How to turn on, and customize PRIV keyboard shortcuts

HOW-TO / 01.20.16 / tywill1

priv_shortcuts_1Did you know that you can use the PRIV physical keyboard keys as shortcut keys while viewing your home screen?

Through a combination of short press and long press keyboard shortcuts you can create up to 52 keyboard shortcuts that can help you access just about anything on your device.

In other words, you can press a single key for one shortcut, or press and hold the same key for 1 to 2 seconds for a different shortcut emoji_happy

Best of all, these shortcuts can be customized as you see fit and you can take advantage of the BlackBerry Launcher’s shortcuts. As a result, not only can you open apps, you can perform actions such as contacting a specific person, turning Wi-Fi on or off and much more.

For example, to compose an email, press C (instead of opening Hub), and tap the Compose button, or press W to call your voicemail.

Please note that turning on keyboard shortcuts will turn off the ability to perform a Device Search if you start typing while viewing your home screen which is the default settings.In order to use keyboard shortcuts you will need to turn this feature on using the steps below.

Since this is the case, to perform a Device Search if you turn on short-press keyboard shortcuts using the steps below, tap on the Device Search icon, or swipe up and to the left from the bottom of your display to use the Device Search swipe shortcut.

With that being said, if after trying out this feature you prefer the type and search feature instead, you can still take advantage of long-press shortcuts. Just repeat the steps below again and select Start a search after tapping Typing action.

  1. While viewing the home screen tap the All apps icon (circled in red)
  2. Tap the gear icon in the top right corner (circled in red)
  3. Tap Typing Action
  4. Tap Use a short-press keyboard shortcut
  5. Tap Keyboard shortcuts


After completing these steps you will be shown the preloaded Short Press keyboard shortcuts that are listed below, as well as an empty list of Long Press keyboard shortcuts that you can setup as you see fit.

Key Shortcut
A Open the contacts app
B Open a browser
C Compose a email
D Add a note in the Notes app
H Open the Help app
K Lock the device screen
L Open the calendar app to the current day
M Open the BlackBerry Hub
N Open BBM
O Open the device settings
P Open the call history
S Open a search app
T Add a task in the Tasks app
U Open the calculator
W Call voicemail

To add a new shortcut tap on your desired letter within Short Press, or Long Press followed by All Shortcuts or tap one of the suggestions.


If you tapped on a preloaded shortcut, tap Edit followed by All Shortcuts, or tap one of the suggestions.

If you tapped on All Shortcuts you will have the ability setup shortcuts, ranging from contacting specific people, or what I really like, triggering a specific feature of an app.

For example, after a recent update to Google™ Maps I set my X key as a short press shortcut to start the new Driving mode feature automatically. To see all of the available shortcuts review the listing at the end of this post emoji_happy

To delete a shortcut, tap on the letter followed by tapping Delete.

In addition to the previously mentioned steps, you can also setup unassigned keys as shortcuts by pressing and holding the key you’d like to setup as a shortcut while viewing your home screen.

Now that you are familiar with shortcuts, set some up and let me know in the comments what your favorite shortcut is!

Category Shortcut
Communications Compose BBM
Compose email
Compose text message
Email contact
Text contact
Calendar and Agenda Add event
Today’s agenda
Contacts Add contact
View contact card
Phone Call voicemail
Check call history
Media and Productivity Add note
Add task
Play a playlist
Record video
Device Check battery level
Check data usage
Lock screen
Set ringtone
Set wallpaper
Turn Bluetooth on/off
Turn Wi-Fi on/off
Wireless and networks
Browser View bookmarks
Visit bookmark
Location New destination
Alarm and Timers New alarm
New timer
View alarms
Other Contact
Direct dial
Direct message
Docs new document
Drive scan
Drive shortcut
Driving mode
Gmail label
Music playlist
Settings shortcut
Sheets new spreadsheet
Slides new presentation

Note: Available shortcuts can differ depending on what apps you have installed on your PRIV.

To learn about PRIV by BlackBerry or troubleshoot an issue, there are several great options available to help. Visit for access to product documentation, how-to demos, tips and tricks, YouTube videos, support forums, knowledge base articles, Twitter support, and contact information for your region.

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