Messaging app for PlayBook OS 2.0: Checking, replying and composing messages

By Gary Mazo on 29 Feb 2012 02:19 pm EST

The Messaging app in PlayBook 2.0 is one of the most welcomed new features. From one, central location, you can check, respond and compose messages. Both Email and Social Networking messages can now be handled in one app.

When you see that blinking red light, a simple touch of the Messages icon will allow to you to see your new Email, Twitter Direct Messages, LinkedIn messages and Facebook messages. We will show you how to check your messages, read them, reply and start a new message for any one of your connected accounts right from the Messages app. Read on for all the answers to your Messaging questions! 

Messaging app for PlayBook OS 2.0: Checking, replying and composing messages  


The first step to checking and responding to Email is knowing that you have email in the first place. The PlayBook is, first and foremost, a BlackBerry; therefore, email notification is enabled from the get go.

By default, your PlayBook will glow in the upper left hand corner of the screen when a message comes in, the LED will blink the familiar red blink and a short sound will be heard. This can all be user adjusted by pulling down the Menu screen, choosing Sounds and Notifications and then adjusting the settings. There is a volume slider for the Audio Notification and a drop down menu for the Visual Notification. Your choices for Visual Notification are Glow Only, Led Only or Glow & LED.


Tip: If you have notifications turned on, but you don't experience your PlayBook retrieving your messages, chances are that you have the Push setting turned to OFF in your Account settings screen. Just touch Accounts from the Settings menu, then touch the account in question and touch the Advanced Settings icon and on the next screen make sure that Push is set to ON.


Checking Messages

When you see the red light blink, or the screen start to glow in the top left corner or hear the notification sound or see the New Messages icon in the top left - you have new mail. If, after all that, you still don't know you have email, well, I'm not sure the PlayBook can notify you in any other ways!


If your Messages app is in the App dock, you will see asterisk there. You can touch the Messages app icon to go to your inbox. You can also:
1. Touch the Messages app window if it is running and open
2. Touch the Messages icon in the top left of the screen (this will also open the Messages app.) 

New messages will be shown in BOLD and the envelope will be Golden in color. Just touch the new message to read.


If you want to see all the images in your email, just touch the Get Images button. For security, external images are not loaded by default. If you want images to load all the time - automatically, just pull down the Menu from inside the Messages app and turn on the Download Images by Default button. 

Responding to Messages

Along the right hand side of the Message is a vertical column of icons. The top three icons are used for replying to a message.


Note: These icons are only present when reading an Email message; they won't be there for Social Networking messages. 

Touch the top of those three icons to Reply to the sender of the Email message. Touch the icon immediately below (with two arrows facing left) to Reply All. Always be careful when you Reply All and make sure you really want everyone to receive your response. 

The third icon, immediately below the Reply All icon is the Forward icon. Just touch Forward, and input the name of your contact to send on the email. It is always a good idea to input some text above what is being forwarded to put the email in context for the reader. 

Options When Typing Emails


In the body of your message, type in your text using the new Rich Text Editor explained here. You can turn off the Rich text Editor by touching the icon along the right hand side that looks like a fountain pen.


Once your message is ready, you can attach a file stored locally on your PlayBook by touching the Paper Clip icon. Once you touch the Paper Clip icon, you can then choose from Pictures, Videos, Music or Documents that are stored on your PlayBook. Select the attachment desired and then touch the Attach button. You will see the attachment now at the top of the screen. You can always touch the small "x" to cancel the attachment.


To set the Priority of the email, touch the Exclamation Point icon located right below the Rich Text Editor icon. You can choose to have your email be High, Normal or Low priority. High Priority will result in a red exclamation point in the subject line.


Pull down the Menu from the top of the screen to show other options available to you. You can Compose multiple windows (and have up to four windows open) by choosing the Compose Email icon. (We will cover this is a future PlayBook 101 lesson.) You can change the email to plain text by touching the Plain Text icon. This is useful is your recipient can't view rich text email and the message is more important than the medium.


