Text messaging using BlackBerry Messenger

Using BBM to SMS
By Joseph Holder on 12 Aug 2011 11:55 am EDT

So you want to use BlackBerry Messenger to send text messages, do you? I don't blame you. BBM is an excellent place for keeping up with the people you message most frequently. Chat threads are saved and easily continued. Contacts can be split into different categories like "work" and "family" and "Wednesday Night Bowling League." And I find it much easier to start a text conversation by opening BBM and tapping on a contact. To send that same message using the Messages app, I have to open the app; touch Compose Message; then Text; then type in the name of the contact; and press enter. Already, BlackBerry Messenger is looking like a great place to store my text messaging BBM Contacts.

When a BBM contacts messages you, you'll get the standard new BBM notification. Whether that message comes from an actual BBM message or from a text message doesn't matter. After linking your BBM contacts to a BlackBerry Contact or adding a text only contact to BBM, you'll be able to converse entirely with that most powerful of messaging applications, BlackBerry Messenger.

Text Messages from BBM Contacts

BlackBerry Contacts added to BBM 

My BBM contacts still send me text messages now and again, especially those still new to BlackBerry and/or smartphones in general. To make sure those text messages show up in BBM, you'll need to make sure those BBM contacts are linked to a BlackBerry Contact. Then, in the BBM options (Menu key -> Options), make sure "Show Text Messages From Contacts Linked With BlackBerry Contacts" has a check mark in the box beside it.

Text Only BBM

Adding a text messaging contact to BBM 

As of this writing, the entire world has not adopted BlackBerry as the one and only wireless phone. There are Android phonesWindows Phones, some obscure device called an iPhone, and I'm sure there's still plenty of people rocking an ol' Motorola RAZR. Though these people can't have BBM, it at least can look that way from your end. 

To begin, add a contact as you normally would. From the BBM menu, select Invite to BBM. Don't worry if the other person doesn't have a BlackBerry. At the bottom of the options that appear, select "Add a contact for text within BBM. Where you see "Phone" at the top of the next screen, type in a phone number or the contact's name in your BlackBerry contacts. If you use one of your Contacts, BBM will fill in most of the information for you. Select a category for your new BBM contact and click the Add Contact button at the bottom.

In Conclusion 

Using text messaging isn't a perfect substitution to BlackBerry Messenger. Text messages are limited to 160 characters (though if you go over, your BlackBerry will just send multiple texts as usual). Pictures and other media will take longer to send as they are chopped into 160 character segments. And of course, you won't get the Delivered and Read notifications.

Still, I find BlackBerry Messenger to be a superior app, even when just text messaging someone.  

Reader comments

Text messaging using BlackBerry Messenger


Word. I never go into my "SMS". Anyone who doesn't have a Blackberry gets added to BBM so it looks like BBM to me.

Question - even though I think i know the answer. If you use BBM to send text, is it using your data plan or going to cost me 1 txt message from my carrier?

Guessing the latter...

Are there any programs out there that uses your data plan for texting?

On my OS 5 Tour, the texts still come through the SMS style, and not into the BBM bubble style. Wonder why that is.

Personally, I dislike this option. I used to like it, but since more and more BBM contacts started texting me, while their contact information was linked, it became annoying.
I like to close my conversations, and I found that doing this within BBM would delete the SMS from the SMS application, and the SMS is not saved in the BBM chat history. I lost some important stuff.

This is precisely the reason I do not use this feature. I like to close BBM conversations and rely on the history. You cannot do that here.

The only problem I have is that even if you add them to your bbm

1.They don't appear on your playbook
2.The text is once again limited.

I personally use crunch SMS and am hoping for an app that bridges texting from your phone through the playbvook.

i used to love bbm. i still have a place for it in my heart.., but its sure getting rough to defend.

since the "upgrade" to bbm6 i can now no longer send any media files to any contacts, i downgraded to the last version, and a few days later saw there was another small upgrade to another version of bbm6, foolishly i decided to "upgrade" once again, still no support for sending media. yet its touted as a great feature? not to mention that it now takes up to 9seconds (yes i counted) for the message i typed out and sent to even show up in the chat log. not to mention that when i type 50% of the time, the letters i press dont even register and the whole app lags like crazy so ill finish typing and a few seconds later bits and pieces of my chopped up message appear in the text field out of order and merged together, then take another 9sec to even show up in the chat log.

so yea, bbm is sure failing hard in a time where there are now multiple alternatives to it.

