Control your BlackBerry 10 device remotely with Golden Retriever

By Alicia Erlich on 14 Apr 2014 12:45 pm EDT

When it comes to utility applications on my BlackBerry I tend to be critical and picky. However, there are times where something unique comes along where I just have to take a look. In this case the ‘Built for BlackBerry’ application in question is Golden Retriever for BlackBerry 10. What makes this stand out amongst the crowd is that it truly does offer capabilities rare to the platform. This headless application allows you to remotely control your BlackBerry device using commands sent via email.

Now as the developer explains this comes in handy if you loan your handheld to a friend or family member or if you lose or misplace it. In these instances, you can still fetch the information you seek from your BlackBerry without having it nearby.

Using the application is quite easy. Once installed you simply setup a password for the application and select the email account you wish to monitor. To access the list of commands simply swipe down from the top and tap on help. After this is complete you can log into one of your email accounts from your laptop and all you have to do is send yourself an email with “Golden” (without quotes) in the Subject and your command in the body of the message. Golden Retriever monitors your selected inbox for the commands and after it is received will email you back a response with the desired information.

For example, if you would like to know the battery status on your device, you would send an email with Battery in the message body. A response will come back with the battery level and temperature. Other items you can fetch via email is a query for calendar events that match a particular keyword (items are returned as downloadable text files), contact details from the address book, turn on the flash for a specified time, convey the current location of the device, view all unread SMS messages, and even retrieve one or more files from the device’s file system or media card.

One final interesting, yet spooky, command is that you can remotely turn on the microphone, record audio for a user defined duration, and have it sent back to you. For a full list of commands a message sent with “Help” in the body will return a list of all available command with examples.

In terms of security, the developer outlines all app permissions and an explanation for each one can be found as part of the description in BlackBerry World. For anyone who is concerned you can head on over and have a look.

Not only is the interface is easy to navigate but the application and commands are not that difficult to use or remember. As an added security measure, there is a whitelist tab to restrict which email addresses the application will accept commands from. All you have to do is add a contact and only commands sent by that address are accepted. The only issue I discovered is that you should try to avoid sending commands from the same email as the one you are monitoring. This may cause an issue where commands are not received or deleted properly and duplicate email requests.

The Good
  • Easy to use UI
  • Remotely control your BlackBerry anywhere via email commands
  • Security measures to prevent unknown persons from retrieving your data
  • Built-in bug reporting features - Developer is responsive to issues and new feature requests
  • Grab important files, contact details, and calendar entries no matter where you are
The Bad
  • Known bug on 10.2.1 where received commands are not deleted properly
  • Issue when sending commands from the same account
The Bottom Line

For me this would come in handy if I inadvertently left my BlackBerry at home or somewhere else and needed to access certain files or information throughout the day or find where it was. This is a useful application in those circumstances or in any event where you do not always have access to your device. Golden Retriever supports all BlackBerry 10 handhelds and is $3.99 to purchase.

More information/Purchase Golden Retriever

Reader comments

Control your BlackBerry 10 device remotely with Golden Retriever


Does it mean that you may send the request from any email address and application will reply? If I send you the special email I will know all the information?

Posted via CB10

I was thinking the same thing. Would other people with this app ( able to send request email and get your information?

Posted via CB10

Hi there. You can select exactly which email addresses to whitelist (the ones you would like to allow commands from). Or you can open up your device to just anybody. The choice is yours and can be set.

Posted via CB10

Just a security-minded suggestion, but you might want to require a white list by default, and require user to manually decline having a white list. (And have a popup warning if you turn off white list with OK & Cancel.)

Making it an overt action might save you any liability if someone has info sent to a third party they didn't want to receive it.

Posted via CB10 from my Z30

Great idea! Thanks! I just filed a bug report for it to include in a future update. If you have any more suggestions or feature requests keep them coming.

Posted via CB10

Yes the biggest suggestion is bring down the price. Gain early adopters rather than getting just a few people buying it - that way you'll stay motivated to offer timely updates and features.

Posted via CB10

Could you do something like having to have a key word in the body of the email along with the command?
So that the keyword is actually required in each email before the command is actioned...?
Just a thought

The recording via microphone indeed sounds spooky. Imagine the possibilities for NSA...

Posted via CB10

What about email spoofing?

What happens if the email address has been spoofed, will it execute anyway, or what are the security measures this app has built in?

Can a random spammer now... I don't have to finish this sentence, right?

Thanks for clarification from the dev.

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

Yes this is why there is the extra layer of subject password. By default all commands must begin with "golden" in the subject line or they are ignored. This keyword is however customizable, so anyone can set any password they wish instead of the default "golden"

Posted via CB10

Thank you very much, Alicia! Great article and this sounds like an app I've been looking for.
BTW, I share your scrutiny (especially since I find deleted apps still leave behind data somewhere filling up my free space slowly over time).

Does the app have to be open for it to work? Or can the app not be open in the active frame and still work?

Posted via CB10

Hi. The app is headless. If you have 10.2.1 you should be able to use it without keeping the app open.

Posted via CB10

Yes. We are leaving these open for some future bonus commands that we might want to support in the future.

