

Posted via CB10

This feature is not good because some apps when holding the space bar will scrool down so it wil be missed up

Posted via CB10

Touching the space bar will probably still scroll down
Holding will minimize.....

Great addition

This is probably the least useful keyboard shortcut they could have implemented. Minimizing an active frame is the simplest and most efficient swiping gesture in the whole OS, especially in conjunction with peaking.

At first I got excited and thought that application shortcuts from the homescreen were back. Like bbos had, e.g. B for browser and N for bbm, etc.

Posted via CB10

Completely agree. Swiping is easy on screen. I just don't see the point of this particular spacebar "shortcut".

Posted via CB10

holding the backspace would work for this. hard to end a call while on home screen or in another app so this needs to be fixed.

What about the application shortcuts for the home screen I've been waiting for since I got my Q10? Remember the n for BMM, b for browser, u for calculator, a or c or contacts, m for messages/hub, s for search ( never use the search function.), d for documents, etc.

+1 - i'd be golden then.
Also, when typing message and holding spacebar down for multiple spaces won't trigger minimize accidentally, hopefully.

I like my coffee BlackBerry Black! What?

Hopefully 10.3 arrives soon because updating android apps are rendering them incompatible now. We need the updated runtime now.

Posted via Z10

Don't need that, but it would be interesting to lock the keys by long-press on "*" and turn into silent/vibrate by pressing "#" like in the Legacy devices...
But it is an emprovement and it is good so!

Posted via my BlackBerry*Q10, Germany - SQN100-3, Running OS

I'm with you on that one. Space bar is how I scroll down. I guess they will give us the option to disable the "going home".

Q10SQN100-1/ CB10'n

Yeah - the space is my most used shortcut (followed by the complimentary T and the U in the hub).

But - slightly off topic - do you also have troubles to scroll with the space bar when you tapped on the screen (in the browser) or used swipe to go back up a bit?
I'd hope BlackBerry fixes this in the next release (and add more and better shortcuts for the browser)

Should have been placed somewhere else it doesn't look easy to single handle it

Posted With My ZL1 OS:Unknown Via CB10

Bravo! But we still must be mindful that shortcuts can also be frustrating when you do not intend for its use at that specific time. For example.....most land line numbers here in Barbados begin with when trying to dial from the home screen on my Q5 it's annoying. It keeps going to the search feature. However, there isn't even the option for my contacts in those search options. I've tried to see if I could swap on of the options to select my address book but I wasn't successful. Would I have to turn off my search feature? Come on guys these are suppose to be smart phones.

Posted via CB10

You have to set the search focus on all or actions. I set it to all. When I type "4" or even even"s" without the alt key my Q10 offers me to call 4. The following actions are calling contacts since switzerland phone numbers starts with +41.

Posted via CB10

Don't see how it will be any faster than a simple swipe up. If anything, a press and hold might even take longer.

I for one won't be using that feature, but if people want the option...more options are better than less.

Posted via CB10 on BB10 from Q10

What phone is this?? It looks like a mixture of a q5 case with q10 keyboard. Is this a new qwerty device? How ever, it does look more like a new q5 than the more rugged "bold" q10.

Posted via CB10

This clearly precludes me send audio simultaneously with whatapp.. So .. someone tell me please how can I disable this useless function.. thks

Posted via CB10

I dunno....would rather a more ground breaking feature that I could rub in android and iphones users faces..lool

Pimp slappin iGeeks and Droinerds with my Q10

I'm not a keyboard person but very glad that this option will soon be available for Q10 & 5

Posted via CB10

How to minimise holding space?
I tried so many times but it jst scroll down

BlackBerry Q5 Owner my pin:- 2B2C32FE

It looks pretty nice on d demo but I must say, swiping is even more nice. It makes u feel and b part part of this awesome device. But as they say, change is good. Let's wait and see...

I agree that keyboard shortcuts are awesome. I hope to be able to multitask, cut and paste, and use the share/invoke api within apps all without ever having to touch a touchscreen on the Windermere.

Posted via CB10

Niceeeee! Love the polish the OS is getting!

1 touch speed dials was a nice big step last update!

 BlackBerry Q10 

Now we can convince them to switch over to BB10, LOL
(not being serious)

But they'd have to unlearn double-tapping....

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

Is a logical move since the OS 10.3 will be launched with a keyboard phone so, it´s just BB10 now being correctly adapted to keyboard phones. 10.3 when the big guns came out... Excited about Blackberry future.

