Since Simon first published How To Upgrade Your BlackBerry OS, there have been a ton of updates and questions from BlackBerry Cool readers, so I thought it would be good to republish with new tips and put everything on a single page.
What you’ll need
- Desktop Manager (free 200-300 MB download)
- Handheld software (free 100+ MB download)
- Time (about two hours, counting download, device backup, and installation)
Do I need to upgrade?
The quick answer? Yes. OS upgrades come with performance enhancements and sometimes new features that will make your BlackBerry experience much smoother. While we can’t recommend grabbing unofficial software, as it could bork your device, it’s worth becoming familiar with the process and trying it out for yourself. It’s a fun process that makes getting to know your BlackBerry more fun.
Before you upgrade, make sure you have the latest software. To do this, go to Options > About and the details of your device will be displayed. Take note of the device model number and the software version. Later in this tutorial, we’ll show you how to go about finding the latest OS, and comparing it to see if you’re eligible for an upgrade. But first, lets get what you need to start the process.
1. Download Desktop Manager
Desktop Manager is the software that lets your BlackBerry talk with your PC or Mac. As of writing this, the Mac version is still in its early development, and isn’t as smooth as the PC version for upgrading BlackBerry software.
File size: 73.96 MB
Date posted: 23-Nov-09
File size: 204.71 MB
Date posted: 23-Nov-09
File size: 26.730 MB
Date posted: 12-Aug-09
Make sure to delete the vendor.xml file so that your software is carrier agnostic and you aren’t tied to any specific official updates. We can assume that if it’s good enough for one carrier, it’s good enough for all. You can find the vendor.xml file in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\AppLoader.
2. Download handheld software
The only thing to really keep in mind when downloading the software proper for your device is that it needs to be for your model. As stated above, be sure to check Options>About in order to check your device model number. The source doesn’t matter so much, just make sure to delete the vendor.xml file. Below, you’ll find some of the latest software as of January 12th, 2010.
Latest Official BlackBerry OS 5 Updates
Download OS 188.8.131.525 for the BlackBerry Curve 8530 from Sprint.
Download OS 184.108.40.2069 for the BlackBerry Storm 9530 from MTS Mobility.
Download OS 220.127.116.115 for the Storm 9500 by A1.
Download the Official 18.104.22.1681 for the BlackBerry Bold 9000 from Bell.
Download the Official OS 22.214.171.1241 for the BlackBerry Storm2 9520 by TIM Italy.
Download the Official OS 126.96.36.1991 for the BlackBerry Curve 8900 from Optus Mobile.
Here is a list of carriers who can provide the latest software. If you only want to download from your service provider, be sure to check in at these links.
BlackBerry Software for Asia Pacific
BlackBerry Software for Europe
BlackBerry Software for South America
3. Install handset software
Now that you’ve installed the Desktop Manager and Handheld software, you’re good to go. If you’re a Mac user, you can use the device update feature in the software, but you aren’t going to be able to roam between carriers and get the latest software. As of writing this, it’s still better to be on a PC, or use a virtual Windows service like BootCamp. Double click on the .exe Handheld Software file and install it to your PC.
Plug in your BlackBerry via USB, launch the desktop software and Desktop Manager should detect that your device is able to be upgraded. Just follow the wizard that pops up, and the Desktop Manager will back up all of your contacts and emails, wipe your device, install the new operating system, and restore your data from backup. Keep in mind this process will reset many of your applications, so you might have to put in activation keys and the like back in once everything’s done.
Be warned, however, that not all developers are as quick to patch up their software as you are to upgrade yours. Any third-party apps that you had installed might not be designed for the new operating system, so you may need to pick up a newer copy if it’s available. By the same token, a new operating system could also open up some software designed to take advantage of the new features or layout.
Been having any problems with your install? Leave a comment here, and we’ll do our best to fix the issue. Also, we’ll be updating the guide as new operating systems come out, complete with the freshest download sites.