The many faces of Shift+Delete on the BlackBerry keyboard

Shift + Delete
By Michelle Haag on 6 Mar 2012 04:34 pm EST

A year ago we discussed the Shift + Delete command - a new (at the time) feature of the BlackBerry OS that some people loved, some hated and some didn't even know existed. When typing away in BlackBerry Messenger, if you press Shift+Delete you will find your message is deleted.

Personally, I found the new feature to be annoying; as more often than not I pressed that key combination accidentally and deleted whatever I was trying to say. Prior to this key combination being added to the OS, if you pressed the Back key your message would be deleted - an option which many people used frequently. Now, when you press the Back button, you are returned to the main BBM screen and your message is saved as a draft. This is Handy in some cases, annoying in others. But hey, as long as you know what each function does, you can manage, right?

Well, let's make it a little more interesting. As I mentioned, in BBM, Shift+Delete will erase whatever you're typing, meaning, you have to retype the message from the beginning. This key combination will also erase the text field in the BlackBerry Browser. For example, if you're in the CrackBerry forums and you've chosen to reply to a thread, and quote a previous post, Shift+Delete will erase the entire text entry field -- the quoted post and your reply. That can be a real pain, especially if you've written a lengthy, well thought out response. However, in the Browser you can simply choose the menu key and paste the text back in; so instead of the combination being a delete command, it is instead a cut command. That's way handier than how BBM handles it, and I have to wonder why Research In Motion went in different directions with the same key combination. To make it slightly more confusing, Shift+Delete does nothing in SMS or email besides what the delete key normally does, which is erase one character at a time.

I don't mind the feature, and realize it could be useful for many people. I do believe, however, that it should be universal across the native apps. If I'm going to be accidentally deleting things, I'd like a way to put them back quickly and without re-typing the whole thought. Also, it would be nice if the function existed in other native apps such as SMS and email. 

Got your own BlackBerry pet peeve? Sound off in our forums and let your voice be heard.

Michelle Haag Michelle Haag "@_Miche11e_ and C0001B3B5" 1214 (articles) 1695 (forum posts)

Reader comments

The many faces of Shift+Delete on the BlackBerry keyboard


definitely one of my pet peeves as well!! what's funny is I just hold Shift down and then swipe up/down to select the entire message to delete it (in emails or SMS) and end up doing the same for BBM, when I can just Shift+Delete.

another pet peeve is that ANNOYING automated notification sound for say when you get a carrier message, like how much your last call cost you (for prepaid users) or when you punch in a code. it's SO LOUD! I go out of the way to put my phone on silent before I use any carrier SMS codes for whatever reason.

"Peeve". :)

It's happened to me quite a few times with BBM. I didn't know it was a Cut command/effect and not just Delete until I read it in the forums recently. I agree that it's strange that the same thing isn't consistent across all of BB too, that would be a good way of setting a standard of sorts across phones and tablets both for RIM.

On a side note did anyone notice the amazon music store is gone on your bb7 phone after the update? I wonder if digital 7 will be uploaded with the next update?

I absolutely love it
One of the best short cuts in blackberry
Wish it was the same for sms,email everything

maybe I am an idiot, but , when i hold the shift then push the delete once ,delets only one character at a time, my BOLD does not delete the entire text?? and the menu buttons asks if you want to save, i cannot make it delete my entire field in one click, what am I missing ( or not!)?

Mate, I've had 4 Bolds and I never really had an issue or noticed until your brought it up. I don't think its anything new, in fact I think its worse when it happens on pc right? And contrl Z (undo) doesn't work.

And really, typing on BB's is a joy when say compared with touch typing (even with OS2) on the playbook lol

For some time I've been using that combination to "Cut" text and I find it really handy ... of course more than once I have accidentally used that same command trying to "Cut" text while in a BBM conversation only to find the entire text gets deleted with no chance to "Paste" it back. So for me is a really nice and at the same time annoying keyboard combo, if that makes any sense.

Yep it should NOT do this in the web browser. Also the web browser should bring back the old 'column' view, and the shortcut to show the URL of a hovered-over link. RIM why you remove hugely useful features?

i agree this shit needs to be consistent. like when i want to send a contact card it says, "BBM Contact" or "BlackBerry Contact" BUT when i want to share a link from my browser, it says share with "BBM Chat" or "BBM Group"...

Reminds me of an old terminal system I worked on in college in the early 80s called Pr1me. In the code editor on that system, if you hit Shift+Bksp, the entire program you just entered would be deleted. There were newer 3270 terminals in the room, so the experienced would fill those seats first, leaving the code-munching Pr1mes for the unlucky and the uninitiated. You could always tell who was a n00b by the painful screams. The learned behavior to not hit that key combo became so ingrained that to this day, I am physically incapable of holding down the Shift key when pressing backspace. (Not that I type in all caps that often.)

No doubt the inspiration for this key combo in the BB OS is the old DOS shortcut of Shift+Del being used for Cut, back before Microsoft "paid homage to" the Mac's Command+X keystroke and standardized on Ctrl+X in Windows. The difference, of course, is that, like today's Cut command, you needed to have selected the text you wanted to cut before using the command, while the thing that surprises and upsets the unlucky BB users who unwittingly stumble upon this shortcut is the lack of that prerequisite, and the assumed selection scope of Everything.