How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Series: To Theme or Not to Theme?

By Adam Zeis on 22 Apr 2010 02:41 pm EDT
 CB Theme

This week we have a question that is plain and simple - do you use a 3rd party theme on your device? I used to be a huge fan of themes, and I was constantly trying out different ones to find one that best suited me. A few months back I was swapping OS versions so often that I just got tired of installing my apps again and tweaking things, so I just started to stick with the stock theme on my 9700. Loads of users try themes, swapping between different ones every day, or just sticking with a long-time favorite. So my question for you today is: Do you use a 3rd party theme? (one that isn't part of the device OS) Leave your vote in the poll and drop a comment telling us why you do or don't use a different theme.

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

Reader comments

How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Series: To Theme or Not to Theme?


No third party themes for me! I've tried several, but there is always some issue. Usually a text color isn't readable or the Media folder doesn't work correctly.

Use my own themes. I prefer certain icon layouts, color combinations, icons in general.

I get picky so there's always something about a carrier theme or someone elses themes that I don't like.

I use the Section 8 theme, 16 customizable icons, I rarely ever use my BB Icon button cause everything is on my home screen. Best theme thats out there!

I've downloaded plenty of third party themes for my 9700, but I haven't yet found one I like quite as much as the pre-loaded precision zen theme

I have one theme - an L shaped theme with hidden today and weather dock. Have used it for months and will continue to use it as it really helps with my productivity and use of the phone.

I have used Natemz themes since I first got my old 8900 and now on my 9700. his themes are some of the best i have tried so far. Check em out !

Yep, another guy who has used all of Natemz themes! Tried others, but they don't come even close to his.

He should work with Rim and make them stock, cause WTF, the ones that came with the Tour are ridiculously non userfriendly.

Just kind of got bored with them. I still look through the forums and app store now and then. Every few months I'll dl one and use it for a week or two but always go back to stock. Specially with Berry Weather wall paper feature now too. As long as I can see, that, the time and date on my home screen as well as any notifications I'm good to go. Normally when I do go for a theme it is minimal showing as much wallpaper as possible. These are great with the Berry Weather wall paper feature and quicklaunch.

I am a theme junkie. I prob change my theme 2 to 3 times a week. Some of them I get here, and some of them I make. I have just never been able to find the PERFECT theme that I could use forever that has everything I need. There are a couple that come close but nothing is just there yet.

But the theme builders on this site do a great job and keep me busy trying new things!

The stock theme is just downright boring and even then you only have access to 6 icons. I try to use my BB for everything and I also work in a business environment so I had to get this theme:

By far the best and I get access to all my applications through quicklaunch on the far right. Plus it makes the phone look ultra sleek, some people ask if I'm using some kind of prototype sometimes, lol

I use three themes: stock zen and then two I created, Simple L and Simple Plus. They allow more wallpaper to show and have a weather slot, and the colors are more subdued black and gray. Not a big fan of frilly themes

But so far all the themes I've run into either have icons I don't like, fonts I don't like, both of the above (MOST OF THEM) or cost too much.

I've always gone back to the stock themes after trying others after finding something goofy I just didn't like. I'm using the elle theme now, and have been for a couple months, this one might stick around. I have BerryWeather take over the wallpaper and assign the top left theme "zone" to weather (right under the BerryWeather image). Simple, clean, customizable, nothing silly.

I don't pay for themse with all of the quality free ones being created these days (I will donate to those who make great ones though).
Since I downloaded Section 8 I have been running that one 95% of the time. Perfect combo of function & form.

I have used a variety of themes and styles. For months, I have kept Carbon Fiber 8900(free). I love the way it looks with the TMO 8900's red number keys. Six icons with weather slot. I even bought a red battery cover making a great looking Berry!

I've tried a couple different themes on my Storm. I liked the variety, but I always ran into issues with memory leaks. I got tired of pulling my battery every day to free up space so I went back to the stock theme.

