BlackBerry PlayBook Tips and Tricks


Tips & Tricks To Help You Use Your BlackBerry PlayBook Better!

BlackBerry PlayBook Tips and Tricks
By Kevin Michaluk on 19 Apr 2011 11:18 am EDT

The BlackBerry PlayBook is a pretty simple tablet to figure out. Running the BlackBerry Tablet OS that has been fully optimized and designed from the ground up for touchscreen input, just by opening your eyes and swiping, gesturing and tapping around you'll get a pretty good grasp of the device in no time. That said, as we've played with our PlayBooks we've discovered lots of little things that might not be readily discoverable, so we're going to shares these tips and tricks with you to make sure you're taking advantage of them. Keep reading to get the most from your BlackBerry PlayBook!

Device Power Tips and Tricks

Swipe to Power On: Instead of using the little power button on the BlackBerry to turn the PlayBook on from standby, you can simply swipe from bezel to bezel, either top to bottom or side to side. 

Entering Standby Mode: To power the PlayBook's display off and enter standby mode, you can either tap the physical power button, or simply put the PlayBook down and let it go into "Standby Time-out". The default setting is 2 Minutes, but you can make it as low as 30 Seconds if you'd rather avoid using the power button altogether.

Restart/Full Power Off:  Holding down on the physical power button for two seconds will provide a pop-up which provides the option to either Turn Off your device or Restart it. There's also an icon on the homescreen that does the same thing when tapped.

Restart a FROZEN/Locked-Up BlackBerry PlayBook: The BlackBerry PlayBook is a pretty stable device from our testing with it so far, but if you ever do manage to freeze it up, you're not totally out of luck. Simply HOLD DOWN ON THE POWER BUTTON for 10 to 15 seconds and the PlayBook will restart. Even one that's locked up. 

Gesture Based Navigation Tips and Tricks

If you've gone through the setup wizard and paid attention to the tutorials, you should have a grasp over the basic PlayBook gestures.  If not, be sure to check out this PlayBook Navigation & Gesture Tutorial along with this PlayBook Homescreen and UI demo. That said, we still want to re-emphasize here the importance of three gestures as if you forget about them, you'll be compromising your experience.

Showing Options in Apps: When you're within apps, be it the Camera app taking photos or in the Web Browser surfing sites, you always need to remember the Swipe Down from the Top gesture as it will reveal important options. Not all apps will off options via a swipe down, but many will, so get in the habit of swiping down whenever you experience a new app for the first time!

Diagonal Swipe Within Apps to Show Status Bar (allows you to lock orientation within an app, pause music, etc): When you are within applications, swiping diagonally from the top bezel to the screen will pull down the status main status bar (the bar across the top of the homescreen that shows the time, orientation lock, settings gear, etc.).This is important as it allows you to lock the display from within any application. You don't need to exit an app to lock the screen in portrait or landscape. With the status bar showing, you can also do things like turning wifi and bluetooth on and off, or pausing/skipping tracks if music is playing.

Tap and Hold for Menus, Cut & Paste, etc.: Similar to BlackBerry 6 on touchscreen phones, the BlackBerry Tablet OS utilizes the tap and hold gesture, though it's not as prevalent through the operating system and apps. Within the web browser, it's important as it allows you to open links in a new tab or save an image. When word processing, it allows you to copy and paste text. 

Things You Might Want to Do But Aren't Sure How

Changing your PlayBook's Wallpaper:  Head to the Pictures app, pick the photo you want to set as a wallpaper, swipe down and choose the Set As Wallpaper option.

Take a Screen Capture: To capture an image of what's on your PlayBook's screen, at anytime, simply Press down on the PlayBook's Volume Up and Volume Down buttons at the exact same time.

Password Protect your BlackBerry PlayBook: To set a password on your BlackBerry PlayBook, head to Settings > Security > Password. Everytime your PlayBook's display powers off you'll need to re-enter your password.

