How to backup and restore your BlackBerry 10 device with BlackBerry Link

BlackBerry Link
By Adam Zeis on 20 Feb 2013 03:54 pm EST

It's a safe practice to backup your BlackBerry 10 device once in a while just in case you have some kind of issue and have to start fresh. Thankfully BlackBerry Link makes the process easy and you can easily backup to your Mac or PC with very little effort. BlackBerry Link isn't as robust as the old BlackBerry Desktop Software, so you do lose some advanced functions like selective backup and restore, but it still gets the job done. Keep reading to find out how to backup and restore your BlackBerry 10 device using BlackBerry Link.

Backup and Restore your BlackBerry 10 Device Using BlackBerry Link

Getting Started 

First, you obviously need to have BlackBerry Link installed on your computer. You can download the latest Windows and Mac versions here.

After you get BlackBerry Link installed, connect your device. If it's your first time using it, you'll have to sign in with your BlackBerry ID and run through a few setup screens.

BlackBerry Link 

After you're up and running, plug your device into your computer using a microUSB cable. Once the device is recognized in BlackBerry Link, click the gear icon on the right.

This is your device settings screen. There are various options here for sync and other items, but for now we're not concentrating on those. Check the box labeled Select data to include in your backup files. For most cases, just be sure all the boxes are checked. This ensures that all of your settings, media and applications are backed up from the device. If for some reason you don't want something backed up you can uncheck the appropriate box.

On the far left, you have three options - Back Up Now, Restore Data and Remove Device. The first two are self explanatory. Remove Device will remove the device from BlackBerry Link.

Backing Up  

To back up your device, click Back Up Now. The process will start automatically and you won't be able to use your device until it's finished. It does take a while so grab some coffee or head into the forums while you wait it out.

BlackBerry Link 

Once completed you'll see a confirmation dialog and you can then disconnect your device and carry on with your day!


Restoring your data works in the same manner as backing up (it does take quite a bit longer however). You may need to restore your device if you have a new one, reset a device to its factory settings or just botched up something along the way.

From the same settings panel, click the Restore Data button. The process will begin and you can see a progess screen in BlackBerry Link. Again, your device won't be usable while it does its thing, so take a break and come back when it's finished.

BlackBerry Link 

One of the downsides here is that you can no longer perform a selective restore or backup of certain databases as you could in the past. On the BlackBerry Desktop Software, you could backup or restore just your contacts or calendar info for example. On BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry Link that isn't an option, however most of this data should be in the cloud somewhere so it doesn't pose that much of an issue anymore. 

Download BlackBerry Link 

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

Reader comments

How to backup and restore your BlackBerry 10 device with BlackBerry Link


Great review thanks! I am in the US so again, no bb10 device yet. But i do have a playbook and i have read that this works with playbook 2.1. Looking forward to trying it out. Doing a full backup only will create very large files. Its worth it to keep saved game data though. Thanks again!

Adam, it would be a good idea to point out that a backup does everything and can be into the multi gigabyte range if you have loads onboard your phone.

I'm not seeing a way to backup/restore individual apps/games (and their settings). Link needs to show apps installed too, with the ability to selectively backup/restore. I haven't tried backing up my PlayBook with Link yet, but there were often issues doing so with the Desktop Manager app. It'd usually take forever and then crap out at the end. Usually it had to do with some sideloaded Android app or something. Having the ability to selectively choose what to backup/restore would help troubleshoot such issues and allow you isolate the problem.

I just updated BlackBerry Link on my PC & got excited when it told me there was a software upgrade available for my Z10. Pressing the install button in anticipation, it loaded in the new software, but alas only to find out at the end that it loaded in exactly the same version BB10 OS I had before, namely 10.09.348! Ain't technology great! Hehe!

That update was likely just a small 1-10 megabyte update so not worth a version change. I have had an 8 meg and a 1 meg update on mine (in the UK)

Hey Adam,

I'm in Canada and picked up the Z10 on the day of release...I am STILL unable to perform a backup using Link - I keep getting an error that says "Backup did not complete" and "There could have been a problem with the device or connection during the backup. Verify that the device is turned on and connected." ... This isn't my first time backing up a phone, and yes, its on and connected hah.. I've read a bunch of threads and people suggest trying "Airplane Mode" etc..I've tried them all..what could be the problem preventing me from performing a Backup?!?

Same problem here. And when I click "Select data to include in your backup files" I get a "No data available for backup" message.