I love to try all different types of themes. I have probably tried over 100 between free and paid. Regardless of paid or free I have never found a theme that doesn't leak application memory. The only two I've found that are minimal are "Rock King" from Cocky Culture and "Grunge" from Elecite.

i love custom themes due to more icons in the home screen rather than pressing BB menu button to access the other icons.

I agree with BazzBro, i used to be a theme junky, always changing and looking for the best.
Section 8 rocks...and it was free!

In the past I used a GREAT third party theme and LOVED it. After I upgraded my OS from 4.6 to 5.0 I started having instant resets...
From ALL of the posts I've read on here; the culprit could have been memory leaks causes by my themes. So; I got rid of them and Wah more resets.

For now; I'm sticking with the stock themes. I would PAY for them to create a TODAY theme as part of the stock ones available.

I use a remix precision Zen as my theme. Mainly cause I love the original look but needed a weather slot :P

I can't stick with the stock theme, I just hate regular icons. I try theme after theme and am never happy, but I always keep looking.

I like having a weather slot and more than 5 icons on my home screen, and I hate the stock themes huge bulky home screen banner.
So custom themes are the only way for me.

Bold 9700 with Reverie doesn't get any better. Also use the High Definition Widescreen from time to time which I also love. Have a bunch more I bought or downloaded for free, but those are the main 2

I've tried many themes and have finally landed on Natemz's BlackBerry Pro. V3 on my 8900. Ever since that came out I knew I finally found a theme that I could live with and use to its fullest. Then I upgraded to the 9700 and upgraded to V4. I tried V5 and don't really feel right with that theme.

Haven't looked back since I found BB Pro. Big thanks to Natemz.

I have installed hundreds of different themes and ALWAYS ALWAYS come back to the stock theme. It just WORKS!

Love the theme. Do not like the 'stock' icons for the applications but love the hidden dock and the 'feel' of the theme.
Have tried other third party themes - even bought a couple - but always came back to 3G which has been there for a LONG time now!

I tried many different themes but none seemed to work as well as the default. Most slowed the phone down too much. However I change my wallpaper a few times a week.

608 to 613? Lol WOW.
I didn't use them before, but I found a really slick looking leopard theme for free here on crackberry.

I use the GlowStick Custom L Today version for the Storm. I like having something different. Most of my friends have BlackBerry devices and I don't want to just blend in. Plus I prefer themes with L shaped layouts anyway. I guess it's a throwback to when I had a Pearl.

I change themes about once a month or so. Currently using a palm pre look-a-like. Also trying to leanr how to make my own theme. Work and school makes that a slow process. I change wallpaper a lot though.

I have 3 custom themes built around the default Zen theme that comes on the Storm. I edited backgrounds with photos for each screen, fonts, colors and layouts.

I've tried many themes in the past but always revert back to BlackBerry's default themes. They just work better and third party themes use up memory.

I've tried several themes. My favorite one is the Zen + Weather + Hidden today for my 9700, but I always go back to the stock because my device seems to run the best that way!

BoldBerry is perhaps the oldest Storm theme i've used. It was my first purchase because I love the glow icons. Sure it doesn't do it for all of the icons, but the dial pad isn't cut off like most premium themes. That's a plus for me! It always looked professional!

LeatherBerry is an awesome theme too but the blue circle glow highlight sometimes hides behind icons so I can't see which icon I'm selecting.

By far the best new theme that I've kept for more than a month on my Storm2 has been BeDroid! I suffer from Droid envy but Droids aren't BBs. This rocking theme mimics my brother's Droid almost exactly with hardly any lag! I love it!

If Storm 3G would be updated to work on 5.0 I'd get that one back too! Its the best, most professional free theme I ever used!

So yes, I keep themes on my phone to keep looking new(er)! Currently, I got BeDroid on my Storm2, Curve 8330, Bold 9700 and 8830. (No, I don't use them all at once just two at a time ;) )

i just think most of them look tacky and make ur blackberry lose its coolness. if i do use a theme it is always just a different coloured zen instead of the standard blue. and if i do find a theme that doesnt look tacky it just doent feel like a blackberry anymore. PRECISION ZEN ALL THE WAY :D

Like another user posted earlier, there's always something that doesn't work well on custom themes. Plus, I don't care for eye candy. I want a device that WORKS!

