OS versions and software versions, what do they all mean?

By Kris Simundson on 17 Sep 2013 03:24 pm EDT

Now, with all the different OS' floating out and about around the CrackBerry forums, I've noticed a lot of confusion between the OS & software numbers. People are generally confused as there are two different numbers for each OS - software version and OS version. We'll help clear things up a bit so you get a better understating of what each one means.

When an OS is leaked, it is usually leaked with an OS verison number such as Carrier OTA updates use the software version number to identify the build, such as It's already confusing, right? In reality all OS versions have two numbers, software and OS.

These two numbers actually represent the same operating system build. = 

If you want to check what software/OS version you have, you can go to Settings > About > OS. Keep in mind that most leaked OS' don't actually show the software build version and that's normal.

Another common misconception with OS and software versions is that three digits are higher than four digits - which is not the case. When we look at these numbers, try to look at them like this:

  • OS10.2.0.1443(SW10.2.0.210) is Ten dot Two dot Zero dot One Thousand Four Hundred and Forty Three
  • OS10.2.0.783(SW10.2.0.110) is Ten dot Two dot Zero dot Seven Hundred and Eighty Three

I have gone ahead and underlined the important parts. This is what truly matters when comparing OS numbers (same goes for software). When you sound it out like this, it will let you know which is more recent. The numbers represented in a OS/SW version are not decimal placeholders, so therefore the rules of the first digit being higher means newer does not apply.

So there you have it - once you know the numbers there really isn't much to it.

Reader comments

OS versions and software versions, what do they all mean?


You're actually wrong. Saying 'and' while saying a number is incorrect. Example.

One thousand twenty eight.

What you would do (WRONG)
One thousand AND twenty eight.

Pls fix.

Join the Surge Co. BBM Channel! C001213C9

Was thinking about joining your channel but you did the annoying first thing so...

Posted via CB10

bwahahaha what an idiot with his first comment. I would have checked out his channel, I have been into channels, but clearly seeing how immature and stupid he is with his first, I can't be bothered.

I think you'll find native speakers of English add the 'And' in all kinds of situations, especially with the penultimate indivisible unit (we never say "twenty-and-eight" but will say "one hundred and one" 100 times out of 101.)

It may not be correct in a metric/SI/math sense, no. But I still write my cheques that way.

Correction not required.

Bingo. I actually feel bad for people that want to learn English. It's a language that honestly never follows it's own rules or conventions. Two words written the same way mean two different things, two words written two different ways mean the same thing, contractions, slang, abbreviations... man, after a while, it just gets messy.

On topic: another great post, Kris! Clearing up misconceptions able leaks and OS numbers one day at a time.

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

You are technically correct that in a math class (which CB.com is not), "and" represents the decimal placement. For example, two hundred eighty eight and 58 hundreds would be written as 288.58. Most of us, however, speak much more casually and frequently use "and" in the way in which Kris used it in the article (to represent digits after the "hundred".

This is a blog site, so let's cut them some slack. I view Kris as an BB expert & not a math or English teacher. Just my opinion, of course. :-)

Sorry couldn't help but pointing this, you wrote "an bb" shouldn't be "A bb"?

English not my first language but that "a,an" was one of the first things they taught us.

Posted via CB10

I doubt that the difference between a and an was one of the first things they taught you. You probably learned how to say basic words like "boy, girl, cup, spoon" before they got into the nuances of grammar.

I initially wrote that Kristi is an expert. Before posting, I added "BB" before "expert" to be a bit more precise. I neglected to change "an" to "a" when I made that change, which doesn't mean I don't know how to speak English. I actually have excellent written communication skills.

I find it obnoxious that people (much like you)correct minor grammatical or spelling mistakes that others make while commenting on articles. In many cases, people are typing on small screens with small keyboards & may miss some things. I have not asked for your critique or correction, and it is not welcome. If you don't have anything meaningful to contribute to the topic at hand, then don't post.

