Use the red phone key to power down your BlackBerry

Use the red key to turn off your phone
By Joseph Holder on 10 Jun 2011 09:08 am EDT

Wait, wait; hang on. We put a lot of effort into our CrackBerry Tips, and we've specifically crafted them to appeal to users of all levels. Even though the subject may be simple, we try to delve just a little bit deeper to find some nugget of wisdom that many people can find useful and helpful.

Today, we look at that red phone key. I'll get the really basic stuff out of the way first. To turn "off" your phone, hold the Red phone key. I say, "off" because a modern wireless phone is never "off" unless you pull the battery. Carrier updates and some other functions still work when the phone is off. But why would you ever want turn off your BlackBerry?

The answer: to get some piece and quiet. Your BlackBerry is an always-on, always-connected device; messages and other communiqués arrive at all hours of the day, mere instants after they were sent. When you're trying to get some sleep, those message notifications can get pretty darn annoying. Sure you can turn notifications off, and I've even got a special sound profile to keep things quiet while charging. Sometimes, though, I forget to change those profiles and get woken in the middle of the night.

There is another way. In Today's CrackBerry Tip, we look at setting your phone to automatically power off and then back on at whatever time you desire.

Auto On/Off Features of BlackBerry OS6 & OS5

Your BlackBerry comes equipped with an auto-on/auto-off function. Again, the strain of the always-on, always-connected device can become great. While the BlackBerry is an excellent communications device, its curse is that people know they can always call or send a message to your BlackBerry. Sometimes, its good to take yourself off the grid. You don't work 24 hours each day, why should your BlackBerry?

If you've ever turned off your BlackBerry by holding down the Red Phone Key, you may have noticed something. If you're like me, you have your BlackBerry set to alarm when it's time to wake up. Unless you have Auto On/Off enabled, your smartphone will automatically power on when its time for the alarm to sound. You'll get a message telling you when the phone will automatically turn on.

You can also set your phone to automatically power down for the night and then wake at a certain time. You even have the option of setting different times for the weekend, Saturday and Sunday.

OS6: Open Options -> Device -> Auto On/Off
OS5: Open Options -> Auto On/Off

Here, you simply check the box or select Enabled from the drop-down list to activate that setting. Remember that the Weekday setting is for Monday-Friday, while the weekend settings are for Saturday and Sunday. Get yourself a nice peaceful night's sleep with the Auto On/Off settings of your BlackBerry.

Reader comments

Use the red phone key to power down your BlackBerry


What I do for the night is have my clock set to go into bedside mode when I plug it in during certain hours. When it enters bedside mode, I have it set to go to Phone Only.

But I had never played with the auto on/off...I'll have to check that out...would be great for Sunday church - don't have to worry about turning the Berry off.

In Bedside Mode you can set what profile you want :D or only phone calls ;) I set mine LED ON and only Phone calls ;) BSM is the thing for BB-Torch ;)

I put mine in BlackBerry Torch Charging Pod Every Night ;)

The auto on/off has saved my marriage. I get a bunch of emails at night, shipment notification, invoices, PO confirmation and such and they come in groups which can be quite annoying. Phone turns off weekdays at 11pm and turns back on at 5:30am. it also gives me the ability to counter my wife statement that I am "On my BB 24/7" . How could that be honey, it turns off every day for 6 hours.

Joseph, I think the article's title is a bit misleading... You barely mentioned the red buttom and rambled about auto on/off (which was a very good surprise, some people really should use it and don't know about it).

How much info is really needed about the red key? It has the "power" symbol right on it. Anyone unfamiliar with a cell phone could immediately see that the red key is the power key, and anybody who is familiar with cell phones knows that "green" is call and "red" is hang-up. Other than the fact it returns you to the Home screen without closing the current app, what else is there to know about the red key?

I don't think you can turn the Storm on and off using the Red key. I'm pretty sure you have to press and hold the "Lock" key on the top left of the phone. It's been over a year since I had my Storm though, so I could be wrong here.

Your are correct! I just comfirmed this on my Storm2, the End/Red key does not shut down the phone. You have to press and hold the lock key for about 20 sec.

Last night I turned off my BlackBerry for the first time in 2 years. And now it's 16 hours I'm using it with Data Services off.

I feel strange: finally some peace!
Tonight for the first time I fell asleep without having my ears listening for the phone vibrating.

It's such a peaceful experience! I'm going to do this for at least a few more days.

Auto off and on is a must use feature. In a world where we are constantly waiting for the next notification, a little rest from all the noise is beneficial. I wish there was a function to set the time for sound profiles (apps? OS7?). I'm scared one day I will miss the "emergency" call.. :-(

yes, I was thinking the same thing.

Could have profiles auto set for night so you don't have to power down you're phone, and still have all you're messages and notifications already there in the morning. Also, it would be brilliant for work/school. How handy having you're phone automatically setting itself to silent for school.

Even in the evenings when my family starts going to bed. I'm often the last up. Im always switching to silent around then cus I don't want to disturb anyone. I could forget and leave my phone in my room, but it would be silent already! would be perfect!

yeah so 'auto' on and off is an invaluable feature. the bid RED button however, is NOT. i use it as an 'end' button when i get frustrated with an app or the endless hourglass. that effin button has been sooooo abused on my Torch. even to end a call, i can just slide 'er down and it's over.

piece out

Except that you understand that the red key doesn't end apps, yes? It just returns you to the home screen. Try it...go to your task manager, and you'll likely find the problem app is still open.

I use bedside mode every night.
I like how the screen stays lit until I turn my lights off, and then it dims. Clever!

i have NEVER turned my BB off in 2 and half years

set my email alerts to silent over night and ust go through them in the morning!

never know when gonna get a emergency phone call - or booty call :p so it is always on for me!

The only thing missing in bedside mode is a way to allow calls from only certain contacts to ring and ignore all others. The Level 1 setting only works for messages for selected contacts but not for incoming calls from those contacts...
I suggested RIM to incorporate that functionality which is importat to have. In my specific case I would want calls from my family to ring in case of an emergency but ignore everyone else...
Hopefully they'll listen...

I use the auto on/off every night and love the option for weekday and weekends. But one thing that annoys me is that all the emails that come in between the time the phone powered off and the time it comes back on shows the time received (in my inbox) as the same time the phone powered back on. If I open up the email it will show the actual time it came in. But if I want to know the actual time an email was received, I have to open it up. Anyone else frustrated by this?

"The answer: to get some piece and quiet."...a piece of what? I get a piece of quiet when I turn my BlackBerry off? How big a piece is it? Sliver sized? A big wedge? That should be the follow up for your next column. ;-)

I will now leave you in peace...