Leaked Operating Systems: Common questions and misconceptions

By Kris Simundson on 16 Sep 2013 08:20 pm EDT

Are you always living on the bleeding edge of technology and software? Maybe you're at that edge but aren't ready to make the leap, need that extra push. Or maybe, you like too play it safe (and that's awesome as well), and would just like more details. Well this post is for all of you and I hope it will clear up some common questions and general misconceptions that folks have about leaked operating systems.

Everyone always asks, what is a leaked operating system? Well in a nutshell, it is an OS from BlackBerry that has made its way out from the testing grounds of Waterloo and into the hands of the public. Most of the time, leaked OS's are old builds they're just new to us. Realistically, by the time we get them in our hands BlackBerry is usually way ahead on builds and have moved on.

As you may have noticed in the CrackBerry Forums, with each new leak, there is a lot of conversation about what has changed and what may still be broken and with that, comes a lot of bug reports from folks. We all like to do our own testing. We all find our own bugs. And we all find a resolution to those bugs (if we can). The big thing here though is that BlackBerry is already aware of these, there is no need to email them, tweet them, or communicate any of these bugs to them.

Often times with leaks you'll hear folks say, "but I thought higher meant newer". While that is usually true, it isn't in all cases. The way OS development works, is there are multiple branches at anyone time. For example the 10.2.1 branch started as of What this means, is that new features were starting to be implemented into 10.2.1, while the 10.2.0 branch would continue on with bug fixes and performance updates. The beauty of branches of software, is they can be integrated up or down. So while we may see dark theme in .1725, it was actually implemented in 10.2.1 and merged into the 10.2.0 branch.

A lot of the time when you load a leaked OS, you'll also notice a "No information available" notice in the settings, and sometimes people panic. Well there is no need my friends. That little tidbit of information is purely for carrier info. The big thing is the OS version, which will always show. Your radio version will always show as well. Normally you want your radio version 1 up or down. Example: OS has radio 1726. Though, there are weird circumstances where the normal is broken, such Hybrid for Q10 users. This is one spot a lot of folks get confused, Software versions vs. OS versions vs. Radio versions.

Another common asked question, is how is a BlackBerry leaked OS any different from a custom Android ROM? Well this stands out in many different ways. First, a BlackBerry 10 OS, can only be created by and signed off by BlackBerry themselves. A custom Android ROM can be put together by anyone who knows their way around Linux and repos. BlackBerry 10 devices have a locked boot loader that can only load signed OS's from BlackBerry themselves. Where as an Android Device, can have a boot loader unlocked, and install any custom OS, that matches the hardware, signed or not. So basically this point is, that anyone in general cannot and does not have the power to make their own BlackBerry 10 OS or Hybrid. If you're not sure of a build you find, the safest thing to do is ask.

So, that's a quick run through of some common questions and concerns with leaked operating systems. Hopefully, that will give you a better understanding of what they are and how they work and of course, if you have any further questions or concerns then drop them in the comments section below and I'll see if I can address them in a future article. Before I close this one out, let me just say you should always use caution if you go the way of leaked operating systems. Things can and often do not work the way people would like in leaks, so if you're not willing to deal with that it is best to avoid them altogether.

Reader comments

Leaked Operating Systems: Common questions and misconceptions


Did CrackBerry purchase part of all of Berry Leaks? Was it a hostile takeover? Did the Canadian Government weigh in? What did I miss? Is Kris the next CEO?

It's a great start. As someone who used to review and write news posts for a few video gaming sites I know how exciting it can be to see your name published. Good job Kris, hope to see more stories from you in the near future.

BlackBerry Z10 | Verizon | @addm | In Squircle We Trust

I agree, it's great to be back at Crackberry and see some new faces as blog writers!
Kris -- see my comment at the bottom. If you want any tips on further improvement, just let me know and I'll give you my e-mail address so we can privately talk. I focused on comma splice since that was one of the bigger issues messing with clarity, rather than just nit-picking any old thing. :-)

Good bits of info in there for the less knowledgeable. Good work Kris!

Channel: C000EE4F7/ Me and Everything BlackBerry

That cleared up a couple things I was wondering about. Good write-up!

--Q10 and Canadian all the way! Posted via CB10 on

Very nice Kris. Keep em coming!

Via CB10 on Fresh and New --Proud Member of The Squircle of Trust Group!

Kris this was a great write up for a lot of people. Well written and very professional, and not one f bomb.
Thanks vm.

