BlackBerry legacy services EOL: resources

December 30, 2021    Article    1096 words    6 mins read
BlackBerry legacy services EOL: resources

As a reminder, the legacy services for BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 and earlier versions, will no longer be available after January 4, 2022. As of this date, devices running these legacy services and software through either carrier or Wi-Fi connections will no longer reliably function, including for data, phone calls, SMS and 9-1-1 functionality. Blackberry devices and services EOL January 4, 2022

This means that if you happen to have a BlackBerry device around (like that beautiful Passport) you will need to prepare for the incoming deluge.

What do I need to do?

  1. Turn off BlackBerry Protect on all your devices.
  2. You should have all the autoloaders for the BlackBerry device(s) you own downloaded somewhere on your computer.
  3. Make sure your devices are up to date (install the latest autoloader if needed).
  4. Setup all devices and skip the part where you enter your BlackBerry ID.
  5. If by any chance you want to still write applications for the BlackBerry 10 OS platform, you will need to download Momentics IDE now, install and run it once so it can install the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK.

What do I lose?

In the USA, the shutdown of 3G that is happening throughout the next years will affect calls and texts as those things run through the 3G network on BlackBerry 10, not LTE. LTE will be used for data and VoLTE (Voice over LTE), but BlackBerry 10 is not compatible with the implementation of VoLTE that will be used in the USA, so when 3G is turned off, BlackBerry 10 phones lose calls and text.

In the rest of the world is a different story but still depends on the region.

Quoting BlackBerry from the initial post:

As of this date (January 4, 2022), devices running these legacy services and software through either carrier or Wi-Fi connections will no longer reliably function, including for data, phone calls, SMS and 9-1-1 functionality.

If you live in the USA you just need to be fully prepared to have your phone stop working at any time, without any warning, and without any “fix”. You will be on a completely unsupported device, and have already received end-of-life warnings for the BlackBerry 10 platform, so you are taking that risk upon yourself and you need to be prepared to switch to a supported device at any time if needed.

Why turn BlackBerry Protect off?

BlackBerry Protect is a security feature that requires BlackBerry servers to be up and running in order to “pass”. Those servers are going away on January 4, 2022. Should your OS get corrupted in any way, which is certainly a thing that happens to people, the normal solution is to use an autoloader to wipe and reinstall the OS - but if Protect is on and the BlackBerry Protect servers aren’t there to respond your device will be a brick, forever and ever. At any time, your device could have a problem and then you can’t get it running again because there’s simply no solution to fix it.

By turning off BlackBerry Protect and then wiping the device with an autoloader, and setting it up without a BlackBerry ID (and thus without Protect), this means that you lose access to all installed apps that aren’t “stock” except for any Android apps that still work. But it also means that the device could be wiped and reloaded if it glitches - it won’t be an unfixable brick.

Should I update my device?

Of course! Latest BlackBerry 10 version is and autoloaders can be downloaded from here. If you need any Developer Beta autoloaders, the official BlackBerry page is still up.

DeviceVariantsAutoloader file

Once the file is downloaded, extract the .7z archive and you will get a new .exe file; make sure BlackBerry Link is closed. Plug your device into your Windows (yes, Windows is required for this step) computer and double click the .exe file you just extracted. The autoloader will start installing files to your device, during this process it reboots your device as well. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR DEVICE WHILE THIS IS GOING ON. You run the risk of soft-bricking your device (black screen red blinking led) if you mess with it during the loading process.

Should take about 10 minutes for the OS will load and your device will reboot. After it reboots it will bring you to the initial setup. Do not enter your BlackBerry ID when asked.

Where can I get more applications?

A small list of BlackBerry applications in .bar (native) format (not Android .apk).

Can I still install and run Android applications?

Version 10.3 of the BlackBerry 10 operating system can run apps written for Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean MR2, API level 18) and earlier. That means you can run a lot of outdated and probably unsecured applications (but also you can run the latest versions of Telegram, Whatsapp, K-9 Mail, OpenKeychain, etc).

The Android 4.3 runtime has multicore support, however Android apps are limited to two cores even on quad-core devices like the BlackBerry Passport, so Android stuff might be slow. Use the Yalp store to download and install .apk files or a website that allows you to download the .apk files (APKPure, APKMirror). You can also install F-Droid.

Anything else that might be interesting?

Should I still use my BlackBerry?

Definitely, they are beautiful devices, just have an additional phone on you if you live in the USA.