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BlackBerry Protect Hands-On Review

By IsaacKendall on 8 Mar 2011 10:38 am EST
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BlackBerry ProtectBlackBerry Protect

As a BES user there have been many benefits that BES people take for granted.  Unfortunately the BES is not a solution for everyone, there are IT requirements that must be considered when deploying a BES.  Although with the launch of BES Express and Google extending Apps support for BESx the entry bar has been lowered, operating a BES Express still requires some tech knowhow and some people just don't have the time or desire to become a BES Admin.

What is nice is that RIM has slowly begun extending the wireless sync experience on BIS to become closer to what the BES user's experience is similar to.  A while back we saw BIS updated to offer wireless calendar sync for Google and Live users.  I'm certain Adam and many others applauded this new feature because it made the need to use "Google Sync" tool obsolete.  This tool was terrible and I hope to never see it again.

Another great feature of BES is is data backup.  The BlackBerry automatically backups over the air (OTA) and therefore does away with the need to do manual backups with the Desktop Manager software.  Backups you don't have to think about are the best kind.  And now with BlackBerry Protect the OTA backup comes to the BIS user.  So without further delay lets look at this new product.

BlackBerry Protect

What is BlackBerry Protect?

BlackBerry Protect automatically backs up important data from your BlackBerry device. If your device is ever lost or stolen, you can use BlackBerry Protect to recover your data and remotely lock your device or delete data from your device.

Remote Backup and Restore

Back up your data automatically and restore it to any BlackBerry device. With BlackBerry Protect, you can back up:

  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Tasks
  • Memos
  • Browser Bookmarks
  • Text Messages
Protect; backup and restore

Upgrade to a New Device

  • To upgrade to a new device simply use the BlackBerry Protect application to perform a backup on your old device and then use BlackBerry Protect on your new device to restore your old data.

Find Your Device

Lost your device? Not sure where you left it? From the BlackBerry Protect web site, you can:

  • See your device's current location on a map
  • Make your device ring
  • Display a message for anyone who finds your device to see
Protect; location

Protect your Data

Prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. Use BlackBerry Protect to:

  • Remotely lock your device
  • Remotely set or change your device's password
  • Remotely wipe all data from your device


I really like BlackBerry Protect as it brings more parity with the iPhone platform.  iPhone has MobileMe and although MobileMe has the photo backup ability, MobileMe also costs $99/year where BlackBerry Protect is free.

The little things in life really impress me - I get excited about cup holder placement in a new car; so the remote backup feature gets my nerd-hairs standing up on the back of my neck.

Let's say my wife's BlackBerry backs up every Sunday but on Tuesday she entered a new address book entry for a new business contact and loses the BlackBerry later that evening.  I can simply trigger a remote backup and THEN wipe and lock the device.  When we get her a replacement device we can restore from the backup we created AFTER she lost the device and carry on from that point in time forward, not from the Sunday backup.

Like I said it's all about the subtle little things that really get my nerd-on.  You can manage multiple BlackBerry smartphones from one BlackBerry ID account.

What things that I don't like about BlackBerry Protect?

I don't think the backup is complete enough.  I'd like to see more items included in the backup process:

  • Profile settings, fonts, icon location
    • key to truly pick up where you left off
  • Phone Call Logs
    • not mission critical but helps create a complete restore
  • Password Keeper
    • don't use it myself as I use LastPass, but if I did my life would come to a complete and total end if I lost this data
  • One-Touch Speed Dials
    • this is not necessarily the same as your address book
  • Custom Auto-Text
    • a very popular BlackBerry feature - raise your hand if you have an auto-text BB to BlackBerry
  • Browser History
    • like the phone cal logs, not vital but a 'restore' should be a restore

These items are all included in a BES backup, I'm not sure if this is just a work-in-progress or a half way product that will tease you into wanting a BES.

"Hey Mr. User if you'd like a true backup you will need to buy a BES."

That would be a little to much like an Apple play and I don't really see RIM doing that. I'm going to believe that it's a work-in-progress with more functionalityto come down the pike.