Ditto. I've never been able to successfully backup my phone. It's not a big deal because there's other ways to do media sync, but Link just flat doesn't seem to work. I've read those same threads to no avail, and it's not possible to sync media with Link, either.

Oddly, it has no trouble backing up my PlayBook.

I really get the feel that, between the lack of functionality, glitchiness and such, that Link wasn't really ready for prime-time.

Hey, I had the same problem.
but I found another thread that said to delete the apps 'PC recipe box' and/or 'N4BB'
I deleted both, and actually deleted from MyAppWorld too.
now my backup works perfectly

I easily have 50+ games/apps installed, so how would I know which to delete? Anyone know if there are some log files I can check that may shed some light on the problem app(s) or the problem in general?

Having the same problem as Mark. I've been trying all that stuff that is beiing written on the forum... But no luck. Nothing works.... Even tried on 3 different computer/os. Fresh install on two of them.

Next step is to security wipe the phone and see if it can be backed up.

Adam - your throw-away comment that "...most of this data should be in the cloud somewhere so it doesn't pose that much of an issue anymore..." is typically-presumptuous of most contemporary tech-writers. In fact, I am one of those individuals who does NOT want my data sucked into another marketing guy's cloud for a variety or reasons both personal and commercial. The fact that Blackberry's Desktop sync access seems to be the ONLY device/OS that will allow me to control my own data is precisely WHY I have not flocked heretofore like a lemming to iOS, Android or even Windows Phone; (...amazingly, even WP8 will not allow Outlook-Desktop Sync with their phones!!!???). I'm saddened that BB-Link is not fully-featured, but at least consoled by the fact that there is at least one direct Desktop-Outlook connection available to a concerned professional. Regardless of my preferences and opinions, thanks for the helpful review!

Pity about the loss of granular backup/restore. I hope that returns to Link at some point. What a crazy thing to have to restore the entire device just because you accidentally deleted one app or a file.

Also - what is with this requirement to login to Blackberry ID? One of the reasons some people like this sort of backup is that it is "local only" and as such does not risk sending info somewhere without the knowledge or consent of the device owner. I'd like to know what functionality Blackberry ID provides here, because based on my knowledge of what this utility does, I can't figure out why it would be necessary other than for Blackberry to snoop on what and how and when you backup or sync your devices or data.

Lastly - you missed one of the nicer features of Link, as I understand it: the ability to choose either USB, WiFi or Bluetooth methods as the communication link for backup/sync.

Omnitech, how do I set the options for how to communicate for backup/sync through USB, WiFi or BT?

I'm trying to backup my Z10 so I can install 10.2 but it keeps telling me that I cannot backup with WiFi connected on my device. Thank you!

Omnitech, how do I set the options for how to communicate for backup/sync through USB, WiFi or BT?

I'm trying to backup my Z10 so I can install 10.2 but it keeps telling me that I cannot backup with WiFi connected on my device. Thank you!

Also, I turned off a wifi connection setting in BB Link and now my device isn't read at all. Don't tell me I have to reload the software for Link to recognize it..

For this loyal BB user to read more of the same problems missing features and error messages it is making the wait for the Q10 more and more of a challenge. Perhaps it would be wise to wait for the Q11 rather than picking up the Q10 the day it drops to replace my fully functional 9900. Then again there is no date announced for the 10 to become available from AT&T.

Gotta admit LINK is a useless piece of technology. Done everything everyone has suggested but the system will not back up. It looks like it is about to as the popup screen appears on my device but then it times out. After several reinstalls I am now getting device driver software was not properly installed and a DLL RIM usbdri file don't load correctly. Going from bad to worse!!!!!! Really inexcusable craftsmanship. Fracked up a great desktop software for this crap. RIM is losing my support. Who wants a Z10???

Maybe those having issues need to reinstall windows clean. That usually is the cause for issues in backing up and restoring.

Yea that is what I want to do in order to backup a device. Grabbed a fresh work machine, fresh install and link, still no backup.

hi all , I just upgraded the os system of my bb10. I did it by removing the simcard inside my phone. before doing so I did sure backed-up my all data.
after upgrading os when I want to restore the same date before I upgrade is cant do anymore since back-up and restore option is not even given by the blackberry link.
can anyone help me about this please ?

Is it possible to backup my Z10 only locally (laptop) and not use Blackberry ID? I don't want anything stored in the cloud, ever.

Link gives me NO backup option. I can select a location for the backup to be stored, but there is no way to configure a backup or to start one.