I can't use anything but my own custom themes. I'll find something I don't like and I'll constantly be tweaking until it's perfect (for me).

BoldBerry is perhaps the oldest Storm theme i've used. It was my first purchase bcause I love the glow icons. Sure it doesn't do it for all of the icons, but the dial pad isn't cut off like most premium themes. That's a plus for me! It always looked professional!

LeatherBerry is an awesome theme too but the blue circle glow highlight sometimes hides behind icons so I can't see which icon I'm selecting.

By far the best new theme that I've kept for more than a month on my Storm2 has been BeDroid! I suffer from Droid even but Droids aren't BBs. This rocking theme mimics my brother's Droid almost exactly with hardly any lag! I love it!

If Storm 3G would be updated to work on 5.0 I'd get that one back too! Its the best, most professional free theme I ever used!

So yes, I keep themes on my phone to keep looking new(er)! Currently, I got BeDroid on my Storm2, Curve 8330, Bold 9700 and 8830. (No, I don't use them all at once just two at a time ;) )

I use the go green theme since I saw it on CB today so far i like because of the long dock which you can move around and have more apps down there. Also the green background in the main menu is more interesting than just the blue ( nothing against the native os skin)

I like themes, but on my Storm 9530 custom themes always leak memory...some more than others. I don't know why, but today I installed Padgoi's new OS6 theme and my memory has only dropped 0.2mb. This is the most stable them I've used. Themes are a great way to give your phone a different feel.

Jax created a great free theme (Mini Border) that I've been using throughout all the hybrids since 4.7 and it still works perfectly! He even colorized it for my own personal taste. It's great if you like to see your wallpapers using wallpaper changer.

I've been using the CB2 crackberry theme from Z Man Designs ever since CB posted it. Now I use the "updated" version. It's awesome!! By far the best one I've tried...and it's free!!

Theme junkie here as well! Currently rocking Natemz's Pro V5 and Hedone's Explicit. I like mostly free themes, but I will shell out a coupla bucks for something wild or different. Also props to Foppa and Al3azim!!!

The 3G theme from RedZapper is far and away my favorite theme on my Bold(9000 & 9700). Though I prefer the 'classic' version on the 9700. It's the only one I use now. Very clean look, no memory drain, no lag. I use my own wallpaper, but the display bar across the top is what does it for me.

I am currently using Real_Hero_97 theme on my Bold 9700 (from Crackberry store). It is wonderful, no lag, and I use it with different wallpapers. ( I have to admit I secretly like the Sense ui!) I also use the Cipher SideBar Xtreme theme, which is also wonderful.

I was never a fan of third party themes until I got my 8900. It only came with 2 themes! I found that I really missed my Today theme from my Curve 8310 . Having my appointments on the main screen was so convenient. I ended up buying the In The Know theme which I LOVE. I have not had any problems with it and I highly recommend it.

I have only had my BB for a little over a month, but I found that the stock theme wasn't to my liking. I have downloaded and tried several, but so far the only ones that have stood up to my standards are themes created by Foppa and Natemz. I like a very minimalistic look, on both my BB and my home PC. I dont like icons everywhere; to me that looks cluttered.

I used to never use themes but I have one on my 9700 right now that I feel like I will keep until AT&T releases an official OS upgrade

I have tried so many themes onto my device but have found that even the smallest theme (KB/MB usage) still lag terribly...
but it is okay because the original theme on my device is pleasant

I had a third party theme on my 9700 for a few days, but it came with its own set of glitches. The main one being my Facebook for BlackBerry app would NOT let me post ANYTHING on anyone's walls. Ever. There was always an error message and no post. Once I went back to the stock theme, all was well.

i do not use 3rd party themes cause of bugs and I feel as like no one will be as clean and as efficient as RIM in making software for themselves.

for a theme, but although I appreciate the efforts, my 8330 has memory leak when using themes.
I haven't had to do a BP or use quickpull in two weeks, yet other apps are installed as with my device before the replacement.

they make my device more functional and it keeps things fresh. The icons on the stock theme are not as asthetically pleasing either.

