Hard Resets Versus Soft Resets on Your BlackBerry

These simple tasks can solve a lot of problems with your BlackBerry.

If you're new to Blackberry phones (or new to smartphones in general), it takes a while to acclimate to smartphone terminology. All of the additional functionality and conveniences that come with a smartphone come at the expense of the simplicity of the average cell phone. Your device does way more than the average cell phone and has more in common with a PC than you think.

Resetting your device from time to time, much like resetting or shutting down your PC, is essential to keep it running properly. Sometimes, a soft reset will do, while other times, you'll need to perform a hard reset. But what is the difference between these two, and when do you need them?

Soft Reset

Performing a soft reset is one of the most basic troubleshooting steps on the BlackBerry. If you experience any of the following problems, performing a soft reset may be the remedy:

  • If you are running out of memory.
  • If your device has slowed to a crawl.
  • If an application freezes and you cannot terminate it.
  • If you experience problems receiving or sending an email.
  • If you install a theme or a background and it does not show up.

If you call your carrier for BlackBerry support, many technicians will ask you to perform a soft reset immediately. To perform a soft reset, hold down the ALT  + CAP (right side) + DEL keys.

The BlackBerry also allows you to perform a Double soft reset, which is somewhere between a soft reset and a hard reset on the functionality spectrum. To perform a double soft reset, hold down the ALT + CAP + DEL keys, and when your display lights back up, hold down the ALT + CAP + DEL keys again. If you have a BlackBerry case that is difficult to remove, a double soft reset may save you the time and effort of peeling off your case to perform a hard reset.

Hard Reset

While a soft reset can resolve many basic BlackBerry issues, a hard reset can resolve some of the more persistent issues. By performing a hard reset, you are cutting off power to the device and disconnecting it from any networks it is connected to (wireless, data, and Wi-Fi). If you have already performed a soft reset that did not work, or if you have any of the following issues, you should perform a hard reset.

  • If the keyboard, scroll wheel, or click wheel is frozen.
  • If the device is completely locked up.
  • If you cannot reconnect to the cellular or data network (i.e., your device only displays lowercase gsm, edge, or gprs).

On some BlackBerry devices, you can perform a hard reset simply by removing the battery from the device and then replacing it. Other devices have a tiny, pin-sized hole on their rear panels; to reset these phones, you need to insert a pin or paper clip into this hole and hold it for a few seconds.

If you find that you regularly have to reset your device, you can set it to shut itself down and power itself back on at specific times. This will save you a lot of troubleshooting time, and your device will perform better.