The Future of Updating The BBOS: a Walkthrough of the Over-The-Air Upgrade Process Coming in OS4.5

By Kevin Michaluk on 3 Jun 2008 02:33 pm EDT

OTA on 4.5 [  Original Images Pulled by Request.
Please Enjoy our Mock Ups!]

Update: OK folks, i hope I'm wrong on this but as of right now I don't think i am (correct me in the comments if I am and I will re-update)... it now appears to me that Over-the-Air Device Software Upgrades will only be coming to BES users (requires a BES 4.1.4 release) and will not be available to BIS users as part of the BIS 2.5 upgrades. If this is the case, I'm pretty sad. Think back to the article PC Mag ran where they detailed the updates coming in 4.5. They noted which updates were on the handheld and which were on the server, but they never broke apart BES vs BIS. I just assumed this awesome feature would make its way to BIS customers and it seems that may not be the case.. at least just yet. **

One of the coolest features coming in RIM's BlackBerry Operating System version 4.5 update is the ability to get future OS updates wirelessly.

What a welcome improvement this will be. For the new BlackBerry user, the current means to updating the OS can be a confusing process the first time around. For gurus, it's still a pain in the butt to hunt down the latest updates from your carrier's website. And for Mac users, well... they're basically SOL since there is not yet a Mac version of Desktop Manager available. Do it over the air and you've just solved all of the problems above.

With beta copies of OS4.5 floating around the net for months now, most of the new features coming in OS4.5 have been explored quite fully (heck, we've even gone in-depth on OS4.6). But one feature has escaped us until now... and that's a good look at the Over-The-Air Upgrade Process.

Read on for a Step by Step look at how you will be able to update your BlackBerry in the hopefully near future.

Over-The-Air Upgrade Process 

Checking for Upgrades
Per the picture above, a Wireless Upgrade icon will appear on your home screen when a new upgrade becomes available for install via OTA.

If an icon is not present, you will also be able to check for upgrades by going to Options > Advanced Options > Wireless Upgrade 

OTA Upgrade Process
Checking for Available Upgrades


Selecting an Upgrade

OTA Upgrade Process

A list of up to three available upgrades (and downgrades) can be shown. Selecting an upgrade provides additional information on that upgrade and will also allow you to customize which components are installed. Selecting Next will allow the installation to continue using default settings.


Customizing Your Upgrade

OTA Upgrade Process

Just like using the BlackBerry Desktop Manager to update your OS, you can customize your upgrade. You can add languages and non-standard applications, or remove unnecessary components like Help Files (that's what the CrackBerry Forums are for!).

Pressing the menu key on this screen will allow you to Save your customized settings, reset to defaults, or apparently call Voice Mail (though I'm not sure why you'd want to do that just right now) :-)

Once you complete your customizations, you will be returned to the update description screen where you can now proceed by clicking Next.


Downloading the Upgrade

OTA Upgrade Process

While the download is being prepared, the "Submitting Upgrade Request" screen is displayed. At this point, if you change your mind on the customizations you'd like to make, you can still hit the menu button and cancel out of the upgrade. This will allow you to go back and start again.

The Download screen is displayed once the files are ready for download. You need to click the Start Download button to get things moving - the download will not automatically start. You can also hit the menu button and select Start Download (or Cancel Upgrade).

You can still perform other tasks on your BlackBerry while the download is taking place. Sweet!


Installing the Upgrade

OTA Upgrade Process

Once the update has finished downloading, you can either begin the upgrade immediately (hit Next) or schedule an upgrade time (choose Later). You can't use your BlackBerry during the install process, so you may want to think about setting it for those hours while you are sleeping! 

If you choose not to confirm before starting, your device will automatically begin the upgrade process without warning at the time specified. 


The Installation Process

Now it's time for the serious work... 

  OTA Upgrade Process
Left to Right to Bottom: Backup Process, Upgrade Process, Restore Process

Backup Process: Your data will be automatically backed up before the upgrade takes place, but RIM still recommends that you perform manual backups via BlackBerry Desktop Manager.

