Why I don't use a password on my BlackBerry Z10

I'm a firm believer in using a password on all of my devices - just not on the Z10. Here's why.

By Adam Zeis on 2 Apr 2013 03:02 pm EDT

I have always been a big believer in the security offered up by BlackBerry. For arguments sake, I don't work in a crazy-big corporate environment where the data on my phone is at risk. If anyone got access to my phone, they'd see a bunch of BBM's to my wife, my non-private contact list and the handful of emails I get through the course of the day.

I don't have any secrets hiding on my BlackBerry Z10 nor am I terribly worried about it being snatched since I can wipe it with BlackBerry Protect and carry on my day.

That being said, I've always used some sort of security lock on my BlackBerry devices - be it the built-in password lock or a third-party app with a PIN or pattern lock function. For my Z10 however, I've opted to go lock-free for the time being.

Why? Because it's a pain in the rear to enter it each time I use my device and the risk doesn't currently outweigh the reward for me.

On the BlackBerry Z10, the password lock option locks your device so you need to enter the password to gain access. In many cases you can set the time before the device locks unless otherwise specified by your IT department. Simple enough.

When you want to use the device, you are required to enter your password on the lock screen. For most this is a requirement, but for those that choose to have a password (ie. users who aren't covered by an IT policy) it can be more of a chore than it's worth at times. 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't use a password. I'm just stating my opinion that on the Z10 the process of entering a password each time I want to get at my device (which is a lot through the course of a day) isn't ideal for me. I feel that the process is cumbersome in its current state and just not for me.

On past devices, using the physical keyboard to enter a password was cake. I had a simple one set and my muscle memory kicked in when entering it. Most times it was an easy 4-digit code of random characters. I also changed up to pattern lock utilities from time to time since they provided a decent bit of security and were quick enough to access.

A PIN or pattern option seems like a no-brainer for casual users

My issue with the Z10 is that the password screen isn't ideal for quick access when I need it. On my iPhone I loved using a 4-digit PIN that I could tap out in two seconds to get access to my device. Now, I find that I enter my password incorrectly on my Z10 more times than not due to the layout of the keyboard and lock screen.

What I would love to see is other lock options built-in to the OS like PIN or pattern lock. Android devices give you multiple options and I think that's the way to go. Even without the use of a third-party app we should be able to setup a level of security that works for us and not be locked down to only the password method. A PIN or pattern option seems like a no-brainer for casual users. All that screen real estate on the Z10 makes for a great spot for a giant number pad or pattern screen, no? I would hope that the option is put into the OS natively at some point. 

A PIN lock on the Z10 would be awesome

Of course onces the new API's and updated OS come along there should be support for apps to run in the background (instead of having to actually have the Active Frame open as it is now) so we can hope that this also means access to the lock screen for third-party developers to step in with a slew of screen lock apps.

For now though, I'll fly along without a password. So yes, that means if you happen to steal my device you'll have an all-access pass to it. Providing you can find it in the time it's out of sight when I'm either in the shower or sleeping - it's all yours. 

How about you? Do you use the current password lock or are you flying lock-free? Sound off in the comments!

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Why I don't use a password on my BlackBerry Z10



I agree completely with this article!. It drivers me crazy to enter in the password. I have to have one because I work for a law firm and boy it is not good. You have to click in the empty space and sometimes the response is not as fast.

I totally agree with the author, digital PIN works much better than password in touchscreen devices. Kinda wonder why BlackBerry didn't built Z10 this way.

Posted via CB10

yea this annoyed the hell out of me that I cant one handed type in my password, im password free cause of this to, have to be way to precise.

The password becomes important when you do not want small children to play with your phone and accidentally dial some numbers like 911 etc. also sometimes imp messages and contacts get deleted in the process.
This is very common with young children around. and that too very easy on a touch screen device.
So I would not mind having a short 4-6 char password.

I'm waiting for a third party pin lock before using password lock on my Z10. Hope one becomes available as soon as possible.

Posted via my wonderful Z10

Adam, my password is 7 letters and it is not a word.. it is a quite tricky password. But then again I already have experience typing on iOS and android device that has trickier keyboard. z10 keyboard is the best..

