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How to reload the OS on a BlackBerry Z10 or BlackBerry Q10

Have a nuked or bricked BlackBerry 10 device? Here's how to fix it by reloading or downgrading the operating system on your BlackBerry Z10, Q10 or other BlackBerry 10 phone.

By Adam Zeis on 3 May 2013 11:47 am EDT
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There are certain times when you may geek out more than you should with your BlackBerry 10 phone and run into some issues. Whether it be a poor-running OS leak, an interrupted security wipe or a somehow nuked device, you may want to downgrade or reload the stock OS. Thankfully, just as in the past, you can still do so on BlackBerry 10. 

With older BBOS devices there was a high chance of "nuking" a device for any number of reasons - bad apps, botched restore, bad software, crappy OS leaks ... you name it. On BlackBerry 10 there is really no chance at all that you'll ever need to reload the OS unless you run across a bad leaked OS or happen to stop a security wipe prematurely.

For both the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 you can restore the OS to stock when you run into any of these issues. The process unfortunately requires a Windows PC (sorry Mac users) but requires only a few steps to complete. 

You can reload or downgrade the OS on your BlackBerry 10 device one of two ways.

The Easy Way - Reload BlackBerry 10 OS Using BlackBerry Link

Make sure you have the latest version of BlackBerry Link installed on your Windows PC. 

  • Open BlackBerry Link and connect your device via microUSB
  • Select Settings (gear icon)
  • Select Reload under Reload Device Software
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to reload the software. When complete you can disconnect your device. 

After you reload the device software we recommend setting up the device as new to prevent further issues.

The Harder Way - Reload BlackBerry 10 Using Internet Explorer

If for some reason the above steps don't work using BlackBerry Link you can always reload the OS using Internet Explorer. These steps are a bit trickier so read through and make sure you understand everything before you get started. 

  • Make sure you don't have any BlackBerry software running on your PC (BlackBerry Link and BlackBerry Desktop Software)
  • Detach all BlackBerry smartphones, including the BlackBerry 10 device that you are going to restore.
  • Using Internet Explorer navigate to www.BlackBerry.com/updates then scroll down the page and select the Check for Updates button.
  • Connect the BlackBerry 10 device you want to restore
  • Hold the power button for 10 seconds until the device turns off, then press the power button again so it turns on.
  • A prompt will appear and the BlackBerry smartphone will show in the drop down list on your PC shortly after the LED lights up (it could show up as USB: UNKNOWN or USB: BlackBerry (PIN) – both are normal/fine).
  • Click the OK Button as soon as it becomes enabled - you only have a few seconds to do this!
  • Once the above steps are completed successfully a dialog will be displayed stating Checking for BlackBerry Device Software updates
  • Your device power itself off after two minutes. Shortly after, the device LED should turn green.
  • Continue to wait after the LED turns green and you will be prompted to install BlackBerry Device Software. Follow the prompts to install the BlackBerry Software and finish the software installation

Fire It Up!

Now you should have a fresh stock OS installed on your device. If for some reason the device still won't boot, try running through either method again until you get it to restore the OS. 

Of course if you run into further issues you can always get more help on reloading in CrackBerry's BlackBerry 10 OS forum.

Looking to restore an older BlackBerry OS device? Check here.

Reader comments

How to reload the OS on a BlackBerry Z10 or BlackBerry Q10

85 Comments

Link doesn't work for me but the Internet Explorer way did the trick. On link after I click reload it doesn't do anything

Posted via CB10

I'd advise from personal experience to steer clear of the Link route. It ended up screwing up my contacts and costing me money

Posted via CB10

Hi Darkehawke, Please I had the same contact wipe after updating the blackberry link on my laptop. I lost 90% of my contacts. They just weren't showing.I did a hard re-set and they came back on. But three days after, I woke up to send an sms to a friend and I realized that the same thing had happened again and thinking that a hard reset would get it fixed, the phone refused to start up. It's been stuck on the bb logo and name since Friday morning. I have tried using the reload button on the bb link but nothing has worked so far. Please do you have any idea how I can go about fixing this issue? I would really appreciate your response or anyone who may have a working solution because I do love my bb Z10. Thank you.