The only true downside to this product is that if you're are a BES user or your BlackBerry has every been on a BES and the IT policy still exists on the device, BlackBerry Protect will not load at all.  So you have control over your backups, those will still live with your IT department.  In my feedback to the program I've asked that they try to allow BlackBerry Protect to BES users as I beleive that the "Locate My BlackBerry" feature would be nice.

BlackBerry Protect is available for download in the BlackBerry App World test center.

More information/download of BlackBerry Protect

Reader comments

BlackBerry Protect Hands-On Review

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If you use the app called LookOut mobile, you can actually read your back up contacts off of their website. Is there way to read my backup contacts without the phone online?

I think it would be great if we can do that because, it seems like if I lose my phone, I have to buy another BlackBerry to get all my contacts back to my phone and I cannot read any contact data off blackberrry protect website.

So... to me, its love and hate app.

Every since I got the app its been displaying that the service is unavailable. This is very frustrating as I want to enjoy the feature off BP too !

I'm on an encrypted BES, so I cannot use this app unless my admin allows it, which he will not.

You don't need it, your BES has much of the same functionality, providing your admin has enabled those functions.  :)

I really like this app, but locating the device sucks. I dont know if its Bing, but I live in the Dominican Republic and the location displayed on the map doesnt come even close to where I am.

Love the app, however, the locate feature is currently based on GPS, not cell towers, so if I'm in a building, it can't seem to find my device. The app is still in open beta, so here's hoping! I'd much rather use this BlackBerry app than a third party app.

Why do you even care that there was a lot of "grammatical mistakes" anyway?Are you reading for the info or to pick apart mistakes to empower your lame ego? I mean you did understand everything he said did you not?

Beyond the typos, good review.

It's worth mentioning that -very- few pay $99 for MobileMe anymore, most have smartened up and realised that Amazon and even sellers on eBay offer better prices on MobileMe than Apple does.

While I think BlackBerry Protect is long overdue, it's good to see that RIM are taking the beta process slow, and ensuring they release a reliable and efficient product, not just a product they rush to Market for the sake of getting it out there.

With the launch of this product, I have to wonder where products from third parties like SmrtGuard and Lookout stand in the Eco-system of data backup and device security. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with in time.

Why not integrate everything together? Furthermore, my experience with the bbm based internet backup has sucked...maybe its the 200 contacts but its subpar to say the least.

My only complaint is that the Protect client does not enable location services to find your device if you've disabled them. It just comes back on the website with 'Device cannot be located'

It's already in the test center. I agree with the post about indoor issues (althought the app does warn), but I feel that it should default to the closest tower, so that it at least provides something.

Having the ability to back up additional things would be great, but for free this is a simple, yet great app.

The other thing I'd like to see: when developing apps, you can integrate not only desktop backup support but OTA backup support (for use with BES). I would like to see BB Protect backups also back up application data, when the application supports OTA backup.

I still want to know why it tells me that my service does not support BlackBerry Protect even though I have a 1 GB data plan with Rogers.

Wow lots of expectations here for a completely FREE program/service. I personally think it's a great app as-is. Any other kind of service that comes even close to the features this has COSTS MONEY. Also you guys gotta remember that it's still in the "test center" so it's really not the final product yet.

Here's the deal-breaker for me: it doesn't work on encrypted devices. I'm a little paranoid, and I like security, so I have my device encrypted. For blackberry protect to work, it requires that encryption be turned off.

Same here! Having content encryption on will prob be enough for device protection as long as you are not using 1234 or something simple to figure out as your device password, but the remote wipe and locate would be cool to be able to still use as well as backup with encryption on. :)

Completely agree with you that BES users need to have the LOCATE DEVICE feature!!!

PLEASE PUSH RIM!!!!!!!!!!

NO it will not wipe SD cards and that is one of 3 complaints I have.

The first being that the app can be deleted from device allowing your data to be vulnerable. RIM should implement a password to allow app to be deleted. The only other option is hide the app and hope thief doesn't know to look for it.

2nd complaint media card is not protected. I don't require a media card back up, but a media card wipe would be great. I wouldn't want my personal data such as family pics exposed.