Posted via CB10

Z10 is my workhorse. I have to use the password because there is too much info on it. I would love to see an easier way to access without fumbling with the small keys for the password though

Posted via CB10

I never had a password on any of my devices. But I have to now because of IT policy like most others here. I also have it set for 30minutes. For some reason my Co worker with an Android device can only have maximum 10 minutes before his device locks.

Password for Z10 ironically interrupts the flow we love so much about bb10.

Posted via CB10

I'm always in devl mode so whenever my phone is untouched for quite some time it gets locked

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

I'm also lock free, for the simple reason I'm always showing off my sweet phone and don't want to be stuck entering a password

Posted via CB10

Or , you know, you could set the time out to something like 30 minutes. Then, password only required after 30 minutes.

Posted via CB10

Definitely I need password locking. PIN locking is also good as we can unlock quickly. But wait, i need a convenient key or virtual button to quickly lock my phone instead of holding the power button for seconds then touch on the lock icon.

Posted via CB10

I agree with your comments, to be able to choose between a PIN or pattern option and the current security layout would be handy.

Posted via CB10

There a hexadecimal password in the voice mail setup that I believe would be excellent for a device password.

I have a screen shot but I can't for the life of me figure out how to attach it.

Posted via CB10

I do lock my BlackBerry. I use a code that is easy to type. Think qaqa or lplp or qqaa or llpp or 0011 or something along those lines Where the keys are on the outside of the screen and thus it makes for easy error free input.
Even though I have nothing confidential on it I mainly don't want my kids picking it up and playing with it.

Posted via CB10

Just a comment on some posts iI saw:
My Z10 retains its password after a security wipe or when reloading the OS. (BlackBerry link restore)

Bank PINs are different as the cash machine only gives you 3 attempts, then swallow tour card. A cashier is also supposed to take tour card and destroy it if you enter the pin incorrect too many times.

That's where the security wipe cones in, it avoids Bruce force attempts. Then again, stats will tell you, with a 4 digit PIN code you have a 1 in 100 chance of getting it right.
So a PIN is really not very secure at all.

Posted via CB10

I agree a PIN lock would be great. The lock on teh Iphone seems okay, the number pad is big enough that it is fairly easy to punch in the code

fingerprint scanning sucks, I have it on my bloomberg at work , slide up , slide down slide it all around - make sure your fingers are super clean etc

I agree. It will indeed be so much simpler if the pass code screen was a 4 digit screen.

Posted via CB10

I have mine set on half an hour. Almost never need to sign in unless first thing in the morning :) the only thing that is a bit annoying is when you do enter the password incorrect the keyboard vanishes and you have to press the entry box again and wait for the keyboard to show up again. Could save some time if the keyboard just stayed there...

Z10 Flavour since 12.2.13

Dangerous advice... I couldn't disagree more with it. Security is always inconvenient, and I'd be fine if you'd expose only your data. However, you don't. IMHO a lack of respect towards your contacts' privacy.

Posted via CB10

Agreed. The current password system is the most annoying aspect of the Z10. We need this simplified for fast entry.

agreed, BB needs to simplify the Keyboard for "PIN" type passwords, use the screen size, and use a "Keypad" type keyboard instead of the whole keyboard. Similar to the image above, hopefully they won't get sued ... I know they patented rounded squares, not sure about actual squares. ;-)

No password for me either. Not that I don't like it, etc. I just haven't had time to explore that part of my phone yet. So much to do! Maybe I the future. But for now as the original post stated, I don't leave this baby out of my sight long enough to worry yet.

Posted via CB10

Would be nice to see a larger keyboard on password entry screen. Maybe give landscape mode access. Really neat if we could use a predetermined swipe motion to unlock. What about voice spoken password or even voice recognition?

Posted via CB10

It becomes even more of a pain in the rear when you are hooked up to BES10 and the work space locks on you all the time, and then prevents you from doing simple things. The IT Policy to not use a password in the work space doesn't seem to work. Things like pasting a web URL into a work email, "not allowed". Taking a picture and wanting to attach to a personal email, "not allowed". you have to cludge through work-arounds to get what you want done. Not a fan of Balance so far and the heavy-handed restrictions.

