The secret BlackBerry address books

By IsaacKendall on 20 Jun 2011 11:24 am EDT
Arnold holding Bold

Ever needed to have a contact's number in your phone but didn't really want their name in your address book 'just in case' you were in a situation where other prying eyes are interested in who is in your BlackBerry address book?  This "feature" I found a few years ago I'm assuming is a bug in the OS, and is so far down the priority list of things for RIM to worry about that is now a permanent feature.

OK, full disclosure, because my wife and her friends read - I personally do not use this feature.  I only found it by accident and the way my brain works sometimes is to look several moves down the chessboard and see how this can be implemented.  I do know several people that when I have shown this to have in fact put it into play.

So with that all out of the way let's get down to the good stuff...

Alicia wrote a 101 earlier this year that you can create One-Touch speed dials on your BlackBerry smartphone. It was a great article that showed off a terrific BlackBerry feature.  The One-Touch feature is where the code error and birth of this feature exists.

As the 101 article showed, when you create a one-touch, part of the process is that your address book pops up and you're asked which BlackBerry contact you'd like to associate with one-touch key 'z' or whatever key your heart desires.  Once you select the contact and save the one-touch, a separate database is created and never again the two shall meet.

Here's an example, let's say Adam's phone number was 973-888-8888 and I assign one-touch dial "z" to that number.

One-Touch Speedial Example

Now, Adam hi's my up on BBM and tells me he's changed his phone number to 973-777-7777, so I jump into my address book and update his phone number.

One-Touch Speedial Example

OK fast forward to some point in the future and I need to call Adam. I press and hold the "Z" key on my BlackBerry and get an automated response that the number is no longer in service.  After a brief moment of my inferiority complex coming out and me wondering why Adam would change his number and not tell me, I realize my BlackBerry dialed the wrong number.

One-Touch Speedial Example

I changed the number in the address book but the One-Touch database is still showing the old number.  This will also function the same as a One-Touch you set and subsequently delete the corresponding address book entry.  Say I have a 'friend' named Charlene and wanted to put her number in my phone but don't necessarily want Charlene's number to appear in my regular address book.

I create an address book entry and assign a One-Touch "C" for her.  Once that is completed jump back into the address book and delete Charlene.  As long as the letter "C" isn't long-pressed accidentally the number for Charlene  stays private.

Another great way to compartmentalize your address books is to save 'certain' numbers on your SIM (regrets to CDMA readers). Those entries are segregated to a part of the BlackBerry that unless you really are looking for them you may have troubles finding them.

To access numbers stored on the SIM card you need to be in the Address Book of your BlackBerry.

  • Press the MENU button and select "SIM Phone Book"
  • If you have not accessed this in sometime it may take a moment to read
  • Voila! the unseen address entries are revealed

Of course if you find some entries here and would like them transferred to your regular address book, lovely and talented Alicia wrote that tutorial up just recently.

There are two other options for you to prevent any potential issues with controversial address entries:

  1. Put a password on your BlackBerry
  2. Memorize the phone numbers in question and don't put them in your BlackBerry

Reader comments

The secret BlackBerry address books


im new to team crackberry and using a PB and a friends older curve. i wish i didnt have to wait any longer for the 9930, but i love that there are new tricks being found still after all these years. you guys keep this site on point. im addicted

In my Storm 2 this does not work. I changed some spped dials then deleted them and the changes did not stay, it reverted back to old information

It won't work in the Storm as the Storm only has limited speed dial capacity due to the loss of a physical keyboard.

Curious, if one used this 'trick', if you then opened the phone call history, the number would still show, as well as the name attached to it, no?

I would think yes the # would show in call history, their is no longer any name associated to it so only #. Which if one was being that secretive they probably will have the foresight to delete that # in call history. Just don't let, who you are hiding this from, read the BILL.

I use a 9700. I also found out about this 'bug' a while ago when I moved, but the speed dial for home still dial the old number. Never think it could be use this way...haha.

I used to just memorize the numbers:P

Just save the number as a fake person from work! Or save it as a 2nd number for an existing contact then call log will show you rang a real friend when in fact your ringing your secret friend ;)

Or don't have an affair, plenty of options

You can also go into "View speedial list" and when you press the key to progrm, BB brings up your contacts but in doing so it also offers you the choice of "Use Once" and will not add the number to your address book either.

This article is extremely confusing and I'm more confused now than before I started reading it! Why not just change the name to someones number so that if prying eyes are looking thru your addy book they won't see the name and will more than likely bypass it? Talk about being complicated people...

Cuz they are still in your phone book. Should your bf/gf look in it and see your calling "Grandma" alot and your Grandma doesn't use her cell phone other than to prop up her Tea Table..... I think they will think something is up.