Posted via CB10

We don't know yet :) when we have something truly worth creating the in app purchase for we will add it in.

Posted via CB10

Usually about 30 seconds depending on the command, but this is dependent on the speed of the email provider that you use. It is also dependent on the command itself. For example if you specify it to record audio for 1 minute, then you are looking at 1 minute for the recording + the time it takes to receive the email + time it takes to upload and attach the audio to the email.

Posted via CB10

Can't get the battery nor location to reply to me. Works with contact or calendar. I am on latest version of OS on Z30.

Very promising app. Let's hope the developer wants to keep improving it.

Hi, if you are having issues please do send us an email to support @ so we can investigate and help you resolve it.

Posted via CB10

Can you send commands to change sound profiles (ie. make a silent phone suddenly loud so you can find it in the house?) or turn on/off the wifi radio?

Not yet but this is on the product roadmap and we will be including it in a future update.

Posted via CB10

No we have not included this because the feature does not seem to have any benefits. Since you are emailing the command to the device anyways it seems like the sender already has access to their email account. Can you provide the use case you want?

Posted via CB10

What about email address spoofing?

Can some random guy or bot execute commands on the phone just by sending out "Golden" to random emails addresses?

Sure he won't be able to get the return email, if he cannot intercept the password (we assume SSL - oh no! - is used and has been patched).

Thanks for clarifying...

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

Maybe the on/off of microphone feature can be used for the camera too? Like it would suddenly record the video (but in black screen or close screen) mode or suddenly take a snapshot using the camera. thats A feature I would really want

Question, when you emailed the email to record the audio, it would send the audio recording to the email you used to email right? So it means the phone shoukd be connected to the internet always? And lastly, all the recording, would it be saved internally in the cellphone?


Posted via CB10

Hi, yes the video recording and camera feature requests are something we have planned and are hoping to be able to scope out properly in a future update.

As for your question on the microphone then yes it sends the audio back to the email that sent the command. It currently does leave the recording on the device though, I just created a bug report for this for us to resolve it in a future update. Thanks for the suggestion!

Posted via CB10


That's 2 coffees for some or 1/2 a coffee for others.

It's chump change to compliment the $600 phone you're carrying (q5's excluded)

Impressive sounding app, these are the kind of high performance utility apps the BlackBerry 10 platform needs... will purchase later today

Posted via CB10

Or they could just extend BlackBerry Bridge to a machine to machine service between all BlackBerry 10 devices. So a person could remote control their BlackBerry with a BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

Golden retrieval has been around quite a while about time it gets featured at crackberry. I woukd like to see golden retrieval vs where's my phone by nemory, there are only these two similar kind of app available at BlackBerry world and it should a good compariosn

Posted via CB10

Wondering what would happen if my email was hacked? I've received spam from myself on an old email account. I wouldn't want someone gaining access to my phone via a security breach from another party.

Posted via my super-duper Z10

Yep this is a security concern. Although it is not foolproof the hacker would still need to get access to your golden retriever subject password. The app only processes commands that start with the password you set in the subject line (ie: golden)

Posted via CB10

Useless still love the old BlackBerry never shuts off
10 psw tries app is deleted waist of 2.99 plus tax unless this is incorpotated with pin and BlackBerry itself

Posted via CB10

You clearly don't understand this app. It's OK though if it's not for you.

Posted via CB10

Can it retrieve the BBM chat history? I've written several times for more than a year now to BB regarding BBM backup chat history without any result. BB Link is hopeless and so is the backup function on the device (it's on a contact by contact only and it doesn't give a time stamp either). Instead of spending their time on gimmicks they should concentrate on basic and core functions first. If your app does cover the above deficiencies, I'll definitely buy it. Thanks.

Hi, no we do not support retrieving BBM chat history due to there not being any API for 3rd party apps to be able to do this.

Great idea of an app. Just a suggestion.

How about if the subject line was : Golden
And the first word of the email is the password for the app? This way you need the app password in order for the commands to work?

I'd be scared of someone emailing me Golden in subject line and then a command.

Even with the white list this has potential problems for some ppl.

Posted via CB10

Hi, thanks for the suggestion. Actually the "golden" keyword in the subject is not static, so you can change it in the settings to whatever you want. So in this case it acts as a password as well which must be specified every single time.

Posted via CB10

Wow, very interesting and unique app. Great idea! I personally can't think what I'd use it for at this time, but I'm bookmarking the app in case I decide to purchase in the future.

Not secure enough. Not good enough (the system flow)

1. I can set an email with specific "from" as i want, then sent to the phone. What will happened? :p

2. If the thief wiped the phone. What will happened? :p (10 times wrong password will wiping the phone immediately).

IMHO, this app not recommended. If possible, please see also in, its similar app/terms.

CB10 on  Z10STL100-2/

1. Just because you lock the doors of your house doesn't stop people from breaking in.

2. Same as #1.

What are we, in grade school? This is a splendid app and I hope there's some meaningful smart questions being asked.

Posted via CB10

This app has a certain cool factor as in "oh dam, I left my phone at home,.....but I can do THIS!!!"
But as my Z10 is practically glued to my waist I would not really have a use for it

Like I factor is high :-)

Z10, Official Digicel