Hit the nail on the head I remove my password as got it wrong more then right, it was only dews as its is a square paternity on the keyboard but the keyboard still Essex it up alot.

Posted via CB10

I am the same way, so far. No password set as of yet.

I will go ahead and mention what I'd like to see done in BB10 for security. I'd like to see BlackBerry (or a third party) implement a facial recognition feature for unlocking the device. It should just need the front camera for a few seconds each time, triggered by hitting the power button.

Posted via CB10

I agree that entering a pass code is a pain with the current lock screen layout. Not requiring a pass code seems a simple enough solution for non business users. However the reason I keep a pass code on mine is to prevent a finder, or criminal from:
1. Abusing my data plan.
2. Having access to the app store. Remember Kevin's $500.00 clock app?
3. Having access to my contact list. If I am entrusted with the private information of others, the least I can do is prevent some criminal from using the contact information to steal or harass the most effective way I know how.

Yes, Blackberry protect can shut the phone down, but criminals know they only have a small window of opportunity and it could take a few hours before you can access BB protect or realize your phone is missing.

its annoying that they made the password requirements complex. i used to use 2525 and that is no good now. to me anything is hard to guess besides 1234 so why not allow that

What RIM really needs to do is have an "lock immediate" option, rather than the minimum one minute. I can do this on every other device out there, but the Z10. And asking a user to hold down a button and tap another button to lock immediate, is not a solution. From an Enterprise perspective, this is a big no-no

I need to use a password since I nasivally keep all my data (>45 GB) on the media card.

Posted via BlackBerry Z10 (24C682D2)

Presently have mine set to 30mins (so never have to see it really) and just use the top button if I need to lock immediately.
Would absolutely love to see some kind of pattern-lock too.
Perhaps even integrated into the existing 'swipe up' gesture...swiping in a certain shape/line?!

Posted via CB10

Yeah funny. With my 9780 the password was so easy but now on the Z10 it really is a bit of a bummer. Will test how I feel rocking it without a password.

A simple choice definitely would be a wonderful addition.

I am using MS Active Sync for my work email and I can't set my password lock beyond 5 minutes! As a matter of fact, I can't even have option not to lock my device. Perhaps it is Admin policy on all mobile devices using company email.

Great article!


I'm so in line with you: at current, it is too boring to put a lock. We need something simple like a pattern or a pin.

Posted via CB10

The Z10 is actually the FIRST phone that I've had where I've had the password lock option set. The 30 minute option is awesome. I don't get bothered constantly entering it if I'm using the phone for a stretch, but I know it's protected after 30 min.

Posted via CB10

i have my phone set so that the password is only enabled when i leave the house as i have a certain nosy friend who takes it and goes through it any time i put it down and holds onto it when i try to snatch it back -.- it works by detecting that it is out of range of your home wifi and activates the lock on screen off (up to 3 wifi locations can be set as no password zones so you can have your work wifi and home wifi). Maybe blackberry could implement something like this for convenience as i also hate entering my pin every time i check my phone

Relying on BB protect is just stupid. First thing a thief does is to put the SIM card in a dumb phone to call abroad until the SIM is blocked. Later, he will plug the phone in a computer and extract as much data as it can, gaining private info giving him access to social networks and more.
We always have more to lose than we first think.

Well, in Ontario, Canada --not sure about the other provinces -- if you do not have a password, the police can search your phone; with a password, they must obtain a search warrant...

Glad to see I'm not the only one!

That said I'm one of those developers waiting for the APIs to become available as I have a great idea for a password pin lock app.

Hope they come soon!

Posted via CB10

I agree that the lock screen keyboard could be more usable. The lock screen on the windows phone is ideal because it does take advantage of the screen real estate. Foe now I have to deal with it because of our IT policy on the BES.
Please make this more usable team BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

The only time I set a password on my phone is if I'm with friends who casually steal my phone and update my social media with who knows what or if im going out and plan to be doing some drinking. The password gives whoever finds my phone a small speed bump to getting to my information. My lock screen message is my home phone number in the event the kind soul wants to call and return my phone. If all else fails I control the rest through Blackberry Protect.

