BlackBerry Safety Tip: Use a password to protect your device

By Adam Zeis on 15 Jul 2011 11:56 am EDT
Egon Spangler
"All right, that's bad, okay. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon."

When it comes to your precious BlackBerry you certainly have loads of personal information you don't want to lose track of. From emails to contacts to personal notes, lots of users have very sensitive information on their device that needs to stay locked down. The best and easiest way to make sure things stay safe is to use a password. I know what you're thinking. "Adam, this is a no brainer, why bother with this post?". While plenty of you use a password without even thinking, there are even more that don't - but everyone should. Setting up a password is simple and can be the line between keeping your personal data safe and losing it. Keep reading and I'll show you how easy it is to protect your device with a simple password so you won't have to worry about any prying eyes from getting to your goods.

Password protecting your BlackBerry 

To setup a password on your BlackBerry you just need to follow a few simple steps. For OS 6 devices you can use Universal Search for password to go straight to the setup. OS 5 users can head to Options > Password.

Password Protect Your BlackBerry

From the Password screen, check the box next to Enable

Enter a password of your choosing (pick something you'll remember). You'll be asked to enter again to confirm. This can be something as simple as four digit number, or something more complex if you want to be super secure. 

Password Protect Your BlackBerry

Set the number of password attempts (default is 10). This is how many times a user will be able to try for the correct password before the device wipes and resets. Keep in mind the lower this number the fewer chances you'll have to screw up before your device gets wiped. 

Password Protect Your BlackBerry

Choose the amount of time before the device locks. This can be anywhere from one minute to an hour depending on your needs. I like to stick with 5 minutes. The time is from when your screen dims and your device is untouched. After the set amount of time the password lock will enable and you'll need to enter your password on the device. 

The password can also double up a a keyboard/device lock. I set my convenience key to Password Lock so I have one click to lock my device as I'm not a huge fan of the lock button and sometimes don't want to wait for the lock to initiate after the time I have set.

You can also choose to have the password initiate when holstering the device (if you use a holster or pouch) and require a password for installing apps. 

That's all there is to it. Using a password keeps all of your data safe and gives you peace of mind that no one can get at your info without your password. So don't be a dummy - password protect your device. 

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

Reader comments

BlackBerry Safety Tip: Use a password to protect your device


Device passwords are the first level and most basic step for protecting our private data on our phones. It is shocking to me to see how many people don't take this basic step especially considering the amount of private data about ourselves and friends kept on smartphones.

I wish there was the option to ONLY lock upon holstering. Around the house, I don't need to worry about locking and it actually is a pain when it does. When I leave the house, I am concerned. That is the time I would typically holster it and would love to have it lock.

Physical keyboard? Hitting K from the home screen locks it instantly (if you have a password set and have the homescreen set to shortcuts and not universal search). The lock button is more like a keyguard/screenlock.

I use iLock, it allows me to password protect any (literally) app that I wish individually. It also allows for me to set what time frame I want the set locks to be active (i.e. 9-5pm and etc). Furthermore, it allows you to set which days of the week you want the locks to activate. Locking the entire device with the included BB password protect drained my battery quicker with all the password inputs and the extra time my backlight would be on to regain access to my phone.

There is a nifty little app called deUnblock that acts as an interface with the native lock screen. It makes it easy to unlock your password protected phone without having to type in the password every time, while still providing the security you want. I never locked my phone until I came across this app.

hmmm, if you use a strong password the chances of it being unlocked is near impossible and if you are using blackberry protect you are then able to do a remote wipe. I am not a fan of having the device wipe itself after "x" number of failed attempts I would rather wipe it myself remotely if I wanted to go that far before finding it.

I'd love to have the lock icon on my screen, I'd use that all the time. However, when I tried the password feature on my BB, I HATED it. It wouldn't let me enable the password without enabling a timeout. So every hour and a half I'd find myself entering a password when I shouldn't have to.

Damn it Rim, if I don't want to have my phone auto-lock, then don't force me!

Anyone know of an app that will lock the phone when you run it but not make the phone auto-lock every hour?

Yeah I've got to say... there's nothing QUITE like waking up to your third party BB alarm at 6 in the morning and having to fumble out your complex password in less than 10 tries in order to disable the alarm...

I enabled my phone to go to password lock only when it's holstered, and I never for any reason set my phone down and walk away from it. In fact, the only times it's out of my hands is when it's in the charging pod while I sleep, or when I'm in the shower. This setup has trained me to always keep my phone holstered when I'm not directly using it, so it is locked. Otherwise I don't have to enter a password when shutting off my alarm. The only time any of this IS a pain is when I'm walking at the park and want to change to a different song or album in my music library (my own fault, I fail to take the time to make playlists.) If you can make such a set up part of your norm, you won't have to use 3rd party software, and your phone, in theory, should always be safe (in holster if not being used.)

If you want to skip to the next song in your playlist, you can hold down the "volume up" and "volume down" buttons to skip forward or backwards. This works even when the phone is locked and in the holster. Use the "mute" button on top the phone to pause playback.

I agree with the comments about the password reset.

If any of my kids manage to grab my phone while it is locked, and bash away at the password prompt, then I'm screwed.

As such, I just can't risk using it.

In fact, I'm going to use that feedback tool to let them know now!

After a number of password attempts, you are asked to enter the word "blackberry" before you are allowed to make another attempt at entering the password. This protects against this possibility.

Ah, cool.

I'll try this out in my spare BB and see how it goes.

If that's the case then I'll definitely be using that password protect option.

Exactly how secure password protecting the homescreen when I have read about police in certain states using devices to extract data off phones( Iphone, Android, and incluuding Blackberries)?

I have found that the simple Keyboard Lock is too easy to accidentally unlock (like when I'm at work, and when I'm not on break my phone is in my pocket). So, I have the Password Toggle set on my Launch applications. When at work, I Password Protect; when at home, I toggle it and voila! no more Password. (I work really weird hours, so applications with a handy "you can set M-F" option don't work well for me.)

Can I not use the top lock button to initialize the lock? I want to be able to lock my phone as soon as i put it down rather than waiting for it to lock and I like the only convenience key on the side of my torch for the camera...

i like pattern lock.. the icon sits on the home screen. very easy to set up. one touch locks it immediatly, not waiting or fumbling. unlocks just as fast.

That's all well and good, but I don't need a phone if every time I go to look at it I have to type in a password. That is f'in ridiculous. You should be able to only lock it when you want to, not every time it dims, is holstered,etc. That is unacceptable and not worth having a phone that is a job rather than a convenience and social tool. I see the need, but question the way it is done.

What's so stupid is that if someone steals your phone, they just enter the password wrong until it wipes and then it's a brand new phone for them. The password is lost during the wipe.

Ummmm... Yeah. Nevermind the actual phone.. The data on my BB is worth 10 times more.. And once I report it stolen to VZW,, It will be a brand new BRICK for the thief.

Doesnt everyone put BB Protect on their BB's now?
Why go through Vzw abd trust them when you can just do it yourself now?