I am running a theme on my Tour right now, but it's the default Precision Zen without the dark bars above and below :)I'm with a lot of the commenters that have said that they DL a theme and delete it to go back to to the original.

I've been using the AppleBerry theme for over a year now, first on my Storm 1 and now my Storm 2 (also works on multiple other BBs). I love this theme, it offers exactly what I want: Clean home screen to enjoy my wallpaper, with one dedicated dock for weather and four user customizable icons at the bottom: four for apps and 1 that is a "stack" which, when pressed, reveals five more, user customizable apps. Clean, neat, VERY professional, not a memory hog and has never given me trouble. Highly recommended, get it in the app store.

i use the imagining theme by MMMOOO from the App World, its pretty much the same thing as the precision stock theme, except it has a better background (in my opinion) and the calendar tab on the home screen shows your next 5 upcoming events. also the icons bounce when you roll over them in the home screen, kinda neat.

I use foppa 17 with quicklaunch and call from homescreen off I can access everything I need and have my wallpaper full size. I try new ones but always go back to that one.

I like themes but don't want to pay $7 just to have a pretty picture on my phone. And they are never exactly the what I want to pay that much. So my new thing is wallpaper, free wallpaper.

I have been rocking a 8330m for a while now waiting on the BOLD 9650! The theme I have on my 8330m is Senseberry droid (rock+weatherslot) by CYPER. I have been using this theme for about 3 months and love it! Its the best free theme available on crackberry!! I say switch it up and change ur bb around you won't get bored with it!

Why waste precious app memory by installing themes...i've tried a handful, but never stick with them for more than a of the reasons I bought a BB in the first place was what I saw on the stock theme in the first place.

I haven't found a need to download a theme. I really like the way my Tour looks. It isn't important to me to have a special theme whatever comes with the device is fine with me.

I've tried a couple of different themes, but there has always been something about them that is a deal-breaker, such as fonts too small, bog down phone, etc. So, I now stick with the default theme, which I find works best for me. However, I use the premium WeatherBerry active wallpaper feature (this weekend you can get the premium version of WeatherBerry from CrackBerry temporarily on sale for $6.99 instead of the regular $9.99). This makes my homescreen so very useful, great looking, and informative. It's so awesome that my iPhone & Android toting friends envy it.

The 3rd party them I always seem to fall back to is 3G by Redzapper, I am always looking for a new one but that's the one always on my Tour.

I was getting a little tired of looking at the same thing over and over again, so I changed it up with a few themes. Heck, I don't even know the name of the one I'm using now, but I love it. Hidden icons, wallpaper friendly (with a sweet wallpaper pic IMA), yeah, it rocks.

I do wish that there were a button that would let you bring up a competent Today screen, not just a short version. I had one on the iPhone that came on when I locked the iPhone, I REALLY wish that there was a theme out there that would let me do that!

I have downloaded a bunch of free themes and even purchased a few but I end up deleting them within a few days. There always seems to be some kind of issue, either the font in the menu screen is to small, memory leaks, or not very responsive. So for me Precision Zen is the way to go, and with Quicklaunch and BeWeather I have it customized and set up just the way I like it. I still like to browse the theme forums once and awhile to see if there might be something I'd like to try.

there are lots of themes I'd love to use... but with the ridiculous memory limits on the blackberry, I can't... I can't even keep apps I regularly use on the phone - I have to delete and re-download as I need to use them - except for the several times a day used apps (and yes, I do battery pulls - several a day).

my vote Yes made it 3,044 yes and 3,044 no o.O

That is one close race!

I use @michaelwpg's custom theme for my 8530, and i LOVE IT

I personally rock third party themes. I buy them and use the free ones. My favorite designer right now is Natemz. Currently using ProV5.

If custom themes didn't slow down the phone so much, I'd use any theme by Nate. His stuff rocks, but with this shitty Tour OS, I need all the memory I can get.

