How to request higher quality photos via BBM

How to request higher quality photos via BBM
By DJ Reyes on 28 Oct 2013 02:14 pm EDT

I like being able to share a photo easily through BBM. Snap a picture, then share to a BBM contact. It's quick and easy. It's my preferred way of sending a picture I took on one of BlackBerry devices to another one.

However, if you've ever sent a photo via BBM you'll notice that the quality of the photo degrades. But did you know that you can request for a higher quality version of the photo? That's right you can get the photo in all it's original quality. It's quick and easy to do too.

Request a higher quality photo via BBM

  • In the BBM chat you were sent the photo, tap and hold the photo
  • An overflow menu pops up on the right, tap HQ
  • A request is sent to the sender, once they accept the higher quality version will be sent

Request HQ pictures via BBM

That's it, easy peasy. No get sharing more pictures via BBM. You can check out more BlackBerry 10 tips, tricks and how-tos in our BlackBerry 10 Help section.

More BlackBerry 10 Help

Reader comments

How to request higher quality photos via BBM


Discoverability of features in BB OS 10 seems to be an ongoing issue. How is somebody supposed to know this short of accidentally holding over an image sent over BBM, and seeing the overflow menu pop up..

Posted via CB10

The issue is that this is a long press on a specific item embedded in another entity. It's not exactly that intuitive. The OS is littered with this type of stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love my Z10 and BlackBerry 10, but the UI does still need some work to achieve consistent behavior.

Here is just one simple example, take copy and paste. In OS 10.2 in BBM you cannot select part of the message and the only available option, copy, opens from the side menu. Everywhere else, you can select any part of the message and the copy and paste menu pops right out over the content you are selecting.

This is a perfect example of the inconsistency that exists throughout the OS.

Posted via CB10

This requesting of a higher quality image has been around in BBM for a long time. This isn't new to BB10. This is a data saving feature to send quick snapshots back and forth. If you need the full resolution image you can request it and the sender can choose to send or not.

New to BlackBerry in general and I knew about it. Lol

"If you can't soar with the eagles then don't fly with the flock!" (BBM#18)

They should share In High resolution for default and without names like Whatsapp ppls likes to use pics as emoticons

Posted via CB10

They compress it to save data. How would you like it if you were stuck on a 500 MB plan and you were constantly sending and receiving 5 MB maybe even 10 MB or larger files? You'd be pretty screwed in no time.

9700 ~ 9900 ~ Z10 STL100-3/

But now I have to have people send me the LQ picture first and then send me the HQ quality picture. It's great that they want to compress the picture to help those with smaller data plans, but now I have to eat through more of my data because I have to receive (and subsequently, the sender must send) the picture twice.

So for those with small data plans, they win. For those with larger data plans we have more data eaten (though still not enough to really care) and more importantly we have to wait to receive the picture, then request the higher quality picture and hopefully the sender responds right away and accepts your request.

Me thinks an option would be better. If I have "receive HQ pictures" checked and the sender has "send HQ pictures" checked, it should meet the criteria and send the HQ picture in the first shot.

Since BBM going cross platform Ive had to explain this whole process twice now. Pain in the ass. This should definitely be in the inital setup. Either as an option or a demo video.

"Me thinks an option would be better. If I have "receive HQ pictures" checked and the sender has "send HQ pictures" checked, it should meet the criteria and send the HQ picture in the first shot."

Actually a good suggestion. Now, go on twitter and tweet it to @BBM

I think the best option is for sender to send original pic to BBM server which then only send a thumbnail. At recipient's request, BBM server sends hi res original pic without sender's intervention. Of course, the original pic can only be stored in BBM server for limited time beyond which the recipient's request should be diverted to sender like it is now.

Does it make sense?

Posted via CB10

I have been asking for something like this for a long time.
If other apps send hi res by default, why can't BBM?
I like the suggestion of matching options to select HQ by default and if both sender and receiver match, BBM would send HiRes first time. Or the option would be to select "only receiving low res" and hi res would be the default unless requested.

I also hate that this is not explained well to the new users and they think BBM can't send hi res.