Touch the Add Bcc icon to add a blind carbon copy recipient to the message. Touch the Settings icon and the Settings menu will be displayed. From this menu, you can change your Display As options from Single Messages to Conversations. You can also hide both filed and sent messages by simply turning ON the radio buttons. You can also turn ON or OFF buttons to Confirm Delete and Download Images by Default. The last buttons cover the Alert options discussed above.


Checking and Responding to Social Network Messages 

The unified inbox on the PlayBook offers users the ability to control, read, respond and compose messages in all associated accounts right from the Messages app. This means that when you get a Facebook, Twitter Direct Message or LinkeIn message, they will appear in your inbox.


Messages will have the icon of the Social Network as opposed to the Envelope icon used in emails. You can also touch the icon for each connected Social Network account by touching the "@" icon at the top left of the left hand vertical row of icons. Then choose the account you want to view. In this example, I am looking for a particular Facebook message, so I touch the Facebook account icon to see only those messages in my inbox. I can then just type in a quick message in the bottom window to respond.


I can also choose to Compose a message in any of my Social Networking account by touching the appropriate icon along the bottom left of that same row of icons. The Composition screen appears and I can just enter the recipient in the "To" field. Since all my contacts were sucked in when I set up the accounts, they start to appear as I type the names.


From there, I just type in a Subject and a message and hit the Send button in the top right. The only account that will limit your character count will be your Twitter account, since this will be a Direct Message with the 140-character limit. 

With the new unified inbox, checking and responding to messages is now very easy and very convenient on the PlayBook. There are many more email tips and tricks that we will cover in future posts, but to see how your fellow PlayBook users are faring, just hit up the BlackBerry PlayBook forums!

Reader comments

Messaging app for PlayBook OS 2.0: Checking, replying and composing messages


Only allowing up to 30 days of message syncing makes email pretty much worthless. How do I get access to older emails?

I have the same comment. At least with my BB9700 I can do a "remote" search and go back years. RIM should at least add this feature which I guess is used by a large percentage of users.

How the heck do I mark 700 plus messages as read? I have messages going back to 2005 becasue they are in my pop3 email inbox. Also I keep losing email connection.

^^ Same here. I have 2750 messages going back. Also, I loose me connection as well and I get emails on my computer and BB phone but sometimes not on my Playbook as a notification. The mail will be there if I open but no notification. I have notifications and push set to on...

How are you getting over 6 years of email, when I can only get 30 days? The setting for "Messages Sync Timeframe" only allows for a max of 30 days of email syncing.

I want to do more email with this, but it doesn't work with Yahoo's imap folders. So it's a bit useless for me. Hoping for an update.

Dude, 2nd day in a row, it's a PlayBook - this is an enthusiast website - you'd never see a reference to an Ipad on an Apple site.

You are absolutely right - thanks for pointing it out. It should all be fixed and  correct now. Sometimes, even the editor needs some editing

I agree with you. members of our team are in Barcelona right now and we have asked them to address those exact issues with the RIM folks at MWC - we will keep you posted.

I wish you could, when using ActiveSync, choose which folders synced automatically and which required a manual refresh. You can choose on the iPad, on the Galaxy Tab, and on all other devices I have used, but not on the Playbook. Thus, for those us who, like me, have e-mails filtered into subfolders as soon as they arrive, they will not automatically sync to the Playbook because they are not in the inbox. A poor showing indeed.

After reading some of the comments above, what I feel is that a person can never be satisfied. He gets something nice but he still wants more and more. World isn't enough. What I believe is when I could work with os1, os 2.0 is simply superb and beautiful. God bless rim.


BB 9780 white os 6

BB Playbook 32gb os

If no one said it yet, thank you for providing this article on messaging basics. It's very helpful. Keep up the great work!

