Guide to customizing your BlackBerry 6 home screen

HOW-TO / 02.28.11 / tywill1

Customizing BlackBerry 6

When BlackBerry® 6 was released, some pretty cool customization features were added to the home screen. Today I’ll be going over some of these new features, so grab your BlackBerry 6-enabled device and try out some of these tips right now. All that’s required is a BlackBerry smartphone using BlackBerry 6 OS software!

(To find out if BlackBerry 6 is available for your particular BlackBerry smartphone model, check out the following post which provides information on how to perform a web-based BlackBerry software update. Provided your wireless provider supports it, you may be able to upgrade to BlackBerry 6.)

Let’s get started!

Home Screen Options Menu

This is a handy menu containing several key settings for the BlackBerry 6 home screen. To access it, while on your home screen, press the Menu key and select Options. Within this menu, you’ll be able to change the following settings.

  • Launch by Typing – This setting allows you to specify whether Universal Search or Application Shortcuts is enabled. Universal Search allows you to search for anything on your BlackBerry smartphone; all you need to do is type on the home screen to start a search. You also have the option of enabling Application Shortcuts, which allows you quick access to various applications on your BlackBerry smartphone using shortcut keys. If you use this feature, you can still take advantage of Universal Search by selecting the Magnifying Glass icon that appears in the top right corner of the home screen.
  • Wallpaper Settings – You can reset your wallpaper to the default wallpaper or select a new one from pictures that you currently have on your BlackBerry smartphone.
  • Downloads Folder – This setting will allow you to specify where applications that you download – from BlackBerry App World™ storefront for example – will appear in after installation.
  • Reset Settings – Selecting this option will allow you to reset the wallpaper, layout, download folder and icon arrangement settings all together, or individually.

Home Screen Folders

When you are in the All view on your home screen, you have the ability to add folders to help organize the icons on your BlackBerry smartphone. To add a folder, all you have to do is press the Menu key and select Add Folder. You can then specify a name and change the folder icon. To remove a folder, highlight it, press the Menu key and select Delete. If you want to rename a folder, or change the folder icon later on, highlight it, press the Menu key and select Edit Folder.

If you want to move an icon to a folder, after creating a folder – or using an existing one such as Games -all you need to do is highlight the icon, press the Menu key and select Move To Folder followed by selecting the desired folder.

Show & Hide Icons

If you find you aren’t using a particular application or have enabled Application Shortcuts on the home screen, you may want to hide an icon or two. Here’s a quick listing of how to show and hide icons on your BlackBerry.

To hide an icon on the Home screen:

  1. Click an icon on the Home screen of the BlackBerry smartphone.
  2. Press the Menu key.
  3. Click Hide.

Tip: If you hide a folder icon, any icon within that folder will be hidden as well.

To show a hidden icon on the Home screen:

  1. Click an icon on the Home screen of the BlackBerry smartphone.
  2. Press the Menu key.
  3. Click Show All.

Tip: To hide all icons again, complete the steps above again.

After the Show All option has been selected, to show a hidden icon:

  1. Select the transparent icon on the Home screen that you want to make visible.
  2. Press the Menu key.
  3. Click Hide to remove the checkmark, which will no longer mark the icon as hidden.

Adding Instant Messaging contacts and Browser Bookmark icons to your home screen

I think one of the coolest features in BlackBerry 6 is being able to add a dedicated icon for an Instant Messaging contact on your home screen. Adding one of these icons means that in one click, you can open up a chat with a colleague. All you need to do is highlight a contact, press the Menu key and select Show on Home Screen. You can then choose which folder the icon will appear in, as well as having the option of marking it as a favorite. To remove their icon, highlight their icon on the home screen, press the Menu key and select Delete.

The next tip is another personal favorite of mine, as I always come across interesting websites from my friends while mobile, but I don’t have enough time to read them all when I’m on the go. To solve this problem, whenever I visit a website that I want to view later, I add a Browser Bookmark icon to my home screen. To do this, when viewing the website, press the Menu key and select Add to Home Screen. This way, when I have free time, all I need to do is tap the Browser Bookmark icon that’s added to my home screen to view the website. To remove the Browser Bookmark icon, highlight it, press the Menu key and select Delete.

Tip: Create a new folder on your home screen named Read Later and add any Browser Bookmark icons to this folder location. This is a great way to stay on top of the websites you visit and don’t have enough time to finish reading, as well as keeping your home screen organized.

BlackBerry Themes

On top of the customization options above, another great feature available to BlackBerry smartphone users are themes, which allow you to change the appearance of your BlackBerry homescreen. To view the themes on your BlackBerry smartphone, open BlackBerry App World and select the Themes category. You can also view themes from your desktop computer by going to the BlackBerry App World desktop storefront theme category. If you don’t have BlackBerry App World on your BlackBerry smartphone, here are the download instructions.

What is your favorite customization option? Mine is definitely the Read Later folder as it helps me stay on top of my web browsing. Leave a comment and let me know! (Also, don’t forget to visit the BlackBerry Support Forums and say hi to @BlackBerryHelp!)

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