Yet another reason why BB10 has my attention, one of the things I always loved about webOS over Android, a factory approved way to reset the device.

Doesn't the Reload button in the Mac version of BB Link do the same thing? It sure seems to, though I haven't gone through it myself.

Posted via CB10

I like how you say "high chance of bricking". I can't even count the number of BlackBerrys I have owned, or how many leaks, officials and hybrids I've put on them. Or how much I messed around with them every chance I could get... Yet somehow I have NEVER bricked a BlackBerry, haha

+1
I've never bricked ANY phone, years of BlackBerries (with leaks, hybrids, etc) and a couple rooted Android devices with constantly updating ROMs...and somehow I've been "lucky" ;)

I think if you're paying attention to what you're doing, it's harder to brick a phone than not...

I would normally agree with you. On my legacy devices all the way up to my old 9900 that is sitting on my desk now, I never had a problem I couldn't recover from. However, with my brand new Z10, I was unsuccessful in loading one of the leaked OS's and bricked it. I tried everything I could discover, including the two methods mentioned in the article. I found some other methods on the net that I tried, too. No luck. After 3 days of trying to get it to work again, I had to admit defeat and call T-Mobile. After talking to their "Blackberry Liaison" he had me warranty it out. I don't know if it was a bad leak, bad hardware or bad operator, but the result was the same.

Same experience here as redk stated. Link didn't do the trick. I think it is broken. But I haven't tried the Internet Explorer way.

Hi, I actually tried using link on a PC and it wouldnt work for me. Then I tried using my Mac and it worked. Obviously the internet explorer route will only work on a PC, but Link way works on PC or Mac

I had to reload my OS twice before I returned it for a new one with Rogers lol. The phone froze at the lock screen the first time which the keypad was not appearing to unlock it. Waited a bit no luck so I had to shut it down. Second time when I had to swipe up the screen wouldn't turn on lol. Waited a bit to try again and no luck. When Rogers told me to reload it and see if the issue occurs again which it did on the 14th day phone froze just showing my notifications on the left lol. Had no problems with my 9800 torch which I had for two years. Guess it was time to happen on my z10. Anyways i love the phone and always preach to others on how amazing the new BB10 OS is!!!

Posted via CB10

FWIW : the Web approach works with the latest version on Firefox too. It saved my @$$ after I thought I bricked my Z10 using BlackBerry Link to wipe and reinstall the OS.

Frankly, I don't think that the BlackBerry Link software is really working very well. At least not for me.

Posted via CB10

Bottom line...In the latest version of Link software, reload is not working. This is being reported a lot!

I hope I don't have to reload on my Q10 using Link, my friend did and it bricked his.
Been lucky with my Z10.

Posted via CB10 from my Q10.

Link tells me to backup but doesn't let me, so I worry about loading the 10.1.etc OS. If I don't have a backup will re loading the OS according to this method save the day. In other words is it only the OS that that would be backed up if Link let me backup?

Posted via CB10

I feel your pain. My individual contacts informations are being mixed with each other for some unknown reason... like combining names and other data. Some messages are not being deleted from the hub... LTE doesn't always get a signal until the radio and data are turned off then back on... the list goes on.

I used the Link option, as long as you use the correct BDID and a decent email account like outlook.com, your contacts will be safe.

Posted via CB10 from my Q10.

I did this, but it just ended up restoring to factory settings rather than putting the stock version on my phone..

Man, I am so looking forward to switching to the z10, but it looks like a lot of people are having issues... I always disliked android for having random bugs, so I'm a bit worried about this...

My contacts keeps duplicating. I have now like 5 copies of same cantacts on my phone. Batt drained like crazy on 3G and apps too slow to open on 2G. I hope os 10.1 will fix those issues.

Posted via CB10

Will this update is Carrier specified? In other word, can I update my Verizon z10 once Blackberry releases it's 10.1. OS?

Thanks for the article. Can you describe in detail what it means to reload the device? I mean, is this the equivalent to wiping the hard drive and reinstalling the OS?

Also, does it download a new image? And is that new image carrier specific? Does it know to pull the right image for the carrier? Does it pull the latest approved image or the base image (that you would update afterwards)?