I will say thank you RIM, and the new native apps are great and love the UI, but unfortunately they are unreliable, there are a lot of people having issues, so a software update would be great to sort a few things out. That said my PB has finally become the tab I always wanted, and will be even more with a few fixes ;)

You can compose up to 10 emails at once. Once you get to four, you can swipe across to get the compose new email button.

I definitely think this is the best implementation of emails on any tablet out there!
Good job RIM

It is crazzyyy how many people are complaining about the email app! Really starting to bug me. Great write-up by the way.

I had to do a security wipe to my playbook and on rebooting device iv noticed the BBC apps integrated into the playbook have disappeared??? And no longer are they available via appworld? Does anyone at crackberry know why?????

thanks Gary, such a deep & brief explanation. i really love the messaging app on my playbook running on the OS 2.0. it's RIMarkably powerful. it understands how people like us (BB users) what we need from this tablet.

HOWEVER, yeah, there are some glitches too and i really HOPE before the BB World congress, this problem will be fixed:
- PUSH & SYNC "LOOP": if you turn the PUSH to OFF, and SYNC to MANUAL, the playbook will get warm & it will drain the battery horrendously. but if you enable the PUSH & SYNC, everything is normal, i can manage to have my playbook to stand for days! so weird..

- Yahoo Mail authentication failure: I have a gmail business account running using the MS Exchange & another email using the Yahoo business. The Gmail one never fails to connect & get through all incoming emails, it works PERFECTLY, BUT the Yahoo always keeps up & down, so frustrating! FIX IT RIM!!!

- yeah, we need the "mark all as read" option too, and more thorough IMAP folder access for Yahoo mail!

but anyway, i really put my hat off to people @ RIM for their enormous effort to build this remarkably powerful OS 2.0, but it just needs some minor fixes & tweaks to really perfect out everything. HIT IT RIM!

is it just my playbook, or is the "LED and glow" not really working the way it should? When I set it to LED and Glow, it only glows =(

How do i turn all visual indications off? I like having the messages but as my playbook is secondary to my phone for email, i don't need to be notified every time an email comes in.


Good article, thanks.

Agree with some of the enhancement comments made above, and have some of my own:

- Would be nice to have a mark all read, as there's no easy way to select many emails; you have to use the select feature and scroll down with finger gestures.

- Was disappointed when I went to a specific date and tried to do a "Delete Prior" like my BB, only to find out that they have not implemented that. That would certainly be a nice to have, perhaps in an updated version.

Other than that, great work RIM, great integration with the corporate exchange server via ActiveSync; I love that I can search the GAL again especially since I don't have my BB on the BES anymore. My setup for my personal email was also seamless. Just loving this thing.

Still missing the synchronization of PB with my phone over the bridge. When does this come to make this app perfect?

PIM items are not supposed to sync directly to the BB via bridge.
Synchronization is with the servers and the results appear on the devices.

In OS1 when I got a message through the bridged email (obviously!) the notification at the top left would show each individual email and allow me to 'x' close the notifications I didn't want to keep. That way I could get rid of the notification without having to open the messaging app to view the email.

This doesn't appear to be available in OS2 for the native messages and is no longer available for bridged ones either!

Am I missing something, a setting or switch? Or is it just not available?

I do love the native mesaging app even though I thought I didn't need anything more than the already awesome bridged version.

In messaging 2.0 I would like to see a 'junk' feature. Thunderbird on my laptop removes junk mail effectively but they are all getting passed through to the PB from my service provider. Anything to mark junk mail and is adaptive would be spectacular.

Thanks RIM and thanks Gary for the great post!

How can I select a whole bunch of emails at once so I can deleted them all at once?

I can do it on my Torch and would love to do it on my Playbook. Did V1.0 have this option? I can't remember.


Not working with yahoo and Rediff mail (the free types) in my case
Also only one Facebook account permitted why?
Eg I need two my personal one and the used by an organization I belong to (and manage the account for )
Kolkata, India
Nokia E63, BB PB 16GB