3rd- not really a complaint but suggestion. Blackberry protect is a great idea and works well however if you were to lose your device and did not have immediate access to a pc you're out of luck. It would be a definite bonus to be able to call your device, enter a numeric code and LOCK your device remotely.

I just checked the web site. It says the phone and sd card will be wiped. I'm gonna give it a shot

just a heads up it looks like rogers may be blocking this feature. I have a friend that installed this on a 1gb plan and it was blocked out for the service

I had smartguard but I'm trying this one for now and so far... no complaints. Let's just see how it holds up in the long run but so far, so good. It basically has the same features as the other guys but for free! Free is always better in my opinion, lol.

Another point to keep in mind- this is a beta release so changes and improvements should be in the works.

This app is just what we need but it doesn't work on my blackberry since I use memory/content protection on my devices. If they can fix that then it would be a totally complete solution!

There are apps around that do exactly what this one does and more! C'mon Blackberry! I expected more. Question though: How does one back up the Password Keeper?

Note: BlackBerry Protect does not work on BIS devices using Redirector

I have a BIS device with BIS e-mail accounts configured and am using Redirector. I have never been on a BES with this device but could not install Protect at all, rather just received the BES device message:

"You cannot install BlackBerry Protect on your BlackBerry device. BlackBerry Protect is not compatible with devices that use a Blackberry Enterprise Server."

After looking for a solution I decided to follow instructions on KB article KB14202 to "Remove the IT policy using the loader.exe application" (meaning I wiped my device). After a restore from my backup earlier today I was able to install Protect and use it... but only until my first synch and now I am getting the same message.

If you have a suggestion or solution let me know please!!

So is it ready for me to trust over LookOut Mobile Security? I've always hated how that like shield takes up space always running on the App Switcher.

A possibly stupid question....
I lose my phone while BB protect is enabled. Before I can get to a computer to check where it is some guy finds it and starts to monkey with it. He knows what BB protect is and finds it on my phone and disables the "show this phone on BB protect website." Sure I can lock it and wipe it, but wouldn't be able to track it down, yes? That should be a website-only feature to prevent that from happening to anyone.
ok wasn't even a question....

i just downloaded this app and find it very nice indeed. I'll keep BuddyGuard on the phone for now, just in case, but the locator is spot on (accurate to 2.5 metres). My one quibble is minor: I wish the default map was Google Maps, not Bing, since Google Maps information is down to street level in Barbados, unlike Bing. Other than that, I am impressed.

Its a great app, but one major privacy issue I found, is if your using multiple devices, the app allows you to load any of your backups on any device..

I have 4 blackberry's, mine, my wife's, and 2 of my kids.. I set them all up on one blackberry protect account, so I can administer them, lock them, wipe them, locate them if one of the kids loose them.. All worked great, I can acess and locate all 4 online..but good thing I checked, my kids devices had the ability to restore the backup from MY device onto their own without my knowledge!!!

I had to setup individual accounts for each device and remember all 4 passwords...

I am amazed at how many people are worried that someone might delete the app or change settings... Do you guys not have security set to lock after x minutes?

Also, once more the app is unavailable to uk users... Typical.

Here's my petty moment for the day

In Blackberry News Feeds, it will automatically fill your email address in (if it's an account on your device) when you start typing it to log in to Blackberry ID. I know it's a one-time entry, but they coulda put that feature in this program too. Sloppy that not all of the RIM official apps behave the same way...

you don't need to pay 99$ to apple to get this same service anymore. Works on ipod touch too. You can send a message, lock , wipe and locate via gps, cell tower or wifi signal.

I thought the ipod locator would suck because it doesn't have gps, but well, i tested it in Venezuela and located my device 1 block away. Not bad at all

Just downloaded this today...really enjoying it so far. I travel all the time for work (but I still have to use my BB as my personal phone too), so this is a really nice thing to have in case something happens to my beloved BB during my travels. :-)

I have a privacy concern. Where is my data backed up to (too ?) and can RIM access my backed up data for their advertising needs? It's like my concern about Google Sync and all of the other "Cloud based" services. Who really owns the data once it's uploaded? And can a really good hacker get access to their Cloud?