Upgrade Process: It is not possible to cancel or revert the upgrade during this step of the process. Also, it's best not to pull the battery out while this process is happening. No damage will occur to the device and the upgrade will resume, but still...just don't do it. And if for whatever reason the upgrade fails, it will automatically revert to your previous software version. 

Restore Process: Once the upgrade is complete, all backed-up data will be restored.

And remember, if things eer go really really really awry and you end up with a "nuked" or "bricked" BlackBerry, our How To Fixed A Nuked BlackBerry tutorial is only a click away. 


Pretty awesome huh? Hearing about Over the Air updates is nice, finally seeing the screenshots above is even better, but man oh man am I ever excited to see this fully be released and in use. I think this a great thing for BlackBerry Users everywhere!

One final thought to ponder - I wonder if RIM will work out deals with carriers to exclude this data from usage plans (at least for those not on unlimited plans)?  

Whaddya all think?

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

The Future of Updating The BBOS: a Walkthrough of the Over-The-Air Upgrade Process Coming in OS4.5


I been waiting to see how this would all work since the BETA's of 4.3 on the pearl series, the pictures really explain it in detail,but I sure hope RIM and the carriers have worked out a way to exclude the "essential" data usage that will come with an OTA upgrade from their account billing as Kevin mentioned.

Or maybe im just having a BAD but really RIM please hurry up, this is like waiting for birth...........

Now, maybe I missed this, but is os4.5 going to be able to be downloaded ota? or once I have os4.5, then os4.6, 4.7 ... will be able to be downloaded ota??

does the current os allow for that kind of upgrade?

I have a mac, and its a pain in the butt, to borrow my sisters crappy pc to upgrade my os... the thing takes a frickin hour to boot up.

This is an amazing feature.

Spsands, it's my understanding that current O.S. do not support this feature. So you will need to proceed the "old" way to upgrade your BB to 4.5.

It will be a pain myself to upgrade everyone to o.s 4.5 but knowing it will be the last time I'll be doing it "manually" here at work makes this worth it.

I wonder if us, BES users will be able to create packages regarding the OS upgrades, appling pre-defined configurations to the OS upgrade, etc.

Data fee could be interesting to track. Although I'm not the one paying the bill at the end of the day, upgrade could be expensive, espicially for roaming users. I was just down to our plant in Peoria, IL and I was there for 1 week only and had about 150$ in roaming fee for my 1 week trip... ouch..

Still, an amazing feature... Now, when will 4.5 be release already? Unlike some people, I couldn't get my and on a 4.5 beta for my 8830...

great for beginners, but up to 120 minutes for an upgrade that i can do in about 20 from my computer?

Hopefully I won't be in a situation where i absolutely must upgrade my OS while on the go. Lol
something tells me I can wait until I get home to do this.

But as I said before, for someone not comfortable doing it on a desktop or laptop, this is great news!

sounds great, but will this count as part of my data download from Rogers? I think it will...
Is non-OTA upgrading still available?

Listen, I don't want to hear ONE more thing about 4.5 UNTIL IT IS RELEASED! WHY oh WHY have they not released it yet. WHEN oh WHEN will they just let us have it?!?


jonp, this might be counted on our data charges... i for one do not have an unlimited plan since it is not offered here... a sweet feature with a bit sour consequence... hope to hear RIM excemtping this :D just hoping...

This feature is useful IF and ONLY IF you strictly use your service provider's OS. As your service provider might not have the most updated OS version, you more likely to continue use desktop installation method to update your BB. However, we are only supposed to use the OS that are compatible with our current provider as RIM suggested, right? LOL. Therefore, unless RIM finds a way to lockdown the ability of updating other providers' OS for our end-user, I don't think this OTA feature will become popular among BB addicts.

I def agree with you...and also the point of whether there will be charges set by the carriers or RIM...Idk if all works out this will be a great feature..