Q10/1725/ Squircle of Trust member 

LoL yea I noticed that too...it almost made me question it's authentication. Seems strange not having Kris drop F bombs all over the place....more professional too ;)

Posted via CB10

His personal channel and Twitter aside, Kris' f-bombs are reserved for the leak forum and the gazillion redundant and sometimes silly questions, not to mention those people who are "too busy" to read the OP :-)

Posted via CB10, Rocking the Z10

Hey! I am just wondering if there any way to get the black BBM on Z10 like the Q10?? Thanks

Posted via CB10

Install 1725 leak and don't install BBM channels and don't do a restore.

CB10 - Z10 -

Wrong place to ask this question. Go to the forums. However, I'll be nice and answer: yes, I think the most recent leak has a dark BBM, though if you download BBM Channels you'll lose the dark theme again.

--Q10 and Canadian all the way! Posted via CB10 on

Nicely done and answered a few questions I had. Who knew that the f bombing guy from the videos could be such a good writer. :)

Good article I knew this from reading your posts but good to clarify this as a CB article for everyone. Looking forward to more of these.

CB10 - Z10 -

So does Blackberry really even care much about the stuff being leaked? Or are they pretty much "Meh, what can we do? Not worth our time".

Posted via CB10

I think the are some how behind this leaks, otherwise they could stop it they just want to keep core users happier.

Posted via CB10

Agreed. An underground culture is a great thing to have and it consumes time between official os updates for those who like to tinker. Keeps them on BlackBerry 10 :)

Posted via CB10

The people who dare to run the leak OS are front runners. With a few tricks and tweaks and in case of BB10 OS with the help of berry leaks team (thanks guys)you can get a pretty decent and Stable OS. However it is not for everyone. I have 2 friends with Z10 that are not willing to run the leaked OS they can't explain why, they simply not willing to do it even though they are Impatiently waiting for some apps that are available on 10.2. (Dish anywhere and many more)

Posted via CB10

Nice job Commander! Thanks for helping clear OS builds. Loving the new. 1725 leak

Posted via Zed 10 Oreo running with Camera Hybrid

Relatively safe, yes, but that doesn't mean it will be as stable as the official builds.

--Q10 and Canadian all the way! Posted via CB10 on

Wrong wrong wrong, that is one of two problems not mentioned, 1. The leaks are NOT sanctioned by BlackBerry so never assume they are safe, hense the word leak and the use at your own risk warnings every time a leak is released. 2ND Crackberry is NOT at fault when you screw up or a leaked OS screws you phone. It's not CB's or anyones but your owns fault for installing a leaked OS. Come here and ask for help/advice not to lay blame. Having said all that NOTHING is as exciting as installing a leak and sering those gems of feature not there before :)

Posted via CB10

PERFECT! Great article and well written! Informative even to those of us that have been running leaks forever and a day! Thanks for all you and the others on the team do! Much appreciated as always.

Good read, kris has always been helpful and knowledgeable kudos on your article it was well written. Kris you may not remember but thanks for walking me thru sideloads you are a great tutor as well

Posted via my better half ZED

I almost want to go back and read all of Kris' forum posts to see all of these f bombs everyone is referring to....probably more entertaining than loading a leaked os tonight....oh, popcorn's ready.

Posted via CB10

I'm scared to try the leaks too, but I sideload? Weird , maybe after I pay the phone off oh well

Posted via my better half ZED

Just hold your nose and dive in. You and your phone will be alright!

Posted via CB10, Rocking the Z10

Nice work pard! :)

Z10STL100-3/10.2.1.xxx member/co-founder Berryleaks. From CB10. My channel C000B3B57. Team channel C00032537

Well done Kris - I love the leaks; some are better than others. BUT, you can always go back to stock if it doesn't work for you. 1725 is awesome and probably close to a RC.

Posted via CB10

If I didn't have to rely daily on my Z10 for work, I would definitely try a leak.... :-/ jealous

Posted via CB10

My Z is my daily driver and leaks present no challenge. So far, so good...

Posted via CB10, Rocking the Z10

I've been only using leaks especially on the Dev Alpha's (now on on my DAC) and it works great! Finally can see how the regular phone functions and not be jealous of my wife's official OS on her Z10.

I don't install leaked os's but great article Kris! I may just give it a try now. Informative.

Posted from my incredible Z10

Most useful post on this little ol blog yet!

Posted via CB10. Follow Nerds On Site, your technology partners world wide, on BBM Channels: C001227C4

Nice article, Kris. Thanks a lot for the information.
You and BerryLeaks Team, just keep these leaks coming, please.. Very much appreciated.

So to be clear the final 10.1 is, right? Not that adventurous with the leaks, but my carrier has kept us, STILL, on 10.0 .10.672.