That goes for the minor critique of Kris' post. I found it obnoxious that someone would get technical in that way on a BlackBerry fan site. This isn't a professional or educational association. These are not academic writings. We are people sharing our experiences and love of BB. Kris was one of us and a great contributor who was ultimately invited to join CB.com because of his BlackBerry expertise. Did we not understand what was written?

Have a good day.

Keith H. Posted via CB10

It's a blog site. Where writing matters and therefore he should at least try to speak correctly. If he said that to me in casual conversation I'd have no issue with it and never bring it up. But this is a real piece of writing so it should matter to him.

Join the Surge Co. BBM Channel! C001213C9

I suppose what I'm saying is that corrections are fine if they further everyone's understanding of what's being said. I don't believe anyone misunderstood the way Kris spelled out the numbers. When the corrections don't add value, I find them obnoxious, but that's just my opinion. And I recognize that everyone is entitled to their own.

Speaking of deja vu -- please decapitalize your offensive signature at the very least. When did that start? Sometime in the past 24 hours it seems. If you need to advertise for BBM contacts of particular racial characteristics, I suggest you do it elsewhere.

Are these your apps? Judging from a previous signature of yours, http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/33163953, I call for a boycott for all from the same developer: http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/vendor/44440/

I know I'm off topic and on a rant today, it seems. I'll probably get warned myself.

Re: release numbers -- I was of the crowd that would read each division except the first as if it was a decimal fraction of '1', not a complete number in itself. So, thank you, Kris, for clearing this up (again.)

I agree 100%! I find that signature to be offensive. I can only imagine what someone from Africa or Asia must feel when they read this. I think Asmooh should be shown the door.

Yes, because we all know that spam ONLY comes from Asia and Africa!

Some people will defend anything...

Keith H. Posted via CB10

i`d recommend you stay away from the BBM friends subforum then, all kinds of segregation going on there lol.

Nice if it can be confined to that forum, then. It doesn't need to be in anyone's signature at all, splashed over every forum and every blog post.

Another good write up my dude. This should help those questions you guys get every leak. Although those people don't really read in the first place.

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

I'm still confused!

What's the difference between OS and Software versions? Why are there 2 and what's the purpose of them both?

Not all OS builds or versions if you will, are packaged to be used by carriers, so they will track the software version and that's what they'll use in their communication with you.
If you track leaks, then the software version doesn't matter to you at all.

Seriously wasn't this discussed already?

via CB10 (BB Z10 : BLK : OS 10.1) [ Channel @ C0012477B for BB News, MMA & Tech Updates ]


But there are millions of new BB10 users that are brand new to BlackBerry and to CrackBerry so it helps to put out reminders every now and then.

Ok a couple hundred anyway.

Thanks Kris as always. Don't mind comment one he's just grumpy. Hahah

Zed 10 - In your face VZW

I'm not grumpy but people who write articles should try and be correct. Or they look dumb

Join the Surge Co. BBM Channel! C001213C9

No, you kind of look dumb. Especially adding 'first' as a second post after your 'pls fix'... which is also not correct in English: Please fix.

Oh, and while we're at it: "Try to be correct." Not "Try and be correct."

Consider yourself told.

I've taught English (grammar) for highschool and university level students. And yes, I have a teaching degree and a Masters Degree. It is perfectly fine to spell out a numeric value and use "and". So, 785 spelt out fully is "seven hundred and eighty-five" - this also transfers to spoken Englsih (at least in North America).

You can't go crazy on the way one person says something over another person and then type "pls"

We are not texting each other. We are typing comments and should be able to spell our words properly.

Posted via CB10

Did not relize a majer n English was a prerekrisit to post on kRackbery. Bahaha have fun with this one!

Posted via CB10

Thanks for trying but you haven't really cleared up anything. I knew there were two numbers linked to each other . What I didn't know was why.....and I still don't.

Carrier OTA uses Software Version numbers. That's it that's all. There is no difference between them except how a Carrier identifies a Build.

Just feeding back Kris but this is the nugget of information that you didn't explain in your article that people reading it might be expecting.

