Soft Reset – the three-key battery pull for your BlackBerry

BlackBerry Soft Reset
By Joseph Holder on 14 Jun 2011 04:12 pm EDT

The other day, I was helping one of my friends get better acquainted with his new BlackBerry Torch. He's no stranger to BlackBerry, he had one before I did. In fact, if you go back and look at my CrackBerry Idol audition, he's the one with the 8820 who told me to get a BlackBerry.  Without that bit of advice, I never would have joined the CrackBerry Team. The other day, he asked me to show him how to restart his smartphone without pulling the battery. Needless to say, I forgot to show him how before I headed home; but that got me thinking. He's probably not the only one wondering how to do this; so B (and everyone else), this post is for you.

Most people know that removing the battery from your BlackBerry is a perfectly acceptable way to reset the BlackBerry. There is another way. A soft reset will accomplish the same thing as pulling the battery but without all the hassle of taking your BlackBerry out of its case, removing the battery door, pulling the battery, waiting for a few seconds, replacing the battery, replacing the battery cover, and returning the device to its protective case.

Incidentally, a "soft" reset is not a kinder, gentler way to restart your BlackBerry. Soft, in this case, means the device is reset by the SOFTware. A "hard" reset involves pulling the battery, a HARDware reset. To accomplish this soft reset, you'll hold three keys down all at the same time. On your keyboard, press and hold the ALT key, press and hold the right SHIFT key, and press DEL. In my mind, this is almost the same as pressing Control-Alt-Delete to restart a Windows PC (at least it once did).  Unfortunately for Storm and Pearl users, this soft reset is only possible on devices with QWERTY keyboards.

Though the reset starts immediately; at first, it won't appear that anything has happened. Don't worry, it has. The screen freezes and you won't be able to use the device (because it's resetting). After a moment, the screen will go blank and that comforting red LED will turn on letting you know that screen won't be blank for long. After a few moments, you'll be back in business with a refreshed BlackBerry, and you didn't even have to touch the battery.

Reader comments

Soft Reset – the three-key battery pull for your BlackBerry


Another great tip! I can't remember the last time I did a battery pull, soft resets are always the way to go for me

Hahah... I'm guessing a lot (if they didn't know about it)! My 3 neighbors have BB's and i was telling them about this a couple months back, and right after i told them the keys, i looked over and all their screens were blank from them resetting. It was pretty funny! They didn't even bother waiting

soft reset isn't necessarily going to always accomplish the same thing as a hard reset....for example with other electronics just pushing a "reset" button (soft reset) won't fix an issue, but when you take a battery out and wait a minute so all the configurations reset (hard reset) the problem is solved.


A real reset is when you take the battery out and let the capacitors discharge, so you BB will be without power.


This soft reset will accomplish all that an average user would use a battery pull for: namely, reset the device. In addition, I have found no true evidence that letting the phone's capacitors discharge fully actually provides any benefit. For that matter, just how long are you willing to wait for that to happen? In this circumstance, they won't discharge instantaneously.

Before posting this article, I researched the information and even consulted with others to make sure it is accurate. That is why there is a link to the BlackBerry Knowledge Base embedded in the article. Say what you will about the article, but please don't belittle the time and effort I put in to making sure each and every article is understandable, accurate, and useful.


it definitely is useful as most people are clueless when it comes to all the hidden features and shortcuts involved in a blackberry. What you said is accurate, just expanding on it. Before AT&T or RIM gave you a new phone they would ask you to do a battery pull as well, so there must be some logic included in it.

All this "wait a few seconds" or "wait for a minute" to "let capacitors discharge" is bunch of hogwash! This was true decades ago in the early days of computing, but in the modern age of electronics the memory would be wiped immediately after the power is lost. And any settings that are meant to be retained would still be preserved.

This soft reset is no different from battery pull.

LOL@ LayoJr.......i just reset mine...

Another thing i use every night is a app call " Restart Me". you dont have to do a battery pull!!!!

Amazing!!! lol
I've had a BB since 7290 and I'm just learning this now! What a n00b I am!

That's much more handy than having to DL an app to restart.
Thx CB!

When you are using a BB 9000 and struggling with memory issues, a battery pull seems the way to go. However, since the new update came out a week or so ago, I have not been having issues where i need to battery pull or soft reset.

As others have said, this is good for many things but a software reset such as th is (or such as various apps provide; or even such as you do when updating software) is NOT the same as a battery pull. I've had reports of rare issues such as my own app (BBSSH) having multiple failures in connectivity and rendering, that a soft reset does not clear but a hard reset does.

Not to say it isn't useful, but if you're resetting because an application is acting up, you may still want to use the old fashioned battery pull.

There is no substitute for a physical battery pull if your BB is experiencing an unusual battery drain, or some intermittent quirk in the general operation of the OS. This subject has been beaten to death on this website, SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO PULL THE BATTERY. End of story, own a blackberry for 3 years, change the OS once a month, load all kinds of terrible 3rd party apps, and tell me I'm wrong.

An article like this is always helpfull, but imo there are easier ways to do something like this. I'm offcourse reffering to apps that simulate a batterypull. Like Quickpull (although that one doesnt always work for some reason on my Torch)

Quickpull works great, but there are times where an app freezes on the phone and you can't get to the home screen to run Quickpull. The Alt-Shift-Delete trick works great in those circumstances and for me, fixes 99% of the issues I might have.

I have a 9700 and alt-shift-delete doesn't always work for me. Actually find it faster to slip the battery out myself.


i also feel that it did not work all the time, have to do it a couple of times before it reset.

But i found out why, IMHO, we should press it in a sequence order and hold it, not press it at the same time. So my experience is press alt(hold), press right shift(Hold) and press Del(Hold). It works most of the time.


I think my hands must be deformed or something because I can't seem to accomplish pressing those three keys at the same time.

I must be doing something wrong.


Wow ..... it works.
I started off with the Pearl, and had to do a pull about once a week.
Then, upgraded to the Curve ... maybe did a pull or 2 in a period of 18 months.
Then upgraded to a Bold 9700 (AWESOME PHONE!) I haven't pulled yet.

Guess they perfected the smartphone!

In all honesty .... GO OUT AND TRY THE BOLD 9700 at your carrier. You will realize that it is a great phone after using it for one or two days. Very classy, sharp, sexy .... it's the best!

I tried it on my Torch, and it worked. The soft reset did the same thing that the phone does when I pull the battery. The "black" screen with the Blackberry Logo came up along with the white bar. In addition, when the phone came up, there was a security verification.

Thanks for this tip Joseph... I like it... I learn something new everyday....:)

It works ok for my torch, especially considering I have the uber cumbersome OtterBox case, but I still find I need to do a hard reset because the soft one doesn't always achieve the desired results-6 of one, half dozen of the other IMO

First of all thanks for the tip, I bought Quickpull a while back for my 9700 and always had problems getting it to work, so I'd pull off the back and pull the battery. Working with V6.0.0.534 I do a reset once every 3 or 4 days, This came in handy. I'll see how well it will work going forward. Again thanks

Soft reset definitely works the same as a hard reset. Been a heavy crackberry user for over 6 years. Never once has a hard reset done me better than a soft. The author is spot on correct in his statements.

Okay I just did this soft reset and it dropped my 8900's battery from to 2 out of 5 little clicks tick things, to red and 4%. It drastically kills your battery.

Great tip - it's so useful being able to do a soft reset on the 9900. Had a Storm2 before and kept having to do hard reset.