Utility App / OS Request: Do Something to Prevent Me From Accidentally Hanging Up On People When Using Apps While on a Call

By Kevin Michaluk on 11 May 2010 05:08 pm EDT

* Update - More Ideas: Lots of great comments on this one which proves this problem goes well beyond just me. Another great suggestion that may fit better within the BlackBerry way of doing things (vs. introducing the concept of a double click) woud be to add a pop-up with the "are you sure you want to end this call?" question when you hit the end key when on a call but NOT in the phone app. Yet another option, when outside the phone app, is to have a tap of the end key take you back to the homescreen, while a press and hold on the end key hangs up on the call (the menu key does this for launching the app switcher, so also fits within the BlackBerry way of doing things. And yet one more option... why not just make it so that that when you're on a call but outside the phone app, the end key simply no longer works as a hang up button. Instead, people have to talk the green call key to return to the phone app, and from there they can hang up. *

There's over 40 million active BlackBerry users out there, so I CAN'T BE THE ONLY ONE who gets ticked off when this happens....

One of the things I have absolutely LOVED about my BlackBerry from day one is the fact that while I'm talking to somebody on the phone, I can hit the escape/back key and exit to the homescreen and actually USE the device while on a call. So if I'm talking to somebody and they ask me for a person's number, I can quickly look it up in the address book and give it to them without missing a beat. Or if the person on the call wants to discuss an email they sent, I can exit the call, go to the homescreen, open up the email app and find their email and read it while talking to them. It's a beautiful thing.

HOWEVER... this awesome functionality runs into one major snag on the BlackBerry operating system... and that's the fact then most BlackBerry users (or me anyways) pretty much ALWAYS hit the red end call key to return to the homescreen. In normal device use, it works great... you're in an app, hit the end key and return to the homescreen and open another app, hit it again to return to the homescreen again and open another app, etc. etc.. That's pretty much how people get back to the homescreen from within an app, unless they choose to back out of an app with the escape/back button or actually hit the menu key and fully exit/close the app (I guess some crazy people might open the application switcher and click back to home, but that's two clicks vs. one of just hitting end key).

When on a phone call though, this everyday habitual habit of exiting to the homescreen by hitting the end key causes a slight hiccup... IT ENDS THE CALL! Seriously... it's only Tuesday as I write this and I've already accidentally hung up on THREE people this week. It's getting annoying. My quick solution to this: why not have it so that when you choose to leave the phone app and continue a call from the homescreen, that hanging up requires a double tap of the end call key. So if you're in the phone app, hitting the end call key hangs up the phone. HOWEVER, if you're on a call but NOT in the phone app, then it requires a double press to hang up. This would really change my life... for the better!

Sooo... if there is a developer out there who can whip me up a little utility app that gives me this functionality, let's have it! We can call it the CrackBerry Kevin app or CBK app for short (or something else.. lol). And if RIM would like to put this into BlackBerry 6 that would be awesome. And if this functionality is somehow how there and I just don't know about it yet, let me know that too so I can install it myself and whip it into a blog post and help everybody out there who has also run into this issue.  Ok thanks. Bye.  / end hyper chaotic rant

Reader comments

Utility App / OS Request: Do Something to Prevent Me From Accidentally Hanging Up On People When Using Apps While on a Call


is to make your side convienance key to the application switcher, this works great for me. Granted you have to hit the key then scroll & press the home icon, so it is 2 presses, but it works well.

I always hit the back key and it takes me to the home screen. Why are y'all hitting the end key? lol

Oh, and kevin... is that 1230 emails? Don't you clean your mailbox out often? haha! omg, that would stress me out.

...should it? That button has a phone that shows "hang up" on the call. Not "go-to-another-screen-while-I'm-on-a-call"

How hard is it to get in the habit of pressing the return key instead of the red button? I would recommend prying off the key if it's really that big of an issue...

i only hit the red end key when I want to hang up on a call. Why would it be used for something else? I don't get it...

