How to transfer your phone book, calendar & photos from BlackBerry to Android
January 7th, 2013
If you’re upgrading from a BlackBerry smartphone to an Android smartphone, you’ll want to transfer across data such as your phone book, calendar appointments and photos.
An increasing number of people are ditching the BlackBerry and switching to an Android-based smartphone such as the Galaxy S3. Although Android devices normally lack a hardware keyboard, they’ve gained popularity due to the large selection of free applications and the easy-to-use touchscreen interface. Android also has many applications to substitute for BBM including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and ChatON.
Moving from BlackBerry to Android is a fairly painless procedure – a few steps need to be taken to transfer your data and then you’