Pairing your BlackBerry PlayBook to a Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse: You may not even think to do this unless we told you, but YES, you can pair a bluetooth mouse and keyboard up to your PlayBook. From there you can hook it up to your tv via the HDMI cable and now you're rocking the PlayBook like a star.  NOTE: If you choose to do this, to use bezel gestures you RIGHT MOUSE CLICK. Go to any edge or corner of the display and right mouse click to execute that gesture (no need to swipe).

Stay Tuned For More...

As we said at the start of this article, the PlayBook is a pretty easy device to figure out. You just need to use it and you can figure most things out on your own fairly quick. We'll keep updating this page as we come across more tips and tricks we think are crucial for the new user to get some help on. Be sure to check out our more in-depth BlackBerry PlayBook 101 Tutorials and if you ever run into a BlackBerry PlayBook problem you can't solve, simply jump into our BlackBerry PlayBook Forum and post your question. Happy PlayBooking!!

Reader comments

BlackBerry PlayBook Tips and Tricks


hey, just wanna help out peeps lookin to pick one up in canada today, eh? lotsa dealz on the accessories for PB in stOOpleS (aka staples, aka business depot). they gave me a coupon booklet in-store today. GO! Hurry like curry...

I noticed that while its in bridge mode, it uses the paired BlackBerry's autotext. It really is like typing on a big bb monitor/keyboard.

The battery life is pretty good.. I havent charged it yet and i had about 45% battery life and toured the play book and watched a 2 hr movie and still have some juice left..This thing is awsome nice work RIM...

Hey Kevin, any clue as to what the very small update entailed this morning? BTW, mirroring is just incredible and the HD display is eye-popping. This puppy is just going to keep getting better. Each update will be like getting a new toy. You've done an amazing job covering this gem.

I got a Playbook yesterday, I dont have a BB cell, How can I email pictures?, I have Gmail and Hotmail email accounts but the browser took me to the mobile sites of Gmail and hotmail. Those sites dont let you attach files to the email, So right now I have a tablet that I like but I cant share picture with my friends.

you can enable file sharing and wifi sharing. then you can open the folders from your playbook on your computer.

how do i use spell check? i notice the red line under incorrect spelling but when i touch it it just moves the cursor

You can download the movie from any online source, can't say where since you know piracy and all.

But to transfer there are two ways, the annoying method via cable and desktop manager and the cooler way via wifi file transfer.

Just enable Wifi File Transfer and using your Mac/PC drag and drop the file into your video's folder on the playbook.

hi everyone
im new to playbook and was wondering if anyone knows how to activate predictable text when typing


You don't have to right click anymore to do the bezel gestures. Just move the mouse to the bezel and a little icon pops up and u can left click.

i got a blackberry tablet playbook from amazon im trying to active the blackberry i got error massage 2012 i called blackbery after 20 hours on the phone now blackberry is telling me the tablet is reported stolen and they blocked it on thier system i to can any one help me get this blackberry playbook to work my i been on the phone with blackberry for over 20 hours and they dont know what to do

i got a blackberry tablet playbook from amazon im trying to active the blackberry i got error massage 2012 i called blackbery after 20 hours on the phone now blackberry is telling me the tablet is reported stolen and they blocked it on thier system i to

Comment to 'Take a Screen Capture'

If this feature sometimes isn't working and you're connected to the BlackBerry Bridge, disconnect from the BlackBerry Bridge and try again taking a screen capture.

Battery draines out. I tried many tips and none of them worked. There is no red lighton. How can I fix this problem ?

does anyone know why my bb playbook doesnt show a sign of charging when i plug it in i tried the one of the computer to bb and nothing ..i hope my bb isnt broken!!! : (

Hi! So I restarted my Blackberry Playbook and it totally froze on me! I almost had a little panic attack because I didn't know what to do...that's when I found this site and it told me what to do!! You're a lifesaver thank you so much!!!