You don't ever use the red key to go to the home screen? I do it all the time when I'm in and application and want to leave it running, ie facebook, associated press app.

I don't hang up on someone but once or twice a week when I'm doing this but it is an inconvenience for those who do it a lot.

...blackberry is so stingy with memory that I don't want a gazillion things running all the same time. I'm not inconvenienced by it.

I see your point with that one but one of my most used apps is facebook and I leave it on status updates so I don't have to re-open it and get the news feed everytime and then manually switch it.

I would like to see a poll on who uses the back key and who uses the red key to get to homescreen. That would give us a better idea of who this app could really be useful for.

I can't believe people really do that. I always press the U-turn button (The button next to the red button.) until I'm at the home screen and then I press the green button and I'm back to the phone. HEY can I work at CB.com? LOL

ive done this before, enough times the app would be nice but i have gotten much better with it.

can we just acknowledge the fact that kevin has 1230 unopened emails!

I hear ya on that one, I couldn't imagine having my phone blow up to that extent. Emails, Facebook, BBM, Twitter... too much for me but would you expect any different from a crackberry genius as such.

Wow! I thought I was the only one. Happens to me all the time (damn I sound like Flo).

And trying to explain why you hung up on someone out of habit never works.

That's not too bad of a solution, I'm just afraid I would hit the red key twice thinking it just didn't recognize the first push (especially after having used .591 for a little while)

Also I find it drives me batty that I can't look at my recent calls while on a call. I sometimes use my phone dialer to quickly type a random number I need to remember by calling and hanging up (I know I could just hit 'D' can type a note). But I can't view that number if I'm on a call, so I have to sound like my Mom and say "oh wait, I can't get a number since I'm on the phone, I'll have to hang up and write the number down and call you back"

Ditto... habit is just to back out of apps with the End key... Half the time I think about it, then do it anyways...

We need a solution for this. It embarrassing to call back the person and tell them I accidentally hung up on them.

This really happens all the time! You're right, Kevin, something as easy as making it a double tap to end the call except on the phone app would change my 3G BlackBerry experience sooo much for the better...

I do this all the time! I cannot stand to have unopened emails on my BB. Work yeah who cares, but my BB? NEVER.

PLEASE someone create this. Thanks for this post. This is worse that the "why can't my Blackberry vibrate and ring at the same time" conversation years back.

...changed a theme on your device, make sure the permissions are all set to 'allow' so it works properly with all your 3rd party apps.

I think I'm with mhoogasian on this. I'm not sure I even realized you could use the End call key like that. I always use the U-turn / back key to back out of an application. I find that holding it, rather than pressing it, exits back to the home screen in almost any application as well. So, you don't have to keep pressing it multiple times.

I think I'd rather the End call key actually end calls, rather than optimizing it for something that I'm not sure it was really meant for in the first place. Otherwise, if you really did want to hang up the phone call, you have to first go back to the phone application and then press the end call key, just to hang up, or press the button twice to do the action that the button was really meant for in the first place.

I guess, when it comes down to it, I just never used that button for that purpose.

I've always had the habit of pressing the red button like twice or even three times to end a call, don't know why, so this idea fits me perfectly :-D!

Obviously, it should be an Option or a Third Party app, not a definitive change in the OS.

...it isn't something I have ever done as I just tend to use the BB button and change the screen when on a call that way. I do use the red button when not on a call so it may well happen eventually. I'd probably end up not ending the call when I meant to and getting caught out saying something 'untoward'....

It's that Ahhh CRAP! Moment, when you hit the end key and suddenly you're no longer talking or you've dropped yourself from a conference call. How do I hate this, especially explaining why I dropped and called back in on a conference call, jeeesh!

Make it and I'll buy it.

Dont you just have to hold the bb menu key, then choose home screen?

Thought thats how ive done it..could be wrong...gotta check that one out.

I tell ya,...I have to actually "think" not to hit the Red button whenever I want quickly check a text during a call.

...lets do this with the quickness...

Have Bold Will Travel!!

