BlackBerry Classic couldn’t start any apps – resolved by soft reset

This started during my trip to UK.  My 22 months old BlackBerry Classic gave me weird message when I wanted to take pictures in the Elephant restaurant in Edinburgh.  I had running at the time, and when I clicked the camera icon, it said cannot start camera app, not the exact words but basically refused to start the app.

The first thing I though was that my BlackBerry might be low on memory, so I closed, and tried again – no luck.  Then, I rebooted the phone, and took a few pictures when we were around the castle, but after that I couldn’t view my photos any more, none of the apps could start. Then I turned it off on my way back to hotel.

I tried many tests and combinations to revive the BlackBerry, because nowadays the smart phones mean everything to a person. I rarely take camera with me during most trips.  Everything is stored in the phone memory or in the cloud that need a smart phone to retrieve.  All my pictures since 22 months ago were on this phone, so were the videos, some documents, phone logs, contacts, even the key code to my hotel room.

So far these are the symptoms I found my phone had that night, and the next day, until I am back home.

  • The phone could reboot and power down using the button on the top, keyboard and touch screen were reactive.
  • After a fresh boot up, I could start a couple of apps, in a short period of time. Apps would stop working after 5-10 minutes.
  • I could see the hub, all email/message summaries, but couldn’t open any of them.
  • After 5-10 minutes, opening any apps would show a flash on the screen then app closed.
  • After reboot, some apps opened last time would show half tone on the home screen.
  • I could delete picture, remove apps when it’s reactive, but after reboot, they were still there.

I also did some research online, using my iPad, but I couldn’t do any soft reset, because I was scared that after reset it would start using roaming data. So basically, I didn’t have camera, GPS or map in the next two days in UK.

When back home, the first thing I wanted to do was to make a backup copy of all contents on the phone, so I connected it to my desktop, which has BlackBerry Link installed since I got this phone. The message I got on my PC was that the phone connected was not reachable, do you want to refresh the phone – aka factory reset?  I realized that I wouldn’t be able to get those new pictures back, but I need to revive the phone at least.  So I clicked Yes.

After a hour or so, the BlackBerry Classic was whipped clean, and everything looks fine, then I can start to re-customize my phone.

Lesson learned:

  1. Desktop sync software is helpful, it also makes backup of all pictures, videos etc when the phone was working.
  2. I should have made a backup using the Link software, I might be able to get more customized items back.

I saw a bunch of complaints online as well for the same problem, not sure if they have a solution yet since I checked last week. It may relate to the firmware update in February, but I believe the soft reset should resolve most of the issues.


BlackBerry Q20’s file system

Have the new BlackBerry Classic, a.k.a. Q20, for almost four months.  It has personal space and work space, quite isolated to each other.  The trouble I discovered earlier is that all screenshots go to work space so they are not easy to share in the social media apps, which can only install in the personal space.

Since last week, I saw a more serious problem.  When it connected to a Windows machine, the flash drive that used to connect to and could be seen in Windows no longer worked.  Windows could briefly show the used and free space of it, but no folder can be opened.  Neither my home desktop or work laptop was working, so I tried not to think this is some restriction put on from BES recently.  Even worse, this morning I found none of the MP3 music in BlackBerry was working – the player could not recognize the file format although it knew the suffix of the files.

One thing I tried and it worked is the very old trick – Reboot.

Mobile device also need to reboot once a while, even BlackBerry 10 or Apple iOS.  Lesson learned.