Honestly guys blackberry didn't make it close to iphone or the Samsung using this phone for 3 months now and found a lot of issues and applications should have been released b4 they release the phones and they don't even have close to good apps like in apple or Samsung sorry blackberry I'm a pilot n I require more apps for flying I'm signing out with blackberry! Bye BlackBerry users n good luck blackberry wid making it I'm selling my phone!

Posted via CB10

Dubai let me tell you a secret nobody in here cares that your selling the phone. Go post that on cnet.

Or maybe create your own thread and ask for help like a logical person.

Posted via CB10

Noted, thanks.... but could anyone inform me when native Skype is coming!! Fed up seeing "Soon" on Blackberry world :(

Jamal Nasr Via CB 10

I had to side uploaded Skype in my z10... works 100% fine... hopefully you haven't upgraded the OS.... goodluck

Posted via CB10

I'm a loyal user... despite what all my friends tell me about bb... I love my z1010. I just have small issue ESPN app takes forever to load why? Any updates for apps or maybe OS BlackBerry updates.. please help. I love BlackBerry... no one can change my mind. Thank you

Posted via CB10

I can't put these phones down. Sometimes I seriously just gaze at the Q10 keyboard because it is so friggin dope. Seriously, i love my Z10, but there's something truly awesome about that physical keyboard. Every self respecting crackberrier should rock both. Seriously. Do it.

Posted via CB10

You need both BlackBerry 10 launch devices. In fact, if you have other devices - sell em. They're just embarrassing

Posted via CB10

Pretty bad that Link does not work and all mac users need to use a pc to get this done. BlackBerry clearly released products before they were sound. My phone resets all the time and I'm still unable to send readable emails using .me email. Switching back to iphone. Period.

Posted via CB10

Thanks Adam.
Now I have more confident reload my Z10.
It sometimes heat up even all apps are closed. Maybe some bad cross apps didn't close completely.
Cheers mate!

Posted via CB10

Trying to go from 10.1.0.1627 back to the latest official at&t -- can't get either method to work. Link doesn't even have a Reload option (yes, latest version just installed), and the Web tool says there are no updates are available. Guess I'll just deal with the bugs until the next update.

Doesn't work. It keeps saying there are no updates available. I am trying to downgrade to stock OS from leaked one.

Posted via CB10

The same is the case with me. From 10.2.1.575 I would like to downgrade to the official release 10.2.0.xxx.
Puzzled as to how I should proceed with the situation. Someone please guide us..

I'd rather not use any leak. Does anyone know how long it will be until the update is out I'm excited to see if we get some more social media apps like vine.

Not sure what I have done on my brilliant Z10. People ring me, their number is displayed, not their name which is incredibly annoying.
When I installed be buzz recently, I have numbers on my contact list with no contact name......help??

Posted via CB10

Since I run Linux on my desktop computer, all I need to do is use a virtual machine with windows installed on it to do the reloading. :D

Or reboot to the disused windows XP installation I never use much at all.

Is this supposed to downgrade back to 10.0? Have 10.1. Used Link with latest update. Procedure completed successfully. However, OS is still 10.1. ?? (No downgrade)

Grateful ... so grateful... I downloaded a stupid PriceChecker app and it RUINED my phone! Disabled the pictures app and more (selective memory), so, here goes!!! BTW, WHYYYYY does it take SO long to download this software on a PC?! Happy Hunting CrackBerryers!!!!

This is crazy, neither of these work....
1. their is no option in the newest BlackBerry Link.....

2. While my device is turning off, and even before i turn it on, the prompt comes up with my device.

There needs to be something better, or am I doing something wrong here?

I live in UAE and my telecom provider has the device locked to its network AND blocked BBM Voice and Video on my device.

If I unlock my device and install the stock OS using the method above will I get factory stock with BBM voice and video? I'll obv loose my warranty but I dnt mind. I just need the BBMVs.

Anything else I should know?

