BlackBerry PlayBook 101: Software Update

By Adam Zeis on 11 Apr 2011 10:46 am EDT

BlackBerry PlayBook 101: Check out this guide for help on how to update the software on your BlackBerry PlayBook.

When you first fire up your BlackBerry PlayBook you'll be required to do a software update. It doesn't take too long but it gets you the latest software so you're up to date. Updating the software is easy and only requires a few steps, but check out this quick 101 to make sure you're on the ball. Watch the video above for the full details, or keep reading for the quick version. We'll also check out the few options you'll find in the software update screen in your options.

BlackBerry PlayBook Software Update

Step 1 - Download

BlackBerry PlayBook Software Update

Firstly the software will download to your device. The update may be over 200mb so sit tight and just wait it out.

Step 2 - Install

BlackBerry PlayBook Software Update

When the software is finished downloading it will be installed on your device. Make sure you do not power off the device during this process.

Step 3 - Restart

BlackBerry PlayBook Software Update

After the installation is complete you will need to restart the device.

Step 4 - Finish

BlackBerry PlayBook Software Update

AFter the device reboots you will see the confirmation screen that you have successfully updated the device.

Settings - Software Update

After the initial update, you'll be able to check for new software from the Software Updates screen. You can also find out information about your current software, update versions and more.

BlackBerry PlayBook Software Update

The Software Updates screen (under Settings) allows users to check for, download and install software updates for the device.

BlackBerry PlayBook Software Update

If an update is available you will be able to view the following:

  • Software version available
  • Size of the software update
  • If the update requires a reboot
  • A description of the update

Check out more great tips and tutorials in our other BlackBerry PlayBook 101 articles.

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

Reader comments

BlackBerry PlayBook 101: Software Update


Even with QNX, some updates will always require a reboot.

Besides, it's often a lot easier (on the devs, and for testing) to just force a reboot anyway, even if they could technically get away without it. I won't be surprised if we don't see updates without reboots for a year or two, if ever.

It's not like this is a critical feature... how often do you think there will be updates anyway, and how hard is it to take a few minutes to reboot?

I disagree. System reboots should not be the norm. Each time you reboot your system, you are disrupted from your work, you've got to save or lose data, and if this is a phone, you're likely missing incoming calls. I have on many occasions and it's not pretty. People start thinking you're screening them out!

This is not a PC but an always on, always ready to go device, with push messaging. Rebooting, as my current BlackBerry does for 5 minutes, is just unacceptable. I can't take photos in that timeframe, I can't look up a contact, I can't check my calendar, I can't respond to BBMs, I can't receive video calls.

Certainly, shortening the reboot time to 30 seconds or so would be a great first start, but if the system doesn't need to be rebooted at all for most application installs, that would be ideal... and a great, great selling point for the PlayBook over the competition :) I say leverage what you've got! Take full advantage of all the pluses QNX brings.

Haha, is a few minutes of not being able to use your phone/PlayBook really that big of a deal? How are you even able to use your phone every waking minute of the day, that five minutes is a major issue? What company do you keep that due to a chosen five minute window of no phone service after a firmware update-let's say, once a month at most-results in adverse, paranoid reactions like that?

Do you require use of the camera that frequently that any five minute window of down time could potentially result in a catastrophic missed photo opportunity? Can't you look up contacts and calendar entries on your computer for five minutes? Do all BBMs have to be replied to within five minutes? Do you do that much critical video calling that, in the extremely improbable chance that you actually receive a video call [on a phone without a front-facing camera, no less] within any given five minute period of a random day, that you cannot receive it again five minutes later? Surely there is at least one single five minute period in your day that you aren't using your phone...

Also, how do you expect always-in-use critical system files to be updated on ANY device whilst the device is using them? A reboot is the only way that ensures these types of files can be updated properly.

Maybe you should just never update the firmware of your devices. That way you will never again have to waste valuable minutes of [potential?] BlackBerry use while your device restarts after one of these 'unacceptable' reboots following a firmware update. Problem solved...

Remember that apps will NOT require a reboot as they do at the moment.

Core updates will change the kernal. The PlayBook doesn't have to update, buit it's a good idea to make sure that the 3rd party apps that are plugged into it behave properly.

This is so very much easier than some *better* mobile OSes out there ;)

The first update is mandatory, but I'm not so sure about future updates. I wonder if they'll have mandatory and optional updates?

QNX sandboxes all running processes except for the base kernel, so a reboot is only required when the kernel gets updated. Also, when a process crashes the system does not go down, the kernel just closes and restarts that process/app. This is light-years ahead of what us BB folks are used to! :)

what's the point of these articles if the thing is not out yet?
and from what ive seen i still cant find a single valid reason for average consumer to buy it

So that the staff can get all of this information out there ahead of time and have a full library of help articles on the product so that when someone buys one one, they can quickly and easily find all the info they need on CrackBerry. It amazes me how stupid people are on this website...

what's the point of these articles if the thing is not out yet?
and from what ive seen i still cant find a single valid reason for average consumer to buy it

i just found one!......

