How to get your BlackBerry 10 smartphone to read BBM messages to you

BBM car
By James Richardson on 26 Feb 2014 05:59 am EST

We've had voice services built into BlackBerry 10 since day one, although they are quite limited in comparison to the likes of other mobile platforms. In fact, using voice services when I'm in the car is something I very rarely do as for emails and SMS I use a third party app - SafeDrive

However, if you do get a BBM whist you are driving and you don't want to take your eyes of the road, your BlackBerry can read out the message for you and even allow you to reply - all by voice to text. Most Bluetooth headsets will allow for a 'long hold' of the main button to activate the voice services on BlackBerry 10 - so it can all be done legally. 

Here's how:

  • When you receive a BBM hold down the central media key to activate the voice services and say "Read last BBM message". 
  • The message will be read out and you will then be asked if you wish to reply.
  • Simply say "Reply" and you'll be prompted to speak your message. 
  • Once done the BlackBerry will ask if you wish to send the BBM or edit it. 

The same rules actually apply for emails and SMS, however it only works for unread messages. If you have no new messages and ask the BlackBerry to read the last one it will tell you that you have no unread messages. On a personal note I'd like to see this changed, so the BlackBerry can still read out a BBM even if you've already viewed it. Maybe in the future. 

Getting acquainted with using voice to text on BlackBerry 10 does take some getting used to, but for those times when you need to be looking at the road ahead and not at your phone it sure comes in handy. 




Nifty :).

Posted via CB10


Yeah it would be if I didn't have to allow my voice print to be sent to rim for it.


You're saying that because capturing your "voice print" will compromise your security or allow someone to build a robotic clone of you?

Posted via CB10


The former. I don't see why they need it / why I can't have an option to send it or not to. Also I have to give them information about my contacts etc. For me it's to much data I am giving away without enough assurances about how my data is used and who uses it.


As far as I understand things, for contacts the Voice Command uses a local Nuance module.
Whereas for all the rest, the processing power requires to use distant Nuance servers.

If you recall, VAD existed even in OS5, with nothing sent to Nuance servers. It worked without data.

Posted via CB10


That would be Nuance where you voice goes actually.


Voice to Z30:
Read last Crackberry post...

ॐ BBM channeling at C003910CB (Tiger Daddy)


Central media key?

Since 2010 


Where do I find the central media key? I lost mine

Posted via CB10


The small key between the volume up and down rocker

Posted via CB10


I didn't know this!

Loving My SexyBack Z10!


Wow, I did not know that.

Posted via CB10


Only for BBM messages?

Posted via CB10 - Q5

Halifax Guy

Did you read the article?

Posted via CB10


No sms and email (unread)

But this is very neat , thanks didn't know this

Posted from my awesome HUB enabled  Z10


Been there since day one. Crap, now you tell.... thanks. i have been waiting for this for a while, tried to use the read on screan triple tap top button, but this should be much better.

Z30 on leaked


I found this by accident a whole ago, (sorry for not sharing). It is great for shirt messages but frustrating for those with long privacy signatures!
Personally, I still felt pretty frustrated with the voice control. Sometimes it works well, but a lot of the time it is way off. Would love to see it improved.

Tapped and flicked from my BlackBerry Z30!


Damn auto correct. Short not shirt. At least it added the r.

Tapped and flicked from my BlackBerry Z30!

Colin Wu

The reply function is ok for short messages or in a quiet environment, but longer messages tend to have more "typos" and the edit function throws away your reply requires you to start from the beginning. I'd like to see a "edit with keyboard " option.

Posted via CB10


If you want to edit with the keyboard, all you have to do is tap in the text field.


I didn't know this!!!

Posted via CB10


I've had my Z10 since day one and thought I knew everything. Guess not!!! Thanks.

Posted via CB10


I am Dutch, and BlackBerry doesn't handle my accent very well, to say the least :(

Posted via CB10


If you have your mobile connected to the hands free system in the car, if there is any, and there is a voicemail speed dialing button (as is in many cars) you could program the button to call the number 999555123

This is the built in number to start the voice recognition system in the phone.

If you then press the speed dial button the voice recognition system will start and you can interact with BBM and other functions in the mobile via the hands free system.

I think this works as good as pressing the button on the headset :0)


I've tried this. It seems not to work on aftermarket radios like the pioneer avic x930bt. Or I'm doing something wrong idk.

Posted via CB10


Thanks. Just added this number to my contact list. I will just call that name from my truck's voice command.

Posted using Z30. Best of the best Smart phone in the world.


Did not know this. Cool.

Zed 10 with 1925 leak



Posted while peeking and flowing on my incredible BBQ10! 

nono naziv

Mohon di tambah soal bahasa, (voice

Posted via CB10

nono naziv

Please add questions in the language, (voice

Posted via CB10



Posted via CB10


They need to add a "Next message..." prompt you can say when using voice control.

I love using "Ready my last message..." and it picks up whatever came in last and starts reading.


Didn't even realize BBM had this feature. Very nice to know. Thanks.


Thank you for the very important tip! it very useful to know this

BBM channel: C0040FF4D..... Proudly Z10 owner...


What if I have Say It installed?