Z10 firmware downgrade

Follow the follwing steps so that you can downgrade your Z10 OS
1. Visit http://opensourcebb.com/bb-10-os-list.
2. Download the autoloader you want to download according to your hardware (Details can be found in the above site middle page).
3. Turn Off your device.
4. Run the auto loader (Connect the z10 to USB when it shows Connecting to bootRom).
5. Connect the Z10 to USB Port and the it will power it on its on after some seconds LED will turn Green.
6. Wait for few min and then finish the setup to use your device.

IMPORTANT THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
1. Make sure that you connect your Z10 when your device battery is fully empty otherwise the autoloder will set 0% as the remaining battery
that means if you have 60% battery left then your device will shut down at 60%

For more visit
https://www.facebook.com/ynsolutions

Regards
Nalin

Neither option seems to work. I'm getting so frustrated with this. Did a security wipe, got interrupted. Now all I get on the screen is that the device wants to be connected to the computer. I tried restoring it via BB Link, but it's like the program can't stay connected to the device. The IE option says there are no software updates. I'm going quickly insane.

Regards, Kayama

whew :) IE wipe and update came through while stuck in a .810 software update loop ...thank you :)

Hi! Since I upgrade to the leak OS 10.2.0.1047 I have encountered so many problems and the latest of which is my Z10 won't connect to any mobile network. Will reloading fix it? By the way my model is STL100-1

Ok, lots of problems with 10.1.0.4181 on my Q10. Stuck on 100% boot screen after install. Finally able to load OS (with a battery pull), but can't open messages in Hub.

The steps above will load fresh stock OS 10, but will it keep the Apps I bought?

Thanks
C

Hi.... My Q10 is permanently on a blank pink screen when turned on. i did a security wipe and while setting up the device as new, it said there was a software update, i clicked okay and since then its been on this blank screen. It turns off and on normally and even has an emergency call feature, though it keeps saying call failed. I have tried reloading on bblink but after about 10hours of download and the download bar full, it still shows downloading software (probably stuck). Tried this 3 times. Any solutions please? Im trying it for the 4th time now. I use a Mac, pleaseeeeee help!

horrible horrible phone the Z10, tried doing it through blackberry link, through the internet for the past 3 days solid, just gets stuck on the green light for how ever long you leave it, saying checking for software update... had nothing but issues with the phone - id just recommend staying away from blackberrys, taken into shops but nobody can seem to fix it :\ not impressed RIM!

My update won't work: I'm updating because phone has random restarts and the phone app screwed up on me today and caused me an issue. When I go to restart the software on the phone, tells me my internet connection isn't right and cannot reload the software. Seriously? My internet connection isn't working while i'm sending emails? awesome.
Time for a BB Web-ex.

i tried to load the 10.2.1 leak in z10......but device could not restart, just blinking led light twice........what to do waiting to start i think i bricked my z10...... is there any chance to load 10.2.1 leak.... cos i m fed up with 10.2.0 os

guys i got an used Q10, first thing i did was a security wipe, unfortunately when it over a quick setup comes up, after configuring Wi-fi it checks for new software updates from Blackberry Servers. After a while it says that is impossible to connect to Blackberry servers and i can't skip this step.. I was not able to get into the main menu.

So i installed the last 10.2.1 leaked OS to bypass this. I'm wondering.. when we get the official update 10.2.1 from blackberry how i'm going to install it if i don't have any backup from the 10.1 previously installed on my Q10?

Good day
So my friend tried updating my z10 stl100-1 and was running 10.1.0.4181, it didn't work the phone came on but the phone app didn't work could not call or received calls
So then he decided to swipe the phone....it went completely blank and i believed that since it was swipe it had to be configured all over again but since the screen is blank i can't do so
So then he decided to try another update and after that the phone is completely crashed....all im getting is the LED light flashing
i read your post here and tried restoring the device....i tort all was well i got the green light but jus when it's about to finish n reboot it says that there is a communication error A:0x00000028
i dont have a back up for my device i tried restoring from the web nothing works....keep sayin i have an error
some please help?

Thanks a lot! This is really usefully information. I found some problems for my Q10 when using the latest leak and finally it come back to the factory firmware. Thanks again.

