Five Tip Friday – Get What You Need Faster!

FIVE TIP FRIDAY / 09.30.11 / tywill1

BlackBerry 7

Introducing Julianna – she’s got this great post for you with some very useful tips and tricks you should try out today. Which of her tips is your favorite? Let me know! – Ed.

Have you ever wanted to get to something on your BlackBerry® 6 or BlackBerry® 7 smartphone quickly? If you’re like me, customization and shortcuts are key to everything you do. After seeing Ty’s amazing Five Tip Friday series, I wanted to share my favorite tips for getting the most out of your BlackBerry smartphone.

1. Universal Search


Universal Search is one of my favorite features of BlackBerry 6 and BlackBerry 7. Rather than having to navigate through menus, I can type in something like “Service Book” or “Themes” to get directly to what I need. You can even type in a search term and use the “Extend Search” option to launch a search in apps such as Facebook®, Twitter® and more!

Some of the things you can search for using Universal Search include:

  • Contacts
  • Emails
  • BlackBerry 6 or BlackBerry 7 options (e.g. theme, sound profile)
  • Email accounts
  • Files on your BlackBerry smartphone or microSD® card
  • On-device help articles

What’s great is that even with Universal Search, I can still dial a number directly from my home screen because BlackBerry 6 and BlackBerry 7 recognize when you might be trying to dial a number. Haven’t tried Universal Search yet? Take a look at the post Ty recently published on how to use Universal Search.

2. Setting The Convenience Key

By default, the Convenience Key at the side of a BlackBerry smartphone will launch the Camera application. For many people, this is perfect for those wonderfully unexpected situations where you need a camera quickly. But did you know that you can set your Convenience Key to launch any application on your BlackBerry smartphone, including some third-party applications? You can also trigger actions such as your Password Lock, Application Switcher, or Compose Email.
To change what your Convenience Key launches, follow the steps below.

BlackBerry Device Software 4.3 to 5.0

1. Go to Options > Screen/Keyboard or Settings > Options > Screen/Keyboard

BlackBerry 6 or BlackBerry 7

  1. Go to Options > Device > Convenience Key
  2. Click on the drop-down box and select the application you want your Convenience Key to launch
  3. Press your Menu key and select ”Save”

3. AutoText

For me, the greatest built-in AutoText entries are “mynumber” and “mypin”. I’m notoriously bad at remembering numbers, including my own phone number (after all, I don’t call myself very often!) so these little AutoTexts are great to insert into an email, BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™) message or many other applications on your BlackBerry smartphone. Just be careful where you type these AutoTexts so you don’t accidentally send your PIN to people in all of your social networks!

The “myver” AutoText is also useful if you’re looking for support through the BlackBerry Support Community or @BlackBerryHelp on Twitter. “Myver” will automatically be replaced with your BlackBerry smartphone hardware version, OS and even the OS build. This information is crucial in helping your peers in the BlackBerry Support Community and our awesome Social Media Support Team find the solution that will work best for you.

If you haven’t already, take a look at Ty’s Fun with AutoText – BlackBerry 6 Edition post (which also applies to BlackBerry 7) or Michelle’s Fun with AutoText post for BlackBerry Device Software 5 (or earlier) and see what else you can do with AutoText!

4. Using Social Feeds

Social Feeds is a great built-in app on BlackBerry smartphones with BlackBerry 6 and BlackBerry 7 – it can aggregate content and perform almost any of the functions of the integrated social apps. This is great for anyone who uses a combination of social networks, because you can both review all of the updates from your networks as well as cross-post to any combination of the integrated social apps, such as Twitter for BlackBerry smartphones or Facebook for BlackBerry smartphones. Did you know you can perform many of these functions within Social Feeds once your accounts are integrated?

  • Filter your social feed to show all of your social networks or just one
  • Add a contact to your Social Feeds 2.0 Favorites
  • Start a chat with your BBM contacts from their BBM update
  • Reply to or retweet posts in Twitter
  • Like or Comment on posts in Facebook
  • Post links from your RSS feeds to your social networks (with link shortening!)

If you haven’t already, head over to Ty’s post on how to use Social Feeds 2.0 and get started with this great new app! The Inside BlackBerry Blog also has posts reviewing the features in Social Feeds for BlackBerry 6 and Social Feeds 2.0 for BlackBerry 7.

5. Customizing Menus


A simple and useful feature of BlackBerry smartphones is being able to hide icons (press the Menu key when you have an icon selected, then select “Hide”). This is helpful if you want to hide multiple inboxes, or just have icons you don’t want to show on your home screen.

In BlackBerry 6 and BlackBerry 7, you can also mark an icon on your home screen as a favorite. I have done this with my most frequently used apps, so I can quickly slide back and forth between my full set of icons on my home screen and a smaller selection in my favorite icons.

And did you know that you can also add icons to your Media panel by simply moving the icon to your Media folder on the home screen? This is handy if you have apps which you want to access alongside your other Media apps, such as BBM™ Music.

So what do you think? Leave a comment and share your favorite tip for getting the most out of your BlackBerry smartphone.

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