Experienced BlackBerry users aren't always around to help

The Swiper

I wish it was an option to switch. Especially when you're on WIFI and aren't worried about data consumption. This was my first stumbling block with a 1st time user from iOS.

From my Z10 via CB10

Excellent idea. I have unlimited data and wouldn't mind turning off. So I always get the HQ.

Posted via CB10

Why? Most often stuff is shared as quick FYI or transient communication. Why waste bandwidth & sacrifice speed when not necessary the majority of the time. If important, and you want hi-res, then an easy ask.

Just to add, not just data but storage as well. Obviously a HQ picture needs more memory.

From my Z10 to YOU, BOO-YAH!

I dont get why BBM isn't sending pictures in HQ by default! This is going to turn some of these iPhone & Android users away from BBM cause they probably dont know this & to have to request HQ pictures sounds pretty dumb!

Firstly the recipient gets the image faster. Secondly, the sender and the receiver could be on a limited data plan. Instead of sending someone a 2MB image to download which eats into their data allotment, it is only fair that the receiver request the higher quality so that they control their own data allotment. You as the sender would also get that same courtesy because you accept whether you want to waste 2MB of data sending a photo that you may think is a quick see, but not something someone may want to keep.

Like Chris said, its like the hand shake effect. I respect your data allotment, you respect mine, but if I want the HQ pic, I request it saying it is ok to send the 2MB version if you want to send it.

Actually WhatsApp also don't send the original quality & they also compress the pictures before sending.

Posted via CB10

No, What's App sends original size by default but you select when to receive it, and there is an option to select auto download or not if you want, and for auto download you can select video and or pictures and also specify wi-fi or carrier.

The Swiper

I actually thought every BBM user from BlackBerry 10 knew about this.

Well, good article then.

Posted from Z10 via CB10

Crap, I forgot about that. Was trying to figure out why the pics I've received were blurry. I've used this before but forgot about the feature with all the cross platform excitement going on. Thanks for staying on top of this!

I agree...I don't mind the lower quality item sent by default, but there should be an on-screen prompt/hint to get the HQ version. if people are accustomed to HQ from WhatsApp, they will auto-assume the LQ is a BBM fail.

Posted via CB10

Sorry, but you are wrong. In WhatsApp we can only send the pictures in LQ and there are no any option to request image in it's original size. In BBM it's possible, but in WhatsApp it's imposible.

I've already logged a feature enhancement request with premium support. I put my point across that the feature was hidden and doesn't make any sense in this day of 4G and Wi-fi !

Here were my suggestions:

1) Provide the sender with the choice whether or not to send the picture using HQ or compressed.


2) The receiving user should be presented with a pop-up to accept either the HQ or compressed version.

Posted via CB10

Why wouldn't BBM just send the HQ to begin with? No point in sending a pic to someone if it is blurry. Why do they need to make everything such a process?!?

Posted via CB10

Sorry, but if I'm not on wifi, I don't want to waste data on a photo that 90% of the time I don't need to see in HQ, and 20% of the time don't need to see at all.

Posted via CB10

The year isn't 2006. Put larger yet sensible upper limits for the compression. At least for a 2x zoom.

So many people saying make it default and send/receive high quality picture may have unlimited data, but not everyone does. If someone sends me a bunch of pics about something I don't care about, I want the option NOT to waste data on this. I do agree however, that instead of holding down on the pic for a few seconds, make it easier and just bring the option is when you tap to preview.

Posted via CB10

Doesn't seem to work for bbm group pictures. Tap and hold get you to an uncropped version, which u can then zoom in to, but quality still looks rather low. Also, since bbm does not support rotating to landscape view, it's more limiting for image viewing.

Sent via the awesome Zed10 BABY!

I still feel that quality of photo should not be degraded too much. 1.5 mb photo r degraded to 10kb. Which totally distorts the image, especially if it's text. At least 50kb should b min like whatsapp. So that pic is clear too. Compression in whatsapp is better.

Posted via CB10

It's a great tip...but they should be a little more kbytes, now is 20 KB average, i think 50 KB is much better to get a good pic and dont needs consume too much data plan...please!

