's BlackBerry 101 Lecture Series

Everyday BlackBerry users come across problems.  Most times they turn to Google (repeat troubleshooters head straight to!) to hunt down some quick answers.  In hopes of making BlackBerry users more independent, this lesson should help you diagnose your own problems, and take some steps in attempt to resurrect your issues on your own.  Problems ranges from the simple: not receiving email and a dead browser,  to the more complex issues of losing call logs and texts or dreaded error codes and a "nuked" Berry. This 101 will cover a good deal (but certainly not all) of the most common errors BlackBerry users encounter.  Let's get started.

The Battery Pull

The most common "cure all" to all devices is the battery pull.  Like chicken soup is to the soul, the battery pull can solve many of the problems users encounter, such as application errors, theme problems, data problems and more.  Before you do anything else - always do a battery pull.

  • With the device powered on, remove the battery
  • Leave the battery out for about 30 seconds
  • Replace the battery and let the device reboot

This will solve a great deal of problems - always do a battery pull before you seek help elsewhere. You can also perform a soft reset on your device by holding down the ALT+Right SHIFT+DEL keys for about 2 seconds.  There is also a double soft reset which some users believe is equivalent to a battery pull. To perform this, do the standard soft reset - the screen will go black. When the screen is no longer black, press the keys again (perform another soft reset). You should then see another blank screen followed by an hour glass.

Check out these BlackBerry Help articles for more:

Differences between Hard, Soft and Master resets
How to Peform a Hard Reset on a BlackBerry Smartphone
Reasons to Perform a Hard Reset

And more in the forums:

National Battery Pull Day

"Memory Leak" - Losing Call Logs and Messages

Some devices have what is known as a "memory leak".  This is what the BlackBerry community has dubbed the loss of memory from any BlackBerry Device.  The device will begin to "eat" call logs and messages and they will mysteriously disappear.  This is due to the memory of the device being low, causing it to automatically free up more space by deleting these items.  The first steps to identifying this issue is to check the File Free on your device.  You can do this one of two ways.  

  1. Options > Status
  2. Hold ALT+SHIFT+H

File Free

Here you will see your File Free displayed in Bytes.  Here I have 33087874 Bytes free (which is about 33mb) and is more than enough free memory.  Its a safe bet to say that about 12 or 14mb is enough free memory, however some users will tell you more and some will say less.  Older devices will have more of a problem being that they have less memory to being with.  If you find yourself with low memory, check out these guides to freeing up memory but deleting pre-installed images, changing save times for messages, removing Voice Activated Dialing and more.

BlackBerry 101 - How To Free Up Memory On Your Blackberry Smartphone
How To Increase BlackBerry's File Free Memory

Along with the memory loss issues, some users commonly refer to their memory cards.  Keep in mind the memory cards do not effect these issues.  No matter if you have a 1gb or 8gb memory card - it will not add to the installed memory on your device.  An external memory card may be used for storing photos, music, movies etc. but cannot help with these types of memory issues.

I'm Not Receiving Email

A very common issue.  The device is not receiving email at all.  You can verify this by checking the inbox for your email accounts.  If there are messages there that have not made it to the device, you may have an issue.  First off, try a battery pull as described above (if it solves the issue you will know as your email will come flying in as soon as the device reboots).  If that doesn't help, you may need to resend your service books. 

Login to your carriers BIS site (a list can be found here)
Click the Service Books link
Service Books
Click Send Service Books

You should receive confirmation messages on your device if you were successful. 

This is a common error as well for existing GSM BIS users who attempt to activate a new device. After putting in your SIM card, your browser icon shows immediately, however there is no email.  You need to login to your BIS as above and enter the Change Device menu and activate the new device PIN.  From here resend the service books and you're set.

My Browser Is Missing
A common issue that shows up more often than you would think.  Commonly after activating a new device or upgrading the OS.  There is a simple fix, but most users don't know where to start. 

  • Insure you have a BlackBerry data plan
  • Make sure the icon is not hidden - press the Menu key and select Show All - see if the icon is on the screen at all
  • Go to Options > Advanced Options > Host Routing Table.  Press the Menu key and select Register Now.

Wait about 30 seconds and the icon should appear. Sometimes it may take longer depending on your service etc. so be patient.  If it doesn't show up after a while (10 minutes or so) try a battery pull.  After the restart if it still doesn't appear, you may need to resend your service books as described above.  

More in the forums:

Interesting Browser Issue
I lost my browser help!

How To Separate SMS & Email Messages

No so much an error as a common question, but some users prefer to have separate inboxes for SMS/MMS messages & emails, while some prefer to have them all in one place.  To change this option is simple - In your Message go to Options > General Options and change SMS and Email Inboxes to separate.  This will give you individual folders for your SMS/MMS and Email messages.  Keep in mind this setting can be affected by some custom themes. 

Message Options Inboxes

I Use Gmail and Receive A Copy Of My Emails

A common problem when using Gmail.  To resolve it you must login to your Carrier's BIS site and simply add a filter to your current Gmail address.  Take these steps: 

  • Login to BIS account
  • Next to your Gmail address, click Edit
  • Click Add Filter
  • For Filter Name type "Sent"
  • For Apply Filter When select "From"
  • For Contains enter your Gmail address ""

For more information or help in the forums, check out this thread.

Keeping Your Device Up To Date and the Handheld Wipe

Another good tip to prevent errors is to keep your Operating System (OS) up to date.  This is especially good for users with older devices.  Many bugs can be found over time, so RIM issues updates to the operating system to make things more stable.  You should always have the latest official OS installed on your device.  You can find links to all the current OS versions here.

Check out Al Sacco's 101 on How to Install or Upgrade your BlackBerry Operating System (OS) to get the job done!

If your OS is up to date and you are still experiencing bugs or glitches and you can't figure out why, performing a Handheld Wipe will help reset your BlackBerry's operating system to the OS defaults (you have the option to leave 3rd party apps installed or remove them). 

No software or connection to a computer is required to perform a HandHeld Wipe. On your BlackBerry, simply go to Options > Security Options > General Settings > hit the menu key > Wipe Handheld and follow the instructions on the display. It takes a few minutes, but the Handheld Wipe will conveniently take you back to the starting line and hopefully fix your problems. Keep in mind you'll have to re-add your PIM info and add back all your BlackBerry Messenger contacts and apps (if you chose to delete the apps). 


Now keep in mind these are just some of the issues you may run into with your new device.  There are many more problems you may encounter, but you can always turn to the Community for help. Check out these 101 Lessons for some other common problems:

How To Use Blackberry Messenger
How To Reload the Operating System on a "Nuked" Berry
The Basics of Blackberry Themes
How To Download and Install Ringtones on your Blackberry

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