Hardcore BlackBerry er'

Thanks Kris for writing this article which I hope will explain some of the problems happening in the forums right now.

Some did. If memory serves me right was one such leaked OS which was pushed officially by my carrier.

The whole hoopla probably means the app will be preloaded by samsung on a bunch of devices sold in Africa...

Great write up Kris! Good way to clear up a lot of the confusion. Though you technically don't have you, I would have recommended that you had identified yourself as one of the premier leakers so that the uninitiated knew where this expertise was coming from. Though, on the flip side, not identifying yourself keeps a sense if unbiased reporting/explaining (I also noticed you didn't actually encourage people to install leaks in this article - smart move).

Posted via CB10 on my white Z10 & lovin' it!

Thanks! Pls edit some of the grammatical errors/typos?

In a more constructive note, some general questions:
1) are they technically illegal? (even though I doubt there will be any execution)
2) sometimes there are many different updates in the functions that disappears here, reappear there again. Isn't it really inefficient for them to keep changing?
3) why so USA carriers take so long just to rest out the phones? Will the process be faster for BlackBerry newer phones since they have already tested the basics?

Posted via CB10

Hi unbreakablej,

Regarding #3, nothing can currently be done about the carriers taking forever to release the new updates. Unfortunately, this is a problem for every platform; Android users have been complaining about it for years now, and I'm sure it goes back much further than that. It is a touchy subject, because we have to remember that the carriers are the ones putting their butts on the line when they officially release the software to users. If anything--anything at all--goes wrong, user backlash would be enormous, and retail stores would fill with angry and confused customers, blaming their network. We want the latest and greatest, yet, we're the same ones who whine and cry when something goes wrong and point our fingers at our carrier for releasing buggy software. The carriers have to do extensive testing of it on their network. It is a tough subject to choose merely one side on.

I agree completely that Kris's write-up was very informative and showed his expertise in the field. I also agree with you that if he could fix the errors, however, it would really make Crackberry/Mobile Nations appear slightly more professional, and help clear up reader clarity.

You're a good egg doing great work. Look forward to more of your insightful posts. Congrats on your second Blog post on CB. You're definitely adding value to the site. Kevin has chosen well.

May the Squircle be with you.

Please Join my "Men's Fashion & Lifestyle" BBM Channel, Gentlemen: C001214D9_

Proud support of BlackBerry (Q10/Z10/PlayBook 16 & 64GB)

Nice work!
The article will help the newbies understand the leaks concepts better.

Posted via the awesome z10 using CB10

Thank you Kris. I'm currently not installing leaks on my BB, but can you perhaps tell us something about the risk of a leak causing a bricked device or something like a bootloop (like I've had with Cyanogenmod rom on Android)? And, if something like that can happen, how to recover a device from that?

Next to no chance, unless you pick a Q10 loader for a Z10 in which case it's a simple radio file. The only model to watch for is the STL100-1. Can't install that OS on anything but that device and likewise due to hardware differences

Posted via CB10

Looks like a great entry into a Lil series on how to and what not to do for leaks for newbies... maybe to help cut down on the repeats in the threads and bring the cats out from hiding ;)
Kudos on the the writeup. Looking forward for more.

Posted via CB10

What a great avatar!

Thanks, Kris--cleared up some questions and we look forward to more.

(It’s finally cool enough that I'm wearing my long sleeved Squircle shirt today, and my son plans to explain to his algebra teacher what a squircle is...)

Posted via CB10

This prompts a question......has anyone written an android rom os that looks and runs like BB10? Great leaks, thanks!!

So what can I do since the leaked Os for BBplaybook3G + killed my playbook,.and one week after the same leak was rated OFFICIAL.my data section of my playbook is disabled completely, please help

Posted via CB10

Great topic Kris. It just needs a bit of polishing up in terms of mechanics. There are a lot of mistakes that make it a little tough to read, but nothing two or three read-overs won't fix. Although there are other issues, I think your main problem is with comma splices. They are making your work hard to digest because they confuse the reader. One trick is to read your work outloud a few times, and then have a friend do it while you listen; do this before posting, and you'll notice a huge improvement. :-)

The real question is, how in a world those OS leaked from the testing ground of Waterloo?

And that BlackBerry seems doesn't care... at all...

Posted via Z10

Thanks Kris! Great job. I love leaks, and I love that the team includes a list of what's new, what has changed, etc.

Posted via CB10 ~ visit my portrait channel C0011B779

Why can't they (BB) just be honest about this whole leak thing and just ask us to participate in UABetaTesting?

P.s. and by the way, I'm not the type to purchase the first model year of cars either.

Posted via CB10