It hapend to me many times and now I say to people that I have to give a contact to call me back!

My wife calls me and if she wants to know be it an appointment or look up a phone, I use the red end call button. However by the looks of the posts here, I might hang up on her one of these days.

I had to break myself of the habit of using the End key when I got my old 8130, not enough memory to be running more than one thing at a time. So I got used to holding the BB key to switch out of the phone app while on a call, which also avoids that pesky message about exiting to the home screen.
Actually, that could be engineered to pop up when not on the phone screen thereby forcing people to actually switch back to that screen to end calls.

I have this happen to me occasionally and it is out of habit. While I agree something should be done, I am not convinced that a double-tap standard is the solution. When I am in the middle of a phone call, I expect that when I press the Red button it will hang up (end) the conversation. Having to hit more than one button to terminate a conversation on a phone is not very sensible. Even if I am in the middle of an application, I should not have to minimize or exit out of my apps to terminate a phone call. On a phone, phone calls should have priority over apps.

I agree this should be addressed... pressing more buttons to terminate a call is not the answer.

This is an overlooked item on our BB Phones but this is also one of the best posts-requests i have seen. The double tap would be great and a viable request to make happen.
Good job in thinking on this one and authoring this post Kevin.

I was on hold once for 2 and a half hours and while checking a text message pressed the red button to go back to the home screen, result: had to be on hold for another three hours. Lesson learned: Do not do anything while on hold for fear of that happening again.

everything i exit i always hit that end call button... EVERY SINGLE TIME!!

i would like if they fixed it good. and also, if there was any way to allow you to customize the 2 top buttons on the blackberry bold 9700 buttons. i've been an iphone user for 2 years and i would like to perfer standby button on the righ rather than the left.

but if blackberry would allow that feature as well - that'd be awesome.

all the time brother, all the time.

but if it requires two taps I could see lag/freezing causing people to hit it multiple times and again hang up anyway

Oh here's a thought for hang-up prevention whether built-in or 3rd party app: in the phone app the End key works normal, press once and done. When on a call as well as using any other app/function, pressing the End key gives you a popup asking if you would like to end the call or switch out of the app (End doesn't close apps).
I would still prefer not having the End key hang up at all unless on the phone screen but not everyone does things the same.

YUP.. that's a great idea too. sort of fits more within the BB way of doing things than introducing the notion of a second click. I LIKES it a LOT! I added this idea as an update to the post above.

It's a icon of a phone w/ the power logo = HANG UP!!!
When in doubt, refrain from answering/checking your messages until after you get off the phone!!! I know it's probably really hard but you can do it!!!

This has never happened to me with the BlackBerry. Now, that's a little different with the iPhone.

I do this at least once a day. I used to do this multiple times a phone call. An app or some "are you sure" feature would be amazing!

Wow, glad to know others have the same problem. I would love such a feature. The double tap seems to make the most sense for me, but then again, I do tend to sometimes hit the end key a bunch of time to get back to home, so maybe the traditional BlackBerry "Are you sure?" screen would make more sense. Either way, I rarely pay for applications and would actually pay money for this one.

I agree with you, something should be done. It's a shame RIM hasn't come up with a solution or someone hasn't invented it yet! I'll buy!

I just want to get the keyboard lock back on my blackberry back... After that update I was kind of bummed out. Yeah it improve my battery life n my internet speeds. But that little simple feature to lock your keyboard and being able to put your phone in your pocket. Without calling someone was cool. I just hope they can bring that back!!! Verizon step up your game...

I'm a long time BB dev and I don't think this is possible for a third party dev. You can't stop the phone app from receiving the End key event, even if you register a global key listener and try to handle the key press event. I've already tried this and the phone still handles the key press event despite all attempts to kill the event.