I personally like the swipe up method better, it's faster though. They better focus on shortcuts for things you can't do as fast with touch, or would be more conformable like locking the phone from the keyboard instead of the top key.

Posted via CB10

Is it just me, or does it seem like BB is actually trying to back peddle on the whole gesture based OS with things like this (and the return of the "belt").

I think they're trying to appease those who like the gesture based OS and those who prefer a more traditional method of navigation.

Pimp slappin iGeeks and Droinerds with my Q10

Yeah, I get that, but it just feels like they've lost confidence in BB10 and are starting to move backwards instead of a more forward thinking evolution.

Bring back Backup functionality to BlackBerry Protect :)..this is what i'm looking forward to. Outside of that I find it pretty useless...

Pimp slappin iGeeks and Droinerds with my Q10

As the first comment says : The more, the better

But will this not interfere with scrolling in an app with space?
And a better solution for switching the app WITHOUT having to go to the home screen is more important. Now we can go to the screen with using the screen but to activate another app, you need to tap on its frame. So where's the advantage for this shortcut?

It's not yet complete.

I'm sure this will be great once it's released. Can't wait.

Posted via CB10 running on Q10SQN100-3/

Don't need it but don't mind more options

Posted via CB10 on my awesome black Q10 or my white sexy Z10

I hope there are more shortcuts, I miss the shortcuts for the media player, pause, FF, REW etc

 Posted via CB10 on my BlackBerry Q10

Good to add more features as long as you can disable them if you like.

Posted via the super amazing BlackBerry Q10

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't this be just like iOS where pressing the button brings you to the home screen? The only differences here is that the shortcut is for physical keyboard devices only and the home screen is where all the active frames are.

IMO, aren't we just taking features from other platforms, tweak it a bit and calling original?

Also with this shortcut, do you see a possibility of BlackBerry adding a new home button on future devices? Although they might face legal issues with typo (if it's still around) over patents and designs....this time BlackBerry being the accused.

Posted via CB10

Yep! People here are funny, when BB10 came out everyone was calling the home button archaic and the gesture based system the way of the future. Funny how perspectives change.

Posted via CB10

More shortcosts is good! But has to stay simple and easy to remember, get used to it. Space bar for going back is of no use I think, a quick swipe works better. And pushing a lot on one key makes it more fragile


That'll solve the ongoing little problem that I have with the Q10 every time I need to switch app. The bottom black bezel is so narrow that I'm having a hard time to minimize apps.

 CB10 

Forget the keyboard. Don't get it the Z30 is the bomb. The learning function of the 30 is the most amazing advancement to date. Why doesn't everyone love it?


As a Q5 user this doesn't affect me as much as a Q10 user (as I actually have a bezel to swipe on). I'm more interested in the phone which appears to be either a new model or a dev kit based on the Q10

They have to bring in some clever shortcuts for future Windermerians who don't have a belt or an ALT key...

"Snap" is the best stop-gap solution for Android apps while we wait for BlackBerry to get its act together...

Meh. BlackBerry continues to move away from progress of touchscreen and back to keyboard basics. I don't mind the feature as it stands alone but I feel BlackBerry is not committed to the new BlackBerry users at all. I feel BlackBerry will survive by catering to older users of BlackBerry's and continue to lose in pushing BlackBerry forward with other companies that have the financial situation to push boundaries.

Posted via CB10

The only nit-pick I had with BB10 is gone! (Although being with AT&T I probably will no get the upgrade until a year after its release).

Posted via CB10

What about those who wants the ability to long press a key to enter several of that character?

Wow, OK, yeah, just throw out the whole freaking gesture thing please then. The more I see, the more I hope Apple introduces a unified view like the HUB. It looks like I may be needing an alternative soon. And yeah, I am not going to stand for and support a company that can't even back their own ideas. Everyone else is starting to introduce gestures, BlackBerry is introducing physical keys back. For real?!

Posted via CB10

While it wouldn't cause me to switch, I agree. The gesture based system is becoming increasingly useless with all the app shortcuts (example, hub icon) and now this.

Posted via CB10

I am still learning new shortcuts from time to time; like a kid in a candy store. It is awesome. More short cuts

Posted via CB10

Proud owner of a Q10 here and I say bring it on! Holding the space bar is way more efficient then swiping up (but, admittedly, not as cool looking) ;-)

Posted on my Q10!!! BB10 FTW!!!

Although it nice to have more keyboard shortcuts it's not really a necessary shortcut to have when we have the swiping gestures in place

Posted via CB10

Blasphemy, BlackBerry 10 does not have a home button...they have, ahem...home space key.

