Five Tips for BlackBerry Smartphone Power Users

TIPS & TRICKS / 05.27.11 / tywill1

BlackBerry smartphone tips

Just the other day I realized that I’ve been using a BlackBerry® smartphone for over six years. During those six years, I’ve learned quite a few tips and tricks that have allowed me to maximize my smartphone experience. Today I’d like to share five of my favorite tips that I use daily, so grab your BlackBerry smartphone and let’s get started.

Tip 1 – Navigate menus quickly using your BlackBerry smartphone keyboard

This is a really handy tip that applies to BlackBerry smartphones that include a physical keyboard. Whenever you are presented with a menu, you can use your keyboard to quickly cycle through the various menu options by tapping the first letter of any option listed in the menu.

For example, in the screenshot at the top of this post, you’ll notice the menu that appears if you press the Menu key while using the Pictures application on your BlackBerry. If you want to select the “Set as Contact Picture” option, depending on which BlackBerry smartphone you are using, you can scroll up using the trackpad, or simply touch the screen.

My preferred method however is to hit ‘S’ on the BlackBerry smartphone keyboard, as this will start cycling through the Menu and land on anything that starts with an ‘S’. So the first time I hit ‘S’, the option of “Set as Wallpaper” will be highlighted. Hitting ‘S’ again will then highlight the “Set As Contact Picture” option, which is what I was looking for.

Tip 2 – Dial phone numbers using letters

How many times do you look at a 1-800 phone number like 1-800-DIALUSINGLETTERS and wonder what numbers you need to dial? Great news – you don’t need to wonder anymore, as your BlackBerry smartphone will figure out the corresponding numbers automatically.

To use this feature, all you need to do is enter the first part of the phone number – in this case “1-800” – then, while holding down the ALT key, spell out ‘DIALUSINGLETTERS’ and hit the green phone button to place the call. This is a simple tip that offers a lot of value!

Tip 3 – Maximize your productivity using multitasking

BlackBerry smartphone tips

A lot of you might already know this, but your BlackBerry smartphone allows you to multitask – which is handy if you’re like me and are always doing two things at the same time. For example, let’s say you are playing a game such as Word Mole when a friend asks you for some information that you have saved in your Memopad. Instead of having to close your game, use the Application Switcher that is built into your BlackBerry smartphone to temporarily leave your game and access the home screen. You can then open your Memopad, get the information your friend needed, and then get right back to your game by using the Application Switcher.

If you want to try this feature, all you need to do is hold the Menu key of your BlackBerry smartphone down for a few seconds, and you’ll be presented with a list that contains the icons of any open applications. So if I wanted to get to my BlackBerry® Browser, I just need to select the Browser icon and I’m browsing the web.

If the icon for the application you’d like to use isn’t displayed, select the House icon to return to the Home Screen, and then open the application you needed. The Application Switcher is also a handy way of finding out which applications are currently running on your BlackBerry smartphone as well!

Tip 4 – Home screen shortcuts

BlackBerry smartphone tips

If you follow the Inside BlackBerry Help Blog, you may have seen my post where I provide instructions on how to enable BlackBerry smartphone home screen shortcuts. This feature allows you to use your keyboard to access applications instead of having to navigate and click on each icon. This feature combined with this post’s Tip 1 – using the keyboard to navigate menus – is what allows me to speed through my BlackBerry smartphone.

Tip 5 – Find your BlackBerry smartphone information

BlackBerry smartphone tips

After owning several different BlackBerry smartphones, I sometimes have trouble remembering what my BlackBerry smartphone PIN number is. Here’s a quick tip that allows you find out what your BlackBerry PIN is in addition to some other userful information, such as your current battery level, uptime and signal strength.

To access this information, all you need to is hold down ALT + SHIFT and hit ‘H’ on your keyboard. In case you’re wondering which keys I’m referring to, if you use a BlackBerry® Torch™ 9800 smartphone, the keys you would want to hit are circled in red below.

BlackBerry smartphone tips

Don’t forget to check out the user guide for your BlackBerry smartphone model, which can be found at the BlackBerry Documentation webpage. The user guides contain a lot of useful information for your device, so I strongly recommend checking them out. You can also learn more about application shortcuts, which is a really cool feature I’ll be talking about in a future post.

What are some of your favorite tips? Leave a comment and let me know, as I might feature your tip in an upcoming post!

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