i have a BB for 3 reasons. keyboard, status light, BBM

for the record im running a 9650 on vzw with the latest official os6. i have 196mb of app memory free and this is with no other applications running other than fightin words on occasion, but i have tested it with and without background apps running. the typing lag issue seems to occur about 50% of the time, but the image sending problem is constant and has been an issue since i upgraded.

im now forced to spend money on SMS because RIM released an upgrade to its flagship application and it doesnt even work at the most basic of levels. not to mention the "great app integration" with all those non existant apps..

ill be getting a 9930 when it releases, but if i run back into these problems i think i may have to jump ship to an iphone. im not a apple fanboy or a RIM hater by the least, i love my BB when it works, but thats just the problem..i need it to WORK.

cmon RIM...seriously.

anyone else on the same boat? i know im not alone ive seen the forums...

That's b een my experience with my 9650 in general, lately. I think it has been a bit worse since I upgraded to .600, but...I'm getting more and more frustrated with that and hourglass. I can't find anyone else who will acknowledge a few constant problems I have (like this one), either!
Good to know you exist!


its always somethin right?

i think im just going to downgrade to os5 today after work. its pretty clear to me at this point that os6 was never ment to run on a 9650..

tired of problems..not to mention since app world 3 and bbm6 and FB2.0 my battery life has dwindled to half wat it used to be..

I knew that when I bought it...in the back of my head, I knew it..."more RAM, but they didn't upgrade the processor?" I knew it...

It has me tempted to buy a new Bold, even though I know 6 months from now a new oS will be released (QNX) that the phone won't be able to run well...and I'll be back in this same boat!

Ah...so the problem remains with this phone...

And if you have, like I do, contacts with loads of email/numbers, each time you click them, you need to select where the message is going to.

Somewhat annoying.

I cant scroll down below select from bbm groups. under that it only says invite text messaging contact no where does it say add a contact to text with bbm. this could be that i have the 8350i. its not exactly the best blackberry out there. so far this makes the upgrade a big disappointment.

I am unable to link contacts, the option for linking is NOT there. how do I get it.

1) I added the contact to bbm
2) I highlighted the contact and press menu, scroll to "view contact profile
3) no option for linking

any ideas?

I do not like the fact that it shows up in both my BBM and Text Messages folders....anywhere to have it just shown in my BBM??

For some reason when I add a text only contact to BBM, it eventually duplicates itself, so that the message shows up twice in the message folder.

It's annoying and even if you delete one the messages the other one stays until you do a reboot.

The only issue with this option is I can never get custom sounds per contact to work in BBM, it just rings the BBM notification sound. It is nice to hear a specific sound for a text per person to see if I want to bother to look at it.

Yea you are so right that went off like a light bulb in my head when I read that thx. I want specific ringtones/alerts for contacts and I'm not willing to lose that for texting through BBM I hardly use it anyway.I would however like to utilize it more so if anyone knows some good groups or just want to talk BB then add me pin:32f56572

I have a 8330 and would love to do my texting through BBM, but I don't see this option. Anyone know why?

I only have "invite by sending a PIN or email message" and "invite by scanning a PIN barcode".

Is it just because my phone is old? (Unrelatedly, OMG Sprint, get the Bold 9930 out NOW).

I tried this, but found it annoying that the conversation showed up in both the Text Messages AND in BBM. I don't need to read it twice! Is there a work around for this? I'd love to only use BBM but it is annoying to have to check text messages as well because the conversations with my non-BBM friends show up in both places. Any thoughts or solutions?

i really liked being able to do use his feature but once you close the message it deletes all the messages in the text......for some reason i don't mind BBMs closing out but i like to keep my text messages on my device until i clear all my messages....

I feel SO dumb asking this, but it does use my data plan to send messages, right?

If so, hello texting international civilians!!!! :D

I know I can use WhatsApp Messenger, or LiveProfile...but it'd be nice to use BlackBerry Messenger for once.

Also, if you'd like, you can hit me up via my PIN:

Maybe I'm just missing something, but I am really confused. I am trying to link contacts to BBM, and once I add a text messaging contact, and click on the contact in BBM, it takes me to the SMS chat style of before. It doesn't show up looking like BBM style. The picture above depicts "Brooks" not being a BlackBerry user, and his chat style shows up as BBM. What am I not doing??

so if you "invite them to BBM" do they have to do anything? or does it automatically work and let you text them in the BBM app?