For my experience, you need to do the following:

1. Get latest Backberry Link and "Switch off" before start the process.
2. Turn off the phone by remove the battery then plug again.
3. Press the "Check for Updates" button from Blackberry.com/updates
4. Plug your phone to the PC
5. The screen will show your phone device ID it means connect successfully.
6. The screen will prompt you to turn off the phone again by pressing the home button for 10 secs. (for me I long press it)
7. Have a drink and let the screen run and ask you for next step.
8. The screen will prompt to ask install the factory firmware version "10.2.242" (build 1791).
9. Confirm to wait finish.

Hope the above can help.

HELP! Ok, all the essential details, here goes....
CURRENT PROBLEM: BBQ10 (running with latest update whatever those numbers are 10.2.???) - currently my phone powers up, initiates my device password request, allows me to log in and then navigate through the main frames (the pages where the apps appear). However, my BB Hub is black and empty and will not populate. When I attempt to press on any app, including the links in the drop down/pull down menu (settings, wifi, Bluetooth etc.), the screen appears to be quickly swiping towards the right without me actually swiping in that direction. I press finger as normal, the screen quickly jumps to the right and returns to it's regular place. I can't open ANYTHING, can't receive calls, my messages are not incoming, no outgoing calls are possible etc.. It does allow me the option to long press the apps and gives me the delete link/garbage bin...though I have not attempted to delete anything yet.

This appears to have happened during a date change (auto update date is TURNED OFF at the time and obviously I can't get to it now). The phone thinks it's Feb 16 or something and the year was pushed far forward (not sure what year the phone actually thinks it is, but I know it was moved WAY ahead).

Assumption: ?The os isn't operable with this year?

What we have done: Battery pulls, backed up 3 times with Link (1 with backing up just apps and media, 2 with backing up just settings and 3 backing up all three options; apps, media ands settings. I have searched for hours for information from every angle I can think of.

I want to 'RELOAD device settings to factory' but I'm so afraid of the backed up data not being able to be reloaded to my phone without the issue being resolved. Does anyone know if factory settings include "AUTO DATE AND TIME UPDATE" as the setting to work with?

...also, I can access the folders, but the same thing happens upon pressing the icon/apps within those folders as well.

I have searched for keyboard shortcuts for the os10 but have had no such luck in finding any. Does anyone know of any shortcuts to get into the settings themselves? And does anyone know if the device settings can be modified through other software via my pc?

I got prompt fill the password when device connected. My device is BB Z10. But after fulfill password and press OK button just 5 times red indicator lamp. Nothing other happen..

I have use autoloader, Blackberry Link and Web on firefox and also IE just the same.
Anyone can help resolve this issue?
Thanks....

I love crackberry! You guys are awesome i love you.... My blackberry 10 (Q10) is working perfectly fine now, after i did bb wipe and it didnt stop wipping for hours i removed the battery and it started showing me phone plugged to a computer and when i put it on my laptop it doesnt show ... Thanks to crackberry, i downloaded a leaked blackberry 10 OS 10.2 removed my blackberry battery and run the app after downloading and my phone is back on and im so happy.. Thanks Guys.....

Blackberry Link won't work on my computer and the other method keeps telling me that there are no software updates

I keep getting the same error near the end of the process when it says I have to update desktop software! "An error has occurred while downloading the BlackBerry® Desktop Software. Please try again."

Ive done the link way and explorer way 100 times and get the same error

Someone please help me!!!

Josh I feel the pain. I updated BlackBerry Link to the latest version on windows 7 and tried several times and failed. I then used my z30 as a hotspot and managed to get my Q10 brick restored.

I'm not a technical person and ain't got a clue if it was luck.

If you get another BB10 phone, give it a go. It certainly got my brick working again.

Wiped my Q 10 securely as I'm going to be giving it away. The wipe seemed to go to plan and the phone was rendered a brick.

I loaded up BlackBerry Link on my laptop and started the restore process. At the end of the process I got a message saying that the restore had failed. I tried again a few times and the same error occurred.

I then switched my Z30 onto hotspot mode and tried the restore through the Z30 as a router.

Bingo, the Q10 is now loaded again and back to factory default settings. Happy days and all thanks to my trusted BlackBerry Z30.