I tried the backup feature and got an error message telling me to disconnect/reconnect my device with a USB and click on Reconnect. It found my z10 by wifi first but I pluged in the USB too. It didn't respond. It says I should click on Reload which will reset my device to factory settings. Hmmm. Does that mean all the setting changes I made will be gone? I'm concerned that this isn't working right for my first backup. Help is appreciated

Dear mcinae, I encountered the same problem as you described. How did you solve the problem "click on Reload which will reset my device to factory settings"? Could you send email to me"", thanks a lot

i had the same problem. then tried factory reset, which appeared to take ages, then i tried with internet explorere on one machine, kept getting stuck, then used another machine (even changed usb cable) and managed to reset completely and after that did a restore. restore didnt restore any of the sideloaded apps. that was my experience. not happy at all :(

Yes, it restored everything for me. A few weeks ago I did a security wipe, hoping it would help with my battery issues. Everything was restored

Backup files are huge on BB 10 and it takes forever to do the backup. When will cloud backup be available? A little behind on that aren't we?

Hi, I am trying to do a Backup of my Q10 (first backup) before doing the software upgrade and I keep getting a message on Link to verify that i am signed into Blackberry ID on my device (which i am). This is becoming frustrating! rebooting both devices (Q10 and Windows) didnt work and i really dont want to do a wipe!

doesnt work if you have some app installed . Check on the problem in search. Some threads ID the apps that prevent a backup

Thanks, I have the issue that the "Back up Now" button on the left is greyed out and does not work. The other 3 buttons look like they are working, any ideas?

hi im having a problem with my restore. i took a backup and updated my software last night but when i go to restore my backup it starts and just fails a 0% for no apparent reason. Also installed the latest version of bb link and faced same outcome. Phone kept restarting when the restore failed and i unplugged it from my laptop. Phone looks to be ok but i need my data.. please help

Hi Karthik. Could you please tell me what exactly did you do?
I am facing the same issue i cannot restore my backup on my z10 using blackberry link
my phone restarts when the restore is at 0% and BB Link says device detached restore not complete.
Any help would be appreciated.

Hi i have a problem, my backup restore can only restore to the same z10, i have a new one and i tried it fail to restore, i tried switch device it also fail give me same error saying the device is not connected or not switch on. please help.....

Did u find a solution to your problem? I have similar issue with my BlackBerry Z10 where I cannot restore my previous backups. I get an error message saying the restore operation was cancelled every time I try to initiate the restore operation in BlackBerry Link. Any help would be appreciated.

When you do a restore, what exactly is being restored? Is it only the OS or the OS and all the apps that were backed up on that day?

I just got my Z10 back from factory repair and it will not restore. First message says there is no Personal Workspace and cannot restore. Second message is that the ID doesn't match and cannot restore. Any suggestions?

Hi sdpickett71, did you ever get this issue resolved? I have exactly the same warni9ng message when trying to reload a restore to my Z10.

Yes I did. It turned out that I had two BlackBerry IDs that were mixing things up. I had been told the IDs had been linked, but they didn't appear to be acting that way. Once I used the original ID I had the restore went without a hitch. 

How this helps. 

Thank you for the prompt reply. I had just figured that out by doing a security wipe and reloading my origional ID I could restore my data and contacts. I then created a new BlackBerry ID for my 2nd Z10, and made a new backup. I am surprised that there isn't a warning or something to stop you having he same ID on 2 BB10 devices.

No worries and I agree. You would think the device ID would flag there was already a BlackBerry ID associated with it.

Glad to hear you were able to get it sorted.

WARNING!!! BB Q10/Z10 Calendar updates that have been synced from your computer are NOT backed up during a "full" back up using BB Link!!!! I just got off the phone w/ BB support and for some reason, not only is Calendar data NOT backed up, but this DANGEROUS fact is NOT disclosed with any kind of warning when you back up your BB data using link. (I have now lost LOTS of critical calendar data and all notes within!!!) Dear Blackberry, PLEASE post a warning on BB Link, so others do not have to endure the massive time/money agony I have suffered this week.

I have connected my Z10 many times to the computer with blackberry link in operation but don't remember pressing backup. Had charging issues so mobile was given to the company and they have reset the software. Is there any chance I can get my email accounts and data back, does link do automatic backup?? Any chance of getting email accounts back??

I just got a Blackberry Classic, and downloaded Blackberry Link. When I try to backup data to my PC, I get the message "your device isn't associated with a Blackberry ID. On your device, sign in with your Blackberry ID to backup."
How do I do this?