One of the things people love about BlackBerry smartphones is how customizable they are. It's also one of the things they miss the most when they jump ship to the "other fruit." One of the greatest examples of how customizable BlackBerrys are can be seen within the Profile management system that's included in OS 6 and 7. This profile system has been around pretty much forever on BlackBerry devices but with the arrival of OS 6, it got a lot easier to do some pretty awesome things.
When I got my first BlackBerry ever, AT&T Curve 8310, one of the first things that surprised me coming off of a "feature" phone was how the ringing vs vibrate functions were not controlled with the device's volume buttons. I remember literally turning around, walking back to the AT&T kiosk in the mall and asking very sheepishly how to put my phone on vibrate or turn the ringer off. The Profile system was not my favorite at first, but within the first couple of days of trying things out, I learned to love it.
A one-stop shop for everything notification/alerts-wise.
For BlackBerry devices, instead of every app having their own little menu for notifications, we have our own "notification center," per say. Every app that has some type of notification or alerts will be there and those alerts will be available to change as your heart desires (Yes I know the clock/alarm is the big exception, but come on it's easier to manage that within the clock app anyways, don't you think?).
Profile Management Breakdown (Default settings)
Sound Levels go from Silent and 1, being the lowest to 10, being the loudest.
- Short - Very short burst. The least of strong out of all the vibrate functions. Sometimes can go unnoticed.
- Medium - Lasts about a full second. Most commonly used default vibrate setting.
- Long - Last about two full seconds. Depending where your BlackBerry is at, "Long" vibrates can be louder than an actual ringtone.
- Counts - The number of times a vibrate setting repeats. Counts can only be 1, 2, 3, 5 or 10 times.
- In/Out of Holster/Always - The vibrate function can be set so that it only occurs when inside the device's holster, outside of it, or always regardless of location.
*By default, the vibrate function for almost all profiles (Silent, Phone Calls Only and All Alerts Off excluded) is set to Vibrate, Medium, Count 2 and In Holster.
All Alerts Off - Literally means just that. Even if you have an app, like BeBuzz that controls your phone's LED, the All Alerts Off setting will override that and the LED will not turn on. The only thing that will make any type of alert will be if someone PINGs you over BBM. That will vibrate if you have that function on BBM turned on. The All Alerts Off setting is also the only one out of all of them that is not customizable/deletable.
Normal - This is literally the profile that you start out with when you first turn on your phone or after you wipe it completely. Normal's settings brings a level 7 to the ringtone sound and a level 5 to text messages. Everything else on Normal is set to Silent (Email, BBM Groups, BBM New Messages and Calendar).Loud - Self-explanatory and the go-to profile if you need to be sure of when an alert comes through. By default, all sound levels are set to 10, the highest possible. Nothing is silent.
Medium - Much like Normal, Medium tries to bring lovers of Loud and Vibrate to a common area. The only differences between Medium and Normal is that the ringtone sound level is set to 5 and all alerts, even the ones that are Silent on Normal, follow the same pattern.
Silent - The go-to profile for many when they go into a meeting or simply cannot be disturbed. Everything is set to Silent and the Vibrate functions are turned off as well. The only difference between Silent and All Alerts Off is that the LED will still blink in the Silent profile.
Vibrate - This is my favorite profile out of all of them but only after I customize it. In the default setting Vibrate isn't that great. Believe it or not, a lot of the vibrate functions are set to "In Holster" in this profile and I kind of hate that. Phone, Text Messages and Visual Voicemail are the only functions that will vibrate "Always."
Phone Calls Only - Literally as the name says. The phone function is the only one that has any type of notification attached to it. Even the LED if turned off on everything else. You can rest assured if your profile is set to Phone Calls Only, that's the only thing that'll you'll see come in.
Social apps alerts can also be customized
When you download an app like Facebook for BlackBerry, Twitter for BlackBerry, UberSocial for BlackBerry; etc, that have use of notifications, they get added to the "Other Application - Notifiers" category. Here, you can customize everything about them.
For example, I like to have my Twitter feed refresh every 5 minutes. I like knowing it's been refreshed whenever I look at it. Except I don't want it to vibrate, make a sound or have the LED even go off when it does refresh. I do, however, want those alerts to go off when I have a new mention or a Direct Message. Using the Profile Management system I can turn off all alerts on "New Tweets" but keep the "Mentions" and "Direct Message" alerts enabled.
Same goes for BBM groups. I have a few very active groups that I love, except I don't want to be notified or even know without looking on purpose if someone has posted something. I follow the same protocol with BBM Groups as I do with new tweets. I turn the LED, sound and vibrate functions off. I do keep the little icon though, which lets me know, if I'm looking at my phone, that there's something new.
Best alert management system of any smartphone platform
I firmly believe BlackBerry doesn't get enough credit for their profile management system. I've only covered a small area of it in this How To and you can already see how much customization can be done. This is truly an area that I hope RIM doesn't change too much in the upcoming BB10 OS. Yes, it has confused some people that simply don't take the time to examine it more closely, but with a better layout (maybe?) and better visual aids, the BlackBerry Profile Management system will continue to set the standard.