I use a password on my 9900 and it locks at the time I set it to. I had to increase that time to do the fact that I record *allot* of video and it kept interrupting the recording quite a bit.

Yes. PLEASE. PATTERN LOCK! I've been using one previously on my 9800 Torch, mostly because I carry my phone in my front jeans pocket - no holster, no case, no nada - and the phone had a horrible tendency to bring up the network settings and inexplicably would turn off the mobile network. Added a freebie pattern lock app and no more problems! Easy to use and decently secure. BB, please, give us pattern lock for BB10/Z10!

I agree. Used a password for about two weeks and then took it off because it was just too annoying. On the bright side, at least it is not like the PlayBook where 40% of the time the keyboard won't even appear on the lock screen and you have to restart.

I had to put one one because my school uses an exchange server and they have the same policies for students and staff. I think I'm more surprised how often it doesn't ask me for it when I unlock it though.

Posted via CB10

This is absolutely my concern lately! I need to have options. With the use of corp VPN, it requires to set a passcode, but I'd love to have the choice of a simple passcode, or a big numpad with numberic passcode only, or for those who don't mind it, a full qwerty keyboard like present . But to conclude, entering passcode on Z10 now is pain in the ss

I use my phone for both business and personal use. I have files that have critical information. I would not dare go without a password in the phone.

I use a timeout value that is not going to be a hassle for me. I am also very paranoid about how I keep my phone in sight. For the Z10 I use a heavy duty holder on my belt with a zipper on it.

As for Blackberry Protect, if the phone is not password protected, someone who knows the Blackberry phone and knows about Blackberry Protect will be able to very quickly turn it off. If the phone is password protected, Blackberry Protect requires the phone's password to turn it off.

If your phone is not protected, someone who finds it can potentially make calls to anywhere in the world before you may find out it is missing.

As for a password, I am using an 8 character word that I can easily remember and quickly type.

For all the people that don't have nothing to hide send me your phone and I'll set a password for you then...lol


Gotta believe 90% of BlackBerry users have something sensitive that would cause potential financial loss, temporary or permanent embarrassment, loss of job, or worse. Further, it is access to account billing and usage. (You may be insured or have carrier forgive but it will be a hassle to resolve--end of discussion.) Moreover you're going to pay $400-500 for a phone (and over $1000 for the year w/service) and not password protect?! Still, the point by the creator of the thread, however, is not a discussion on need (desire) to use a password but rather on FUNCTIONALITY of Z10 (BB10). It would have been easy to install optional large key screen used solely for unlocking phone. In missing this, the Z10 falls short of Android and Apple in ease of use. (Remember when the IPHONE was the toy and BB's were fir the serious users!) ... The password entry with small keys on the Z10's flat touch screen is far too clumsy. .... FIX IT....in native code.

Posted via CB10

I don't have a lock on my phone because half the time ppl don't know how to unlock it anyway. #winning

Posted via CB10

True.. for people with a bit thick fingers, typing error during password entry would be a common occurrence. I hope pattern lock will soon come as a 10.something update ;p
For now sticking to this security means by auto lock after longer duration.

Posted via CB10

Hi, recently updated from 8520 to Z10. Now on app world on my pc is asking for device password, which i have not set. Moreover when i switched, (from 8520 to Z10) sms (text messages) have not come to my new Z10 though its showing to have done in blackberry link. Kindly advice on both. Thanks

I will always have my phone require a password. If it is lost or stolen the finder or thief will have a bricked phone unless he can have the password. If someone finds a Blackberry that is not passworded it only takes about 10 seconds to disable Blackberry Protect when there is no required password.

I use an 8 digit word for a password. The word I use is not a real word and therefore it would be very difficult to guess. Four digit passwords as like used on many phones are not very secure. With the Blackberry, if someone tries the password too many times the phone is wiped. To get a wiped Blackberry phone working again would be out of the knowledge base range for most types of people who would find such a phone. The data that would be deleted in the phone would be gone forever.

As for myself, I have a lot of personal information on my phone. I am very paranoid about my personal information. I have my phone auto-lock after a number of minutes with no activity.