While I agree that there should be an answer for this, I must also admit I have never had it happen to me. I really believe it has to do more with how you learned to operate your Berry and habit. You get used to doing something a certain way and then all of a sudden that method doesn't work under a specific set of circumstances. Unfortunately it is difficult to then break that habit. A great analogy is this: I have a torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder. Every time I get in the car, I reach for the seat belt with my left hand and get hit with a sharp pain. Nine weeks later, even after all that pain, the habit of reaching for the seat belt with my left hand is still there because it is automatic, a habit. So I feel all your pain, the habit is hard to break and I hope they come up with an app to fix it for you. Now if they could just come up with an app to get my seat belt using my right hand, I'd be a happy camper too, :LOL

you know i've never done this cuz i know the red end key will kill my phone call lol

I've always pushed the back button since the start.

I don't remember ever hanging up on someone when closing or getting out of apps. Then again, I think of my BlackBerry as a Phone First device so I've always handled the red key as an END CALL key, not a Back to Homescreen key.

I know holding the end call button turns the phone off if held long enough; but what if this app required you to hold the end call button for 2 seconds to end the call, but a simple click would exit so you could access apps. I think it takes longer than that to trigger the turn off feature.

Yup, i think a tap vs. hold would work too when outside the phone app.

So many options I'd be happy with here... i want to see any of them!

LMAO! red buttons are red so u DONT press it so casually! ut it is a frequent problem. Not one ive had.
1230 emails! and only 2 BBMs? Crackberry addict? not fully! JK! LOL!

Not that I disagree. But, I prefer RIM to add more function on back button. For example hold press back button to go to HomeScreen. So we can make it a "safe" habit LOL

I either use the app switcher (hold BB key and go to homescreen) or use the back button. When finished with an app, I press menu, close, and that's it. Red = End key = Hang up.

As others have stated, pressing the End key while in apps has become and always has been a BAD HABIT for BB users to develop because it doesn't always close an app. Use the Back key to do so or hit Menu/Close. Either way, I can't believe no one's mentioned one small proposed detail... while outside of the Phone app, why the f does the End key even need to function as the hang up key for the Phone app. If the Phone app is not the active app, End should not function as hang up. Simple as that. If you want to hang up on someone, simply hit Send once to flip back to the Phone app and then hit End, but by then, if the other party has already ended the conversation and hung up with you, there's no need as the call has already ended.

For being a platform that's touted as being efficient in use, RIM/BB sure has a funny way of showing it in non-logical ways of doing things. Their solutions are too black and white and not enough grey... maybe because there's not enough grey matter behind the OS development. lol ;)

I thought I was the only one struggling with this snafu, glad to see its being given serious consideration by the crackberry team...and I hope something can come out of RIM to correct this, if not from the brain of some over-zealous app maker.

Total problem sooo many time i have call somebody back and sheepishly explain i was checking my email while talking to them on a headset and completely forgot my blackberry is a phone lol

This is not so great tool for Blackberry that it is a featured on Crackberry, well it is good for some users, especially by GF she always do that on me !! HAHA

I was always bugged by the fact that hitting End while in an application left the application open, so I didn't use it. I'd pick up my wife's phone and see her contacts, calculator, address book, and such all open when she wasn't using the phone. Also, when on an 8320, it pays to keep as much closed as possible. So for me, the End button pretty much only ends calls.

I just close out of the apps I'm running while on the phone or if I can't I just (& I like how some people have put it) "U-turn" it, I can't remember a time when I've actually used to the hang-up button during a call because I know I'm on a call! Just the other day I needed to access my contacts so I just hit speakerphone, then went into my contacts while keeping the conversation going.

I would love this app or addition to the blackberry OS, I'm constantly hanging up on callers because I forget that the end button doesn't work as "backup" or "exit" while on a phone call. Please take this into consideration as an much needed improvement to the blackberry platform.

I completely disagree with the double tap idea. For those of us who have gotten used to this and don't see it as a problem I would rather not tap my red ohone key to hang up and the call still be there and have the potential of the caller still hearing me talk, sing, or embarrass myself. Instead, how about an option that asks you if you'd like to exit the current application or hang up the call. Similar to the option we get when we exit the call and return to the home screen I think this would work. What do you think?

hahhaa, great rant. I've done this numerous times as well. It'd be great if BB can introduce a fix into their OS.