The title makes it sound like you were going to explain why there is a Software and OS Version number and what they mean but you actually just explained how to compare version numbers.

Posted via CB10

True enough the title can be confusing I agree.

But the second paragraph I wrote says the same thing in my comment :)

Posted via CB10

And for those wondering, yes, some of my articles will be repeat information. BUT not everyone can find the info they need in the forums. Therefore a post on the main page can help clear up that confusion. NOT everyone is into the leak game, so not everyone understands when we say "leaked". 

At that notion, I know for a fact when people installed, A LOT asked about why their device showed This alone is proof that information needs to be repeated

Repetition is a beautiful thing. We all know how often the EXACT SAME question gets asked. And how often BRAND NEW forum threads are started, even when there clearly are hundreds of others on the same topic!

Thank you for clarifying, Kris! I don't even use leaks, but it's good to know anyway.

Posted via CB10

I never struggled with the numbers. What I don't get is the leaks themselves. Why do they come with bugs? Is it because it's a leak, or is it because it's an incomplete version of the official release?
I don't do leaks, so you can tell why I would have such a question.

Posted via Z10 STL100-3 using CB10. Fido, Toronto.

Same reason even official releases have bugs. Things like multiple contact linking causing problems, or the deleted SMS threads with the MR.

It's a new OS, and they are trying to add features, either things the old BBOS had or brand new things, and things don't always work out right at first.

In fact, I don't think it will ever be completely bug free. After all, humans are working on it.

Posted via CB10

So here's my question, why? Why have 2 numbers to confuse users? How many do the other platforms have?

People complained about the crappy naming convention in BBOS as being confusing for customers, so why didn't BlackBerry just drop to a normal easy system like for example apple has ios x.x.x and that's it. Easy for everyone.

Posted via CB10

Think of it this way. The software release is the entire package, radio file, OS, Web browser, flash, etc. each of which can and do have different version numbers. The OS version is just that, the version of the core OS. This is no different than the method used with most software, particularly modern operating systems. This makes sense when you think about it particularly from a support standpoint. A given software release always will be made up of very specific software versions for the include software modules making things easier to track and support.

Posted via CB10

your missing my point, I totally understand the difference, kris explained it, that was the point of the article and im able to read.

My point is this, how is it helpful to the customer to be shown to version numbers? heck you just felt you needed to explain it, kris wrote a post to explain it, so its obviously not clear and simple now is it?

iOS has a single version number
Android has (core android, im honestly not sure when it comes to manufacturer skinned versions) one single version number
WP8 has one single version number.

notice a trend? that's my point, every customer on WP for example can say `I have build 8.x.x.xxx` or whatever and you know exactly which build they have
that same customer on BlackBerry? they have to say `software version or OS version?`

Its not simple, its not straight forward, its not user friendly and its a remnant of the way BBOS was with its convoluted numbers.
People want simple, they want straight forward, they want user friendly, they want to give you one number and keep moving. they don't want to have to try and work out what means what when it should be self explanatory.

Anyways, as you say, most OS`s are like this....then again as Android (vanilla), iOS and WP aren't I guess that statement might be lacking.

It is simple for anyone not installing leaks, the software version is the one version number, it just so happens that BB and others also let you see the other individual version numbers such as OS, Radio etc. too.

Go look on the general about screen, it doesn't list the OS version on there does it?

You make a valid point. I believe this just goes back to the way of how BlackBerry merges their branches. It may just be easier for them to keep track of Software than OS's. Not every OS gets a SW build. As BlackBerry merges about 2 builds into the branch every hour, it would be maddening to label each with a OS/SW. I see SW as their way of saying, "ok good, this is the OS we're going with, lets label it this so we know"

I see that, I truly do, but lets not act like this doesn't happen at all the OS builder companys, yet everyone else still manages a singular build number.

that's the thing, BlackBerry isn't the norm in their naming scheme, so it cant be justified that way. to quote you from the article, 'its already confusing, right?' confusing is bad, not good.

