Blackberry Profiles

I’ve recently received a Blackberry Curve 8330 from my workplace. Unfortunately the documentation seems a little thin on a number of aspects, one of which is “Profiles” which is what controls alerts and ring tones. Below is my attempt to document a few of the settings based on Google searches (this appears to apply to OS 4.5 and below – the newer 4.7 code seems to use a “Sounds” setting that is more granular).

  • Browser: push messages from your network provider (eg: Verizon). You can sign up for things like weather alerts at “” that get pushed this way.
  • Calendar: calendar appointment alerts
  • Level 1 Messages: email messages that you mark as “Level 1” in your email filters. In short by using a filter, you can make sure you get a notice that certain messages cause alerts. This may also include “PIN” messages (that is BlackBerry to BlackBerry) messages.
  • Messages[Desktop]: enterprise mail notification if your BlackBerry is using a BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server)
  • Messenger – Alert: when someone joins or becomes available to BlackBerry Messenger.
  • Messenger – New Message: a new BlackBerry Messenger message has arrived.
  • MMS: alert of an incoming “Multi-Media” message (eg: photos or video)
  • Phone: incoming phone call
  • PI Event Alarm: an alarm for a scheduled “PocketInformant” event. This option will only show if you use WebIS’s excellent “PocketInformant” tool.
  • PI Task Alarm: an alert of a “PocketInformant” due task (see “PI Event Alarm” above for more).
  • SMS Text: alert of incoming Short Message System message. SMS messages are what are typically known as “text messages” for most phones (including non-smart phones).
  • Tasks: alert when a task is due.

Under each of the above alert types, you can set how it is handled, for instance whether it vibrates, rings, etc. The alerts are divided between “Out of Holster” and “In Holster”, the former meaning that the BlackBerry has been put in its case (ie: is probably on your hip) and the later meaning it has been taken out of it’s case. Note that “In Holster” only applies to those holsters that can set off the magnet switch (generally OEM holsters).

The handling options are:

  • Out of Holster/In Holster: indicates whether to make a (ring) tone for this alert, vibrate, both, or none.
  • Ring Tone: the ring tone to use for this alert. Does not apply if vibrate only or “none” for above alert.
  • Volume: volume level for playing the ring tone. Again does not apply if vibrate only or “none” for above alert.
  • Number of Beeps: number of beeps (tones) to make on the notification. Things like “Browser” types where you’d want a single beep etc. use this. Apparently to see this you have to set the “Ring Tone” to an alert sound or a short, short, ring tone.
  • Repeat Notification: whether to blink the BlackBerry light if you didn’t respond to a notification. Unfortunately can’t do audible repeats (supposedly there is a 3rd party solution for this called “WebMessenger Alerts”).
  • Number of Vibrations: how many times to vibrate the BlackBerry on an alert. Only applies if “vibrate” is turned on (as opposed to “Tone” or “None”). The vibrations appear to occur before the tone (as opposed to coincidental with it). This allows you to service the alert before disturbing anyone.

NOTE: It’s kind of more complicated than the above might imply on an incoming phone call. Basically the BlackBerry(or rather your wireless network), gives 30 seconds for you to answer a call. If say you set “Vibrate+Tone” and then have “3” vibrations, well it will do 3 vibrations, your ring tone, then if there is still time left, 3 more vibrations, then if there’s more time, your ring tone, and so on – all up to 30 seconds. The fewer number of vibrations and the shorter the ring tone, the more iterations (repeats) you’ll get of the vibration then ring sequence (similarly if it’s ring only, then the shorter the ring tone, the more repeats of the ring tone).

Hope that helps as there doesn’t seem to be a generalized document for this nor is this in the BlackBerry manual.

By the way, here is a good manual on how to add per-contact ring tones.

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