Hailed 'round the world as the savior of the BlackBerry web experience, the Webkit-based web browser found in OS6 is fast, sleek, and – most importantly – usable. The browser supports Javascript, CSS3, and HTML 5. What do all these letters mean? Basically, the OS6 web browser is very similar to the browser on your home computer. The web pages you see at home look about the same on your smartphone, just a little smaller.

Sure, you've probably used the browser quite a few times since finding it loaded on your device. But do you know all the ins and outs? How well do you really know your BlackBerry's web browser?


To begin, you'll find the web browser in the All tab. Personally, I have the web browser as the first icon in the first row of my All tab, but your icon may be in a slightly different location. Can't find it? Just type "browser" into the universal search.

The browser opens to a brand-new start page, giving you quick access to typing in web addresses, bookmarks, and a brief web history. Clicking on the Bookmarks or History bars will take you to the complete list of bookmarks or history as the case may be.

On the Start page, your bookmarks are self-organizing. As you visit each bookmark, it moves to the top of this list. It doesn't matter if you visit the bookmarked address from the start page or your bookmarks folder, the result is the same. Why is this a good thing? It means that your most used bookmarks always appear near the top of your Start page.

Going places

The OmniBar and the Awesome bar are features in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox that allow you to do quite a number of things by just typing in the box that was once for web addresses only (see: Internet Explorer). Type just about anything into these bars and you'll get results for web history, bookmarks, and search options. Your OS6 browser can do this and a little more.

Information on the actual name of the browser's bar is scarce. The closest I could find was, "[the] single URL and search entry box." To save time, I'll just call it the Box. Each time you enter something in the Box, you are essentially searching your browser for that item. If the item matches something in the history or bookmarks, it will appear in the drop down box below the Box. In addition, you can search the web for the item or visit the URL (assuming what you typed was a web address).

The Box's "little more" comes in the form of an old BlackBerry shortcut. The Box knows that web addresses don't have spaces in them. As a typing shortcut, the browser will automatically insert a period between words when typing a web address. This may seem a little confusing, so take a look at the pics above.

You can access the Box at any time while you're viewing a web page, even if you can't see it. Click or touch the very top of the web page to open the Box. Some versions of OS6 include a small triangle at the top to remind you that more options are available.

What to do when you get there

Scrolling around in a web page on your smartphone is just like at home. Only a lot smaller. And with a great deal more scrolling around. Never fear, zoom controls and "Automatic Font Size Adjustment" are here to help.

There are a number of different ways to zoom in on your web page. Touchscreen users can "pinch to zoom." If you're unfamiliar with that term, try this. Open a web page. Imagine you're trying to pick up a very tiny piece of dirt by pinching it. Keep your fingers on the screen and widen the distance between your two fingers; the web page will zoom in. The phrase makes more sense when you think about it the other way 'round. Put your fingers on opposite corners of the screen. Keep your fingers on the screen and pinch them together. You just "pinch[ed] to zoom [out]."

Touch and non-touch users alike can choose Zoom from the menu and then swipe up and down on the trackball/trackpad to zoom in or out, respectively. You can also hold down the Alt key while using the trackball/trackpad to zoom.

Automatic Font Size Adjustment is my favorite feature of the browser. Smartphone screens aren't gigantic; this makes reading web pages a bit difficult. Zooming in isn't always the best option because you'll most likely have to keep scrolling left and right to view the whole thing. AFSA automatically resizes and reformats the selected text so that it fits nicely on your screen – no more scrolling left and right. All you need to do is double-tap the text you wish to resize, and your BlackBerry takes care of the rest.

Tabbed browsing; many directions at once

Like all modern browsers, the BlackBerry OS6 web browser supports tabbed web pages, allowing you to browse multiple sites at once. Each tab can be considered as its own web browser. Though you can choose Tabs from the menu (BlackBerry key -> Tabs), the easiest way to open new tabs and view existing ones is to click the Tabs button to the right of the Box.

Once open, you can scroll through the tabs that are open by swiping the trackball/trackpad left or right. Select the desired tab by clicking or touching its preview picture. Tabs can be closed by clicking the small red cross beneath each preview picture. You can even close all other tabs. Use the trackball/trackpad to scroll to the tab you wish to keep open. From the menu, choose "Close other tabs." New tabs can be opened by clicking on the large green cross to the right of open tabs.

Six Quick Tools

Located between the Box and the Tabs button is another useful tool without an easily-found, official name. For simplicity's sake, I'll refer to it as the Quick Tools button.

  • Add to Bookmarks: includes the current page in your bookmarks. After selecting, you'll have the option to edit the title, address, and the folder your new bookmark will go in.
  • Add to Home Screen: creates an icon in your All tab, allowing you to launch a website from your home screen. It's similar to dragging a webpage to your computer's desktop, making a shortcut. After selecting, you'll have the option to make your desktop bookmark into a Favorite.
  • Send Page Address: You can share the web page address in a number of ways. You can share via email, text message, BlackBerry Messenger, Twitter, Facebook, Social Feeds, and several other ways.
  • Copy Page Address: copies the address to the clipboard. Allows you to later paste the address in another tab, an email, bit.ly, etc.
  • Bookmarks: opens your bookmarks folder
  • History: opens the History folder

The web browser included in OS6 is what BlackBerry users have desired for years. It is a powerful and useful piece of software. What tips and tricks have you used to master the web browser? Sound off in the comments below.