BlackBerry How To: Determine Memory Use, Avoid Performance Degradation

Load up too many apps without proactively managing your BlackBerry's memory and you could end up with an underperforming--or even worse, frozen--smartphone. Here's how to determine memory use, as well as total application space, and avoid trouble.

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Mon, June 09, 2008

CIO — Getting the most from you Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone means downloading and installing third-party applications, whether they're for business productivity, work/life balance, play, or a little of each. But go overboard with those apps and your BlackBerry's memory will not thank you for it. Your handheld only has so much memory, and unfortunately, memory cards aren't any help when it comes to applications; by default, RIM blocks the ability to load apps to external memory.

In the past, we offered lists of our favorite BlackBerry applications--many of which are free, some open source--and even asked the pros at RIM for their opinions on the best third party BlackBerry apps. We knew you'd want to try each and every one, so we also wrote up a quick lists of tips to help free up smartphone memory. This week, we're taking your knowledge of BlackBerry memory management a step further. What follows are detailed instructions on how to use the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software to determine your exact memory usage at any given time, your device's total application space, as well as when you should start deleting those unused apps to avoid performance issues.

1) Update your BlackBerry Desktop Manager, BlackBerry Handheld Software

Before you attempt to determine your RIM smartphone's memory usage, you should ensure that your PC is running the latest version of BlackBerry Desktop Manager and that your smartphone's operating system is also up to date. To find out which version of the desktop software you've got, launch the application, click the Help option at the far left of the screen and select About BlackBerry Desktop Manager from the dropdown menu. If your software isn't version 4.3 or higher, visit RIM's site for an upgrade.

Screenshot of BlackBerry Desktop Manager

To find out if you have the newest version of the BlackBerry handheld software on your device, visit your carrier's website--you may have to login--and locate the software upgrades page. From there, make sure the software running on your smartphone matches the latest version available from your service provider. Click the Options icon your BlackBerry home screen, followed by About to see which software you're currently using. (Note: Users connected to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) may need to go through their IT departments to upgrade handheld software.)

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