Home buttons are for iTards.

Posted via CB10

It a nice option, but it could be better if instead , pressing and holding the space key will bring you straight to the Hub from any apps!!

Posted via CB10

Please make shortcuts that work without needing to unlock the phone: Vibrate, silent, loud, turn off/on mobile network, turn off/on bluetooth, turn off/on nfc, turn off/on wi-fi, and even flashlight. Basically please make shortcuts for everything on the settings.

Shortcuts for anything else is a plain redundancy

I would appreciate if I will be able to launch apps with long pressing buttons. It's great for phone calls but on a few alphabet I rather use an app

Q10 is my Qmpanion

What's the point of having a physical keyboard without shortcuts? I'm surprised it took so long to add it, actually. Hoping they'll add customizable shortcuts soon, so users can choose what they want to make a shortcut to, and which key/keys they want to assign for it. Having shortcuts beats swiping left right and centre hands down. Plus, also keeps the screen free of finger prints which I usually prefer.

Posted via CB10

I use a Q10 and since there's an alternative (swiping up), I really am not looking forward to the shortcut. Doesn't make any difference to me.

Posted via CB10

That's cool, but if it's possible, I'd prefer you enable the T or Y key to function as a classic track pad.

Posted via CB10

Or how about customizable keyboard let me make my "?123" virtual key smaller add Alt and return key smaller for a "sym" key now I don't have to push the "?123" key then the "&%" key to get to % key or _ or ~ or \ just saying the virtual keyboard is the best I've ever had. Why not make it a tad more fluid and easily adaptable for former hardware keyboard using BlackBerry fans.

Posted via CB10

What I need is to have a better way in selecting, copy, cut and paste messages. BlackBerry 9900 is way better in line with this.

Posted via CB10

Oh yes I like it! I don't like swiping lots but it's the norm in this tech age. I have sweaty hands so Yeh lots of smudges so as much as I can I like to use keyboard shortcuts! Keep them coming blackberry.

via Q10

Yes, i like what i read. I would also like to see the silent-shortcut and the lock-shortcut by long pressing the respective key.

Posted via CB10

I think, we need more hw shortcuts. It would be very useful have the "enter" shortcut for everything, that has "save" button on top the screen (annoying to tap so high). And the same for do "exit" from some dialogs - maybe "backspace"... All the control of BB10 system should has more hw alternative ways, how to control them.

I can't wait for more keyboard shortcuts. Not having them is a real nuisance.

Posted via CB10

I'll want to turn that off and keep using the swipe up gesture. It's funny watching iPhone users try to unlock it. Haha

Posted from my BlackBerry Q10 on AT&T

Not sure if this has been noted already.
I'm running 10.3 developer version, and the shortcut only works on BB10 apps installed through BB WORLD, not Android APK's installed directly.

Posted via CB10

I love the idea of more keyboard shortcuts. For me the keyboard was most important feature for my phone purchase, which led me to the Q10 over another phone. I'm glad that the keyboard functionality is increasing and improving.

My top keyboard shortcut that I would love to see is to have a way to answer a phone call.

Posted via CB10

I really miss the ability of changing the shortcut's combo to switch between different languages. "alt + enter" combo is difficult to use for one hand typing.

The space bar as The "go home" button is a bad idea in my opinion.
Holding both shift keys would be a better option.
Holding down the space bar was better to run through list incrementally.

Also I'm shocked that the 10.3 Removed the "touch anywhere" on the screen to take a picture.
The idea of a virtual camera button is kinda iPhone and Android, touching anywhere on the screen to take a pic made BlackBerry stand out.

Not even gonna mention the intelligent assistant. Was easier from on the home screen to begin typing a number and when all ten digits have been entered then you could call, now this Intelligent Assitant gets in the way and you have to voice command a call?!

Posted by Phobe's Owner on the BlackBerry Q10

This particular shortcut, no big deal.

But, shortcuts in general, yes, bring them on.

The thing is, with a bigger screen, most people aren't going to be able to reach the screen and the keyboard fluidly. So, having gestures built into the keyboard will help us working quickly.

My daugther has ALS and she consider this shortcut like a must that should be developed by Blackberry asap.... she can't use the swipe option and could make this better with the keyboard so please , not sure who from RIM , go ahead and enable this shortcut option on the next release !! this is not an IPhone... (only focusing in fashion features) ....and a lot of patients will say THANK YOU!!