....“Yes, it was me. I received an email, and there was a link, but it turned out to be one of those movies,” the clearly embarrassed legislator desperately defended himself before journalists after photographers caught him red-handed watching a porn clip on his tablet computer while attending a House plenary session on Thursday....

The Jakarta Post

onberry, you seriously need help, whats wrong with seeing what to expect for the wonderful PB coming in just a little over a week?

Shamwari, if you dont know what to expect from yet another RIM soon to be RIP product you are the one who needs help.
cant wait for the reviews from people who bought it....

onberry, your hatred of RIM is noted, please stop wasting your time writing negative stuff. Ok the playbook isnt for you, get an ipad and makes sure your mom packs it in your bag with your lunch and leave us alone.

edy, i dont have a ipad, im no fan boy of apple or rim but if you dont see that for the past three years rim has been fixing their fxxck ups at our expense make sure your parents leave you a nice inheritance or start saving your lunch $ ....youll need it.
have fun with you playbook :)
but dont expect much, the usual glitches and bugs and rim's promises to fix them with the release of next os.

Just because you're poor and can't afford a Playbook doesn't mean the rest of us can't. I for one will get a lot of use out of mine when it arrives at my door next week. :)

For sure, saved tons of lunch money, im freakin hungry. QNX on the Playbook is not the same as the os's they run on their phones its a whole new beast. Yeah i expect some glitches as i do with first gen of any tech product, but from what ive seen/read the playbook is going to be perfect for me. I was just saying if its not what your gonna get then why are you wasting your time posting about it on these forums when you could be researching something that is for you. Just move on already.

onberry, well noted, now go and sit somewhere, you are right about one thing, the reviews will confirm what we all know including you that the PB rocks, now i understand the PB may not be for you but thats no reason for you to come here and wish RIM was dead, you are the same person who has been proclaiming the death of RIM for the last few years and yet year after year RIM post impressive numbers.

yes, those numbers were impressive for rim but if you compare them to other
and its because rim is so successful that they want to open up to android...long term its not good for rim
sincerely gl with your playbook,
its just a healthy criticism not hate, i just wish for once rim would release the product thats ahead of the competition.

yes, those numbers were impressive for rim but if you compare them to other
and its because rim is so successful that they want to open up to android...long term its not good for rim
sincerely gl with your playbook,
its just a healthy criticism not hate, i just wish for once rim would release the product thats ahead of the competition.

Stop with the hate. It is not good for your health! Besides we don't care to hear your diatribe, we are too excited about getting our Playbooks! :)

Yipes, I'm a little worried what will happen when a million of us all try to update on April 19th :D OK maybe not a million but a lot!

One of the most serious problems with the traditional Blackberry OS in my opinion is the software update process. I have never had any computer or device in my life (and I've been working professionally in I.T. for over 20 years) that completely wiped the entire device of all data and operating system files just to do an OS update! (Can you imagine every time Microsoft released a few patches on monthly "Patch Tuesday", that it forced a complete wipe and reinstallation of your entire Windows OS?!?)

That in itself wouldn't necessarily be a show-stopper if it weren't for the fact that the part of the update that re-populates the device didn't lose all sorts of important data!! MANY applications completely lose their data, customizations and license/registration during that procedure, which is completely and utterly inexcusable.

I sure hope this new generation solves that problem once and for all. It has really been a major major black mark on the Blackberry's reputation for years now.

Just got my first unit and tried to connect it to my Home WiFi. Ran into issues right away.

1) The unit complained that it could not connect to the Update Server. The screen had just one button called 'Settings', clicking which it took me to the Wi-Fi setup page where it said it is already connected to my Home Wi-Fi !!!!

2) I clicked Disconnect on the screen and clicked reconnect on my Home Wi-Fi. Like on any other device I would have expected it to remember my password. Nopes. Had to re-enter my password again

3)This time around when it got to the Update screen it started downloading the 200 MB software and then started installing it

4) Once installed the unit restarted and then....

hours upon hours and I am looking at those colorful circles with BlackBerry PlayBook scribed in the middle of the screen: the unit refuses to come back to any screen which may be called 'user-interactable'

5) I called in RIM support and ran into a rather 'lazy' sounding guy who first had to register me before he could help me out

6) After getting registered (and agreeing to terms and conditions) I was told that since the servers are very slow today therefore I have to wait this process out. I politely told the guy on the other end of the line that the PlayBook has successfully downloaded and installed what it needed to but he insisted that it is still downloading something over the air. I looked at my modem and the traffic light is not blinking which means that no data is being downloaded.

Now I am left looking at a useless piece of device which seems only to be able to display colored circles :-(

My playbook just arrived, but when I install the latest version of the OS: 1710 on the step 4 of this article I swipe to continue and nothing happens, the text disappear and my Playbook do nothing! Did anyone can help me with this issue????


I have just purchased my playbook and i am trying to get started but there is a problem.
Everytime it starts to update software it says "can not update this device. check settings".
Dont know what to do?