I have over 15 themes downloaded on my Tour..I usually change themes 3-4 times a week..I'm constantly looking for new themes to try...I'm addicted

I used to switch themes constantly but with there being no
way to save the settings globally I'd have to set up each
theme the way I wished. This was a huge pain in the ass.

I now use Reverie HT (blank theme) and Real Icons from Calx

I never ever use the stock themes.

I love me some themes, love mixing it up. Function is #1 though and some themes just add so much more then stock! Love the precision icon themes the best though. I skin my PC as well.


I have 6 themes DL on my Storm2. I find the stock zen icons to be boring and much more favorable wallpaper home screens on my various theme selection (I use a wallpaper changer). The option to choose a different look adds vibrance to the visuals and makes mundane tasks less reduntant. Its almost as if your operating a different device day after day. Imagine turning on your T.V. and seeing Obama"s face on every channel! If it was your phone, you'd throw it right into the wall!

Right now I'm trying out a couple of themes, but there is a lot to be said for learning to live with just one of the basic themes.

I used to download and try a lot of themes--i have downloaded may two dozen for my 9700, but I generally return to the default AT&T Zen theme because it simply works and doesn't slow my phone down. If you don't dial from the home screen the hotkeys cover almost everything you want to do with a blackberry. Readability is the primary issue for me; a lot of themes just don't work well for bright sunlight and weak eyes.

Themes on the Storms seem to suck. On my 9530, themes all cause huge memory leak, slow scrolling, slow transitions, and overall poor performance. On the 9550, it's not nearly as bad, but still noticeable. Enough to bother me. I've yet to find a good solid theme that doesn't make me want to throw my Storm.

Yes 50% (4,225 votes)
No 50% (4,225 votes)
Total Votes: 8,450

Wow, exactly 50%. Crazy.

I use the stock Zen theme. I just like the look of it. The biggest thing for me are the icons, and I like the stock ones. If I could find a third party that used the 9550 icons with the right functionality I would pick it up in a heartbeat. unfortunately there is always some little difference (icons not highlighted the same way, slightly different folder design, etc.) that does not appeal to me. I really don't like having to spend time trying to figure out what somebody else thinks a message/email/browser/options icon should look like every time I want to try a new interface.
That being said, I think it's great that it's an option and I'm stoked that there are so many developers out there making cool themes. (and it would be nice to try certain themes before you buy 'em.)

I only use 3rd party themes, I can't stand precision icons, it just doesn't go well with 3rd party apps, or even native apps for crying out loud.

Use one I made so the clock is easier to read (for me) and weather slot. I have tried several 3rd party developers liked a few but found was easy enough to do yourself to get only what you use.

I originally started using the Precision 5.0 replica theme to freshen up my 8310. A friend lost her lock icon with the OS upgrade on her 8530 and I recommended the theme. I am about to get the bold (or switch to verizon, noy sure yet) and will likely use the theme on the new phone to keep the locking icon.

If RIM would make a default theme that included a slot for weather and gave your wallpaper more room to be seen, then yes I would use the default theme. Until then, 3rd party themes work fine for me.

I just didn't like the stock themes on my 8310 so after MUCH seaching I finally found one that was good for me. "Brushed Metal Storm" not sure of the great person who developed it because I've been running it for so long but big thanks to that person! Weather slot & 8 spots across the bottom but they're small so they don't take up a lot of space. I don't like a lot of "crazyness" when it comes to my themes so this one is great, nice & clean & looks good with my Titanium Curve.

I want to know at a glance what is on my schedule for the day. I use a calendar zen theme from BerryGoodThemes and it shows the "next 6" scheduled appointments and/or tasks. It keeps me on track throughout the day.

i got in to developing themes as i was so bored with the stock theme!

i like to change my theme probably daily!!
which is why i have made so many and keep making them!!

but gave up and went back to the stock themes. I hate having to change folders and move programs when I swap. when I get bored.I swap pictures on the wallpaper every month or two

I think new themes for the Blackberry are like new paint for a home. While it's the same device, it gives it a bright new look! I particularly like to use the ones where the designer has gone way out on the theme, like those of Elicite and Calx.