Posted via CB10


Doesn't work for me. Every time I tell it to read my last BBM, it reads me my last email. I tried three times, speaking as clearly as humanly possible. Honestly, I find BB10 voice features unusable.

Posted via CB10


Convenient now that Canada is raising the "distracted" fine to $280 very soon.!/content/1.2550396


Distracted driving fines are a provincial jurisdiction. The fines are going up in Ontario, not Canada. When will people in Ontario realize that what happens there isn't necessarily universal across Canada?

Posted via CB10


When the states stop thinking they speak American and that Canada is another state. When Quebec stops thinking they are better than everyone else. And when BC stops thinking they live on their own. Good enough answer for you? It was a mistake. DBAD!

jojo beaconsfield

Thanks James,most people like myself don't even use or know about this phones capabilities.


Thanks James. I didn't know this. Not sure if I missed it when I first got the phone, but good to know. I have BB voice control added to my car all ready. I knew I could send a message, but not read incoming ones.


This is a feature that I've used and loved. However, once I updated to 10.2.1 the read back part stopped working. From what I've seen in the forums, I'm not the only one. It's been very frustrating. But I still love my Z30 anyway.

Posted via CB10


Great suggestions!

C0038297E Quote of the Day (BBM Channel)

Glen Campbell

Tried it no luck it asks wo u want to send a bbm message to

Posted via CB10


Brings up my last email, but dogs read it????? Anyone else???


I use the voice features pretty extensively, but find that the R's and D's ( reads and delivery ) do not work when using voice ( on the recipients side ).


For me, don't mix texting and driving. Period. All sounds nice, but any distraction can be dangerous. Are any of the tools to a point where they don't distract? Not for me.

Posted via CB10

Pilot Prop

I didn't know this was possible... awesome

Posted via Q10


Hey James

How do you get the BlackBerry icon on your BBM display name?
I would appreciate if anyone can answer this


Just copy the  symbol then paste it into the name field.

Posted with my T-Mobile USA BlackBerry Q10 via CB10.


Still running 10.1 & doesn't work for SMS, email or BBM as article states. Bummer...

Posted with my T-Mobile USA BlackBerry Q10 via CB10.


Maybe I was doing something wrong, but when I had voice control on my Z30 set to Full Voice Recognition, it drove me nuts. The simplest task of saying "call" became an exercise in "What effin part of YES do you not understand?". Since turning voice control to Voice Dialing Only, voice dialing is quick, efficient and typically correct. I've also lost that desire to chuck it out the window on the 401.


Thanks! Finally. But Why didn't some mentioned this earlier. That way I didn't need to buy third party app that only does partial functions.

Posted via CB10


Work perfectly on my Z10 going to start using it a lot now very helpful

Posted via CB10

Sandeep Jain1

Awesome!!! i did not know this :)


This is f.king cool.

Posted via CB10


Wow....this will come in handy.

Posted via CB10


If I say "read last BBM message" the voice control gets "read lost bb and message" and starts reading the last email message!! The help function in the voice control says to use "read bbm message" i.e. don't need "last". That seems to work every time for me.


I've had a BB10 device since the beginning and have not known this! This is amazing. I've tried to use the voice command before, but commands felt too robotic and never experimented further. Awesome post! Learn something new everyday!

Posted via CB10


This currently relies too much on a good network connection. It needs better off network functionality.

Posted via CB10


Good to know...

# BlackBerry = BraveNewWorld

Posted via CB10


In car I use (and ask for) BBM voice notes ... wonderful with my QNX powered hand free infotainment system !


Thanks for this, CB! I didn't even know I had this option on my Z10!!

You live n learn. :)

Savvas John Savva, Owner of Skill 7 Limited - - BBM: 2670CCEA


...I can even use it with my Jabra hands free system! :)

Savvas John Savva, Owner of Skill 7 Limited - - BBM: 2670CCEA


Sooo didn't know this....will try it out!

Posted via CB10


Why can't they come up with a headset activation that doesn't require you to touch the device? It's the biggest buzzkill.


Nice will use it

Posted via CB10


I would like the ability to record ethnic names in order for voice services to be able to select the correct contract

Posted via CB10


Nice feature, however the native voice dictation is nothing short of terrible for my z10. I typically end up giving up in frustration. This is one area they need to work on.

Posted via CB10


What if it doesn't read it out?

Posted via CB10


I'm guessing you need 10.2.1 update because when i do it the phone asks me if i want to search the web for "read last bbm message". still waiting on Tmobile update bummer...

Costas Stavrou

I tried to use that feature on my BlackBerry Z10 with 10.1 OS and it didn't work! Does it work only with the 10.2.1?

Posted via CB10

Ms Lady P

Very handy! I would agree... I've forgotten about the Voice control feature.

Ms. Lady P


What the heck is the "central media key"!?

Posted via CB10


OK, found the central media key... it does Not read the message... out loud!

Posted via CB10


This actually works better than Siri!

Posted via CB10

Paul Callahan

Nice! This has gotta be hand for long haul road trips..

Posted from my Q10 (TMobile) Running OS as of 2.14.2014!


This is the best tip I've read so far! Love it! Thanks!


I love this feature. Especially whilst driving. Saves a lot of time.

Posted via CB10