10 time-saving shortcuts for the BlackBerry Priv

Got a BlackBerry Priv? Check out these tips for creating shortcuts, taking advantage of unlock features and more.

Alina Bradford CNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
4 min read

The Priv is BlackBerry's first smartphone to run on Google's Android software, combining BlackBerry's dependable security infrastructure with one of the world's most popular mobile operating systems. That's not Priv's only trick, though. Here are 10 things you can do with this BlackBerry/Google mashup.

1. Easy access with your keyboard

Always needing to unlock your phone in a hurry? Hold down the space bar on the physical keyboard and you're golden. The lock screen will slide up and out of your way. This will only work if you're are using Smart Lock on your phone, though.

2. Choose among a bunch of unlocking options

Not using Smart Lock? You should be. There are several awesome ways to unlock a Priv to make your life easier.

Tap the Settings icon > Security > Smart Lock. Then, enter your password, PIN or pattern, and tap Next. Choose what type of unlocking rules you would like your Priv to have. You can choose to:

  • Keep your device unlocked when it is connected to a Bluetooth enabled device, when you tap an NFC tag, or when you tap an NFC-enabled device through the Trusted Devices option.
  • Keep your device unlocked when it detects it is at home or at another trusted location using the Trusted Places option.
  • To unlock your device when it recognizes your face using the Trusted Face option.
  • To unlock your device when you say "OK Google," with the Trusted Voice option.
  • To keep your device unlocked when you carry it on your body or in a bag using the On-body Detection option and then turning on the switch.

Complete the instructions on the screen to pick your unlocking rule. No matter which one you choose, the space bar trick will work.

3. Lift the Priv to wake it up

When you enable "Lift to Wake," picking your phone up will unlock the phone completely, and take you right to the home screen by the time the phone gets to chest level. To set Lift to Wake, go to Settings > Display > Lift to Wake and turn on the option.

4. Set a custom swipe shortcut

If you press on the home key for an extended time, BlackBerry Search, Google Now and BlackBerry Hub pop up. If you don't like those options and want to go rouge, setting a new home button shortcut on Priv is easy. Here's instructions on how to customize the BlackBerry Priv's swipe shortcuts.

5. Enable pop-up widgets on the BlackBerry Priv

The customization doesn't stop with the home button. The Priv's Pop-Up Widgets allow you to activate a widget from an app's icon, which can save space on your screen. Here's how to enable pop-up widgets on the BlackBerry Priv.

6. Set keyboard shortcuts for apps and actions

Need even more customization? Satisfy the control freak inside you by setting some keyboard shortcuts.

A long-press on any key on the keyboard can launch your favorite apps, but you need to set it up first. Long-press your letter key of choice on the physical keyboard while on the home screen and the Shortcuts menu will open.

Now just tap on the action and/or app you would like for the key to activate. The next time you long-press that key your app will or action will launch.

7. Use the BlackBerry Hub shortcuts

The BlackBerry Hub has a bunch of preset shortcuts, as well. For example, while viewing the message list, pressing "C" lets you compose a new message, pressing "U" skips to the next unread message, and pressing "S" allows you to search the list.

8. Do everything with the Universal Search

The Universal Search bar on the Priv lets you do just about anything. Type in a few letters of the name of an app and it will pop up, ready for launch. Type in a contact name and the Priv's ready to make a call or send an email. Type in a word and the Priv will bring up recent searches that include that word or look to see if that word is an event on your calendar. Basically, the Universal Search tool is the overly enthusiastic assistant you've always needed.

9. Find all of your PDA features in one place

BlackBerry is known for its use as a PDA, so the Priv gives you a little taste of that with its Productivity Tab. The Productivity Tab gives you a quick link to calendars, emails, contacts and more.

To enable the tab, go to Settings > Display > Productivity Tab and flip on the switch. The tab will appear on the upper right side of your screen, no matter what app you're using.

10. Fast scroll on the keyboard

The Priv's keyboard has a capacitive touch sensor, which allows you to scroll any document or webpage on your screen by simply running your thumb up or down over the physical keyboard. This is a lifesaver since holding this long phone and scrolling with your thumb on-screen is almost impossible.