And while many say it takes up too much memory, I say give up one less application and get the theme. While I love my Blackberry, I think they (RIM) could have been much more creative when it came to basic themes.

Tried a few themes a while back but the stock Today Theme runs well, does everything I need and there are no conflicts that crash my OS now.

I stick with the stock theme on my Bold 9000. I found to many third party themes that had various problems and just got tired of dealing with them.

I really like a lot of the themes out there. Particularly the free ones. A good theme can definitely make my BB more user-friendly, but I can't handle the 10mb of memory loss and invariably, something ends up slowing down or freezing. 'Tis a shame.

I try new themes now and then, but for performance sake, I run stock themes 99% of the time. I'm obsessed with free memory.

It's ANNOYING to have to rearrange everything the way you need it again... I'm currently sick of the theme I have but don't want to change it because it just takes forever to get set up again...

ah well.. beggers can't be choosers i guess..

I used to have 3-4 themes I would rotate through, but when OS 5.0 came out ad the issues with themes popped up I took some time off. Once I found the Today setting for the homescreen on my storm, the issue was dead.

Some times I consider going back to themes, but is it really worth it?

My first few months as a Blackberry owner I used themes all the time. Having a Storm, the big touchscreen just screamed out for a variety of cool custom themes (many of which brought great new features or usability shortcuts). My favorite themes were definitely those from natemz. But for the last couple of months I've stuck with the stock theme modified to include a Hidden Today feature and a weather icon up top. In the end this has tended to have the least impact on memory/performance and has just over time been the cleanest and easiest to use.

DroidSlide is the best theme I have found so far. 16 Icons on the bottom SLIDING dock, I never use the BB button. My only concern with it is that sometimes texts will become "stuck" on the today screen, but a quickpull and it's all better again. I have used it for over a month now, and I can't find anything that can hold a candle to it. Best theme yet!

I tried about a 1/2 dozen themes when I got my 9700, they either ran very slow and or they caused my 9700 to crash. One theme resulted in restoring to factory settings! No thanks! I'll stick with custom wallpaper and that's it.

I make my own, I used to download tons of themes, but they were never quite what I wanted. I made a bunch at first, but I mostly use the same one all the time. Finally got the icons and the set up perfect. I do change my background wallpaper quite a bit, though.

I've downloaded many themes and would switch them up frequently until I found Real Hero by BT Designs. Sure it cost some $$$ but I love the big clock and runs better for me than some of the other Hero types. I've stuck with this one for quite a while.

I have a storm 2 & I've tried many different themes in my cell. The one I liked the most was Azuric by WJD Designs. This theme is amazing with its visuals & system organization. Plus I have berry weather wallpaper for the home screen but was able to maintain the original wallpaper of the theme at the same time.

I was surprised at the poll I have seen a lot of themes. No themes are as customize able or as sleek looking as my 9700s stock look. The ninja theme looks cool. But they all look choppy except for my stock theme.

I wouldn't pay for a theme on a bet.
But RIM/T-Mobile providing a grand total of TWO pre-installs? Both of which are lame? Pathetic.

I do use third party themes but the majority are free from Blackberry App World. Two of the most favority are Imagining Theme by MMMOO and the other is one that gives a wide screen view -- can't remember where I got that one -- I think it was a free download from BPlay.

Third party themes are a must have for me (but no pay ones unless a free trial is up) The Only ones i use are By Natemz like his Blak Theme the one im on Currently is BB Pro v7, and like all his others it is smooth n sleek with no bugs that i can tell and no lagging.He just keeps outdoing himself =)rockin the purple one right now

I have found plenty of themes to be nice, but they have always seemed to have slown down my storm. That's why I went back to factory.

I use different themes on my device. I like the option of interchanging themes because I like different themes other than the Blackberry default theme.

I normal use the theme's that come with my BB. But the crackberry theme used it the article is cool where can I get one.