Posted via CB10

once you request a higher quality picture from someone, does it always receive he higher quality picture from that person? or from everyone? or do you have to do it everytime? i appreciate the data saving, but i would rather have the full quality picture taken at the resolution from the sender's phone.

Wasn't there an option in the older OS (BBOS 6 or 7) that when you try to send a picture it asks you what quality you would like to send it (e.g. high, medium, low)? I could have sworn on the Torch I was given an option as to what quality I want to send.

I was very frustrated with this so this is nice to know. I would rather not have the double handshake though.... if the recipient wants a higher quality photo they should be able to get it without me having to confirm.

Posted via CB10

That is a great feature. Nonsense photos good for a laugh and resolution not an issue. If you like the photo, request the higher quality. Very nice!

Trolls should be forced to use BB10!

Agree they need to make this easier and a setting. It's to keep messages fast and reduce data on their network as well as people's data plans. Receiving 1.5mb per photo adds up quickly out of a typical 1GB/month plan. However most people will just think this is a headache. Maybe default to large on wifi at least.

Posted via CB10

Well I think anybody using a BlackBerry 10 should know this after using bbm on it. That's not a tip for me. I knew it the first day someone sent me picture through bbm on my Q5. That was like 1 week after I bought it

Posted via CB10


My BlackBerry History: 6510, 7520, 7100i, Storm 9500, Storm 2, Torch 9850, PlayBook 64gb, Z10...

Easy peasy I have been having a hell of a time trying to send photos via BBM. Am I doing something wrong? I have tried attaching a photo and selecting BBM to share the photo. 9 times out if 10 the photo wont load or it loads but won't send, help!!!!

Posted via CB10

This is a great tip but where was this a few weeks ago?! My friend sent me a screen cap of her schedule and I couldn't read it because of the low resolution. She had to type all of her schedule out which was a PITA. Should have an option set to only accept HQ pics only and not compressed only.

Posted via CB10 on my Zee 10

If BBM didn't give the option most of you would complain about that too. I think having the option is a much better approach and considerate to the BBM users still on limited data plans.

Not approved by the NSA. My personal Q10

The default should be exactly the way it is. Low res - default. We should have the option to accept a High res picture of your dog takin a dump if we choose to.. not by default because the sender thinks it's important. The receiver should always have the choice whether he/she wants to accept a larger file. Nothing wrong with this feature at ALL IMO. Go BlackBerry !

Not approved by the NSA. My personal Q10

At this point in 2013 they should change the compression. We're not in 2007 anymore.

You are now in my Bingo Book

And by the compression I mean a little less compression, it compresses images as if we were in 2007, and in 3G.

You are now in my Bingo Book

I hope the next round of updates will enable user to select lower resolution, but high quality pictures instead of high resolution low quality pictures.

Therefore the file transfered can be kept at minimum size, but at decent quality.

Great suggestion on the option to always receive HQ images if you choose to. I have a 6GB plan on Rogers in Canada and never come close to my data limit.

Perhaps more useful for limited data plans and/or countries where data is very expensive, but not for me here.

This sounds like more of the same BlackBerry from the past where data compression was a priority to appease carriers. Have we learned nothing from Apple? F*k the carriers, appease the consumer!! The carriers will be forced to adapt.

Posted via CB10

There should definitely be an option to send/receive HQ photos by default. They should also remove the 6MB transfer cap.

Posted via CB10

Would like to know that why Bbm doesn't create a folder in pictures library as what's up does as it becomes easier to view pics later on just by sliding through that album, in Bbm we have to save pics and if want to view at one go it's not possible.

Posted via CB10

A few days back someone complained that they hated this process. I couldn't understand their reasoning. On mobile devices I don't want automatic sending of large hq photos. The fact I have the option to request better quality fits what we currently have and used regarding mobile data .

Some people just seem so clueless

Sorry pressed post by mistake...

Why would anyone want to receive a blurry low resolution version of a picture especially in 2013?
5 or 6 years ago maybe but not today.

The Swiper

Hello crackberry, it's my first time that I am using BlackBerry and the model is Z10 and I liked it. But from the past 3 months my video icon in BBM is not available and because of that i am not able to video calls. Kindly update it to me. I am from India and using airtel sim with 3G data.

Posted via CB10