I vote for the press and hold to end a call, even if you're in the phone app. Initially some may accidentally not end their call, but it will end anyway as soon as the other party hangs up. So for those who accidentally hang up often, what is your favorite word to say when it happens? :)
The screenshot show that if you want to hear back from Kevin today you have to BBM him. If it can wait till next month, email!

Why don't you just get use to pressing the Blackberry button....if you use bluetooth or a headphone set while talking, you are less likely to press the red button and more app to just switch applications as if you were playing music or something.

That the end button takes you instantly to the home screen? WOW. I USED to use this all the time until this past weekend end my phone fell in the pool...its back to life, everything EXCEPT the End Call/Power button. I dunno what to do.

I have inadvertently hung up on too many calls this way and would love the confirmation before I hang up, and eventually I'd get out of the habit of hitting end when on a call and out of the phone app, OR I'd take the long press option, I don't wanna double click anything on my BB except the space bar for periods.

Also, RIM, while you're tinkering with the phone app,.PLEASE bring back the End Call menu option in the next OS upgrade! Why was this removed? I didn't even find out it was removed until this weekend when I water damaged my phone and the end call no longer works, I'm so handicapped it's not even funny.

Anyone know of a shortcut to end calls? I just cant do it now that my Power/End Call button wont respond!

I thought it was possible to do this with most sophisticated mobiles, I know it was definitely possible with my old sony ericsson k750 years ago.

The annoying part is when my Storm 2 wont disconnect my calls and thus FORCES me to continue call and exit to home screen!!

I hope you remembered to send this article to RIM, maybe they will read it and actually do something productive with it, in case they are too busy to follow Crackberry!

but I have had my BB for 9 months now and can still probably count on one hand how many times I have pressed the red End key. I just use the back button. Does the End key do something that pressing the back button not do? The reason for the blog post is not a concern to me at all.

I never had a problem with this because with my storm I'm used to hitting the back button so I quit the app. Now to rink about it I only use the call end button to end calls and to put the phone into hibernation.

...just have to be smarty-pants via the web. The reason so many of us have this problem is simple: in earlier operating versions, the red button being pressed while on a call was how you exited from whatever you were doing on a call, to get back to the phone screen. Once I upgraded to 5.0 and hung up on people at least once a week, I realized that they had changed that option. In 4.7 while on a call, I could hit the back arrow, and get the "continue call and exit to home screen" prompt and go about my business while still talking. Once I was done, I simply hit the red key to end the app and go back to the phone screen. But now, you have to hit the BB button to get to the home screen during a call, AVOID the red key, and hit the green phone key to get back to the phone screen after using an app.

Great post, Kevin!

i totally do this about 3-4 times a week when im talking to my gf or whoever. i would totally use that app. i'm not stupid i know how to use the back key but still its really heartening to see that Kevin does that too.. haha

That's the dumbest idea ever. Why would you hit the red "end" key?
Regardless of whether you're on a call or not, you're supposed to hit the Back Arrow Key. Any true crackberry user knows you're supposed to close out of your apps, not hit the End key and leave them open.

If you use the Back arrow key, you'll avoid hanging up on people as well.

The current configuration is perfect as it is. Do NOT change it. Do you hear me RIM?
Do NOT help the ignorant. That's the last thing we need!

I do this at LEAST once a day! It's always so damn embarrassing!

For all those who don't get why someone would hit "end" (red) instead of "back" (u-turn):
1) In many, many apps the "back" button doesn't exit but only takes you to the previous screen INSIDE the app. It can take several "back" presses to get out of apps.
2) Using back to exit an app generally closes it and often I like to leave apps open for later use.

Yes, I know I could use the task switcher to do the same, but it's a much clumsier way to do so.

Thank you Kevin for opening this discussion!

When you're not looking at the call screen, its easy to make this mistake. I do it all the time. It'd be great if there was an app or function to prevent this.