Is this ota upgrading avail. To everyone? I'm using os (8310) and I don't see any wireless upgrade options on mine. Then again I knw its still just beta but it seems like that would be a big thing to leave out

I wonder how they will deal with OS upgrades to branded devices? Right now we have to delete the Vendor.xml files locally in order to install the latest and greatest OS.

Any ideas?

Perhaps they should change Call Voicemail on the menu to Delete Vendor.xml. :lol:

Also, I'm wondering where these screenshots came from? Anyone else notice how it lists a 4.3OS version as an upgrade? Seems a little strange since CDMA Pearls and Curves have 4.3 and this is not an option. Perhaps these are pre-release shots taken a while back... the 1/8/07 would indicate this.

BTW, RIM's been working on this for more then a year and it's still not done. Lame.... I wouldn't put it past them to have leaked the current 4.5BETAs just to get some public testing at no charge. I bet they check out CB daily for the bug reports. :lol:

love the new addition to the OS, wonder how long it would take on regular ol GPRS.
That aside whats that icon beside the browser icon, below the message icon? never seen it before

please PLEASE just release an update... im SICK of hearing about all the cool stuff 4.5 can do! my 6GB card stops working if i try to put on more than 2GB (a problem solved with 4.5 APPARENTLY)... STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS OR RELEASE IT!

OS 4.5? pleeeease stop talkin about that....its been over 7 months since its proposed release, probably more than that..all u blackberry sites always have an "insider" giving info as to when its going to be released or this and that...wen it comes out, jump all over it, but till then let it breathe, u arent doing anything for the people by continuously hyping them up, with no product to show...and no the beta version doesnt count...*sheesh*...

I just finished installing, but I can't seem to find that wireless upgrade icon. Kevin, what beta should I be running to see that? Perhaps I just installed an outdated version...

Who requested the images pulled? Also about the update... I wanted to say it was for BES yesterday, but from the images and the article, it led me to believe that RIM had changed it to also include BIS as well. Oh well... probably better anyway, I don't want my backups on RIM's servers anyway. Bad enough they proxy everything as it is now.

Carriers can't control what OS we run now, why would this be any different?

If it is indeed limited to BES, I wonder if it will be possible to do OTA updates through Unite. I am dying to have my own little BUS! Think about it: install the OTA package on your BUS and push it out to your managed devices (or pull it from them).

I don't understand why Kevin was upset when he found out this feature is only available to BES user. The reason is very simple - this feature can be fully utilized ONLY when used in a controlled environment, such as BES. Something like Apple OS and its hardware. When BIS users (a lot of users here) are loading different version of OS along with variety of 3rd party software on their BBs, service providers have no control on how these BBs would react after the update patches the existing OS. This will definitely cause a chaos in providers' CS department when users continously report mulfunctions, errors, or even corrupted OS on their BBs. Would you want to be one of the CS there? LOL. On the other hand, BES users normally are disallowed to install any 3rd party apps without getting approval from their BES admin. Therefore, in this "controlled environment" BES admin can create a test plan to fully test out the patch before deploying it to his users, and will not have to worry too much about service interruption.

Disappointed because I was under the impression OTA updates would come to BIS customers (based on PC Mag article where they went to RIM for info). I understand your comments, but at the same time if everything is rock solid it would be sweet to just browse for available updates/OS versions on device and just have it be done.

i am still new at this whole blackberry. so how will i install the os4.5 when it is available? do i have to run the cd that came with the phone on my computer to get everything set up before i can install this new upgrade? some one please help me. thanks

I have Mac OS X 10.4.11 with Missing Sync.
Possible to OTA download updated Blackberry OS?
I am using BIS Internet.
Hmmmm, iPhone lookin' good!!!!
That difficult to OTA the newest OS?
Could win and keep a lot of fans.
Thank you RIM for SERIOUSLY considering this capability.

After loading 4.5 onto my VZW 8330, I saw the Wireless Upgrade option in my Advanced Options, clicked it and waited while it found no updates. Now, the wireless upgrade choice is no longer there.

Will it reappear automatically when updates are available or has something gone wrong on my system?