Also you say a OS links to a SW number, so if they are paired, then why show both?
Why not, for example, have Just one number - the software build number - be shown, as `normal` people will load the official OS so there will always be a software build for that case, for test/beta OS`s it could be altered to reflect the OS build number for internal useage, but as I said wouldn't need to be included when in the final public builds.

That way when tech support say `what software are you running` there is only one answer with no confusion either end of the conversation.

Anyways, I defer to your point, its confusing for customers.
does confusing customers help? no.

Most users have NO IDEA what OS version number they're on...or software version...or whatever! My wife, for example, has a Bold 9900 and doesn't even know that (okay, she knows it's a Bold)!...let alone the fact that she's on BB OS 7.xx.

Same goes for the masses that use iPhones & Android devices. Most users, even with the launch of iOS7, think their iPhone 5 must be on OS 5.0.

The tech nerds (like those on these forums) know and care. I'm using IE10, but it's got both a version number ( and an "Update Version" (10.0.8). I never noticed that before...probably because I don't tinker w/IE very much.

Just went to local Verizon store. BlackBerry next to windows. No display no advertisements. No z10. Just a q10 phone on display. Homes is this acceptable.


If people have this many questions and / or concerns, then they should stop installing leaks and wait for official builds -or- take a technology course at their local technical school.

Posted via CB10

That's an obtuse suggestion. A tech course covering the versioning nuances of Blackberry builds? Okay.

Posted via CB10

Thanks a lot for the info.
What I have always wanted to know is: what does each number mean within an OS version? i.e. in 10.x.y.z, what does x or y or z mean, and what makes a developer go from to, rather than Why is the y skipped? How many changes in an OS you need to decide that 10.0 needs to go up to 10.1? And last but not least, from 10.x to 11.x? To an average user like me, there where not too many noticeable changes in performance when BBOS went from 4.x to 5.x, and I could say the same about some iOS's.

The main question - at last for me - is:
Is 10.2.0.xxx lower than 10.2.1.xxx or is 10.2.1.xxx just another branch?

10.2.1 is another branch and typically they will have done that due to new devices, but will also build it for the existing ones, the odds are that such a branch will be less stable than a 10.2.0 branch built around the same time as any software company puts more restrictions on what can go into software the closer it is to release or to put it another way, skip the 10.2.1 leaks for now and go with the 10.2.0 leaks if you must install one or the other. :-)

Unclear main article. As already mentioned the article does not explain what the title hints at...except to say one will see both number types referenced.

Posted via CB10

Heya Kris, I really don't want to seem petty (though I probably will). I just noticed that in the first paragraph, you used "their" instead of "there": " People are generally confused as their are two different numbers for each OS".

It isn't a huge deal, I just thought you might want to have correct grammar in an editorial piece.

Though I'm surprised that Captain Nitpick who went on about having "and" in a written-out number didn't even see that. :-P

Anyway, great piece and I'm glad you brought it up. :)


Mmmm...CB10! Just the tip though...

Can I just put it out there and say that I am very happy to see Kris posting a lot on the blogs lately as opposed to him putting things up in the forums and then another editor posts a blog and links to the forum post...Keep up the great work Kris!!

Umm... is this really a misconception? maybe it's because I'm also a Developer, but this seems like stating the obvious. And still doesn't compare software version to os version.

My understanding is that the os version should match the build numbers of the core apps, as you would typically compile all at the same time, eg, camera, hub, kernel, the things that are not available as separate installable parts.

Eg:10.2.0.(how many times you've hit the 'compile' button). The seventeen-hundred-and-twenty-fifth time we've recompiled the core stuff as an identified build. Next time we hit compile, it will be Hopefully, we have this number iterate automatically. When we've hit a milestone or branch off a piece,

The software release is how many times the core apps, kernel, etc have been packaged together as an all-encompassing installable part, eg:

10.2.0.(how many times all the stuff have been compiled as an all encompassing release that can and probably has been put onto a device and tested). The two-hundrenth-and-fifty-third time we've generated such a collection.

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

Why can't my FB app on Q10 let me checkin? It says you do not have access to device location please help

Posted via CB10