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Speed Up Your BlackBerry-ing with 25 Simple Tricks

Although most BlackBerry (BB) users will praise their BBs to the high heavens, they will also secretly admit to being very frustrated at times with the inexplicable slowdowns, hangs and overall weird behaviors that BBs seem prone to. We've thrown together a short list of tips and tweaks to help you get more out of your hardware, and yourself. The device we're using in our examples is the Curve 8520, which is probably the most popular BB out there today.

Speed up the device

(1) Space has always been a problem with older BBs. Go to Options > Status, and see the amount of free memory. Typically, this should be at least 100 MB on modern Bbs, or at least 20 MB on older ones. It's displayed in bytes, so 100 MB is displayed as 102400000 bytes.

(2) If you find that you're running out of space, go to Options > Applications, and look for third party applications that are no longer needed. Delete them. Also look for Add-ons, and delete the ones you don't need. Do not (and that's a big NOT) delete any core applications.

(3) For some reason, RIM sets Memory Cleaning in BBs to "Disabled", by default. Go to Options > Security Options> Advanced Security Options> Memory Cleaning, and change the Status to Enabled. Also set the Idle Timeout to 2 minutes. Also set the Show Icon on home Screen setting to Yes. You will now see this icon, and can manually click it to clean memory when the BB starts acting sluggish.

(4) Go to Options > Memory, and enable Compression. This may actually slow down a few things, like opening an attachment, but uses less memory, and results in a less sluggish phone.

(5) Not many people know that BBs keep an event log of almost everything - quite useless for most of us. To access this log, hold down [AI t] and type out [LGLG]. Press the menu button and select Clear Log.

(6) "Close. Seriously now, I mean CLOSE!" That's how you have to treat some apps in BBs. Instead of just navigating away from apps, press the [BB] button and select Close from the menu that pops up. This will prevent the app from just sitting in the background hogging memory.

(7) If you surf a lot on your BB, remember to periodically clear the browser cache. In the browser, press the BB button and select Options. Go to Cache Operations and delete everything.

(8) If all else fails, the three finger salute is needed. Most people will just pull out the battery and put it back in, but this is not necessary. Just hold down [Alt] + (right) [Shift] + [Del] together.

Speed up yourself

It's important to know some BB shortcuts:

(9) [Alt] + [Back Arrow] = Application switcher - good for multitaskers, and seeing what apps are running, so you can close them.

(10) [T] = Go to the top (of a page, a mail, almost anything)

(11) [B] = go to the bottom of the page

(12) [Space] = page down

(13) [Shift] + [Space] = page up

(14) Just hold down a letter for a second to capitalize it, instead of typing [Shift] + [Letter]

(15) When typing, auto-correct can be used to avoid using [AI t] + [M] to get the full stop. Just press [Space] twice instead.

(16) In the browser, when certain pages just don't display correctly, just press [Z]. Switches between column view and page view.

(17) [Alt] + [Shift] = Number lock. Good for typing numbers into an email or message.

(18) In Messages, you can quickly use some codes to see only what you need. [AIt] + [I] = incoming items only; [Alt] + [0] = outgoing; [Alt] + [P] = Phone Calls; [Alt] + [S] = SMSes.

(19) In Messages, again, use [U] to jump to oldest unread message. [N] = Next unread, [P] = Previous unread.

(20) Press and hold a letter such as [E] and then scroll up or down to see the various characters associated with that letter. For example, when typing "deja vu". No more boring Symbol menus.

Secret codes

Everyone knows *#06# to see their IMEI number, but BB has a few more tricks up their sleeves. Not very useful, these, but fun to try.

(21) Hold down [AIt], and type [NMLL]. This changes the network indicator from bars to actual decibel values.

(22) Help Me! Hold [AI t] and [Shift] and press [H].

(23) In the Address Book, hold [AI t] and type [VALD]. This validates your address book. You can also use the code [Alt] + [RBLD] to rebuild your entire address book.

(24) Want to view the source code of a web page? Hold [Alt] and type [RBVS]

(25) Add the date in a message [L] + [D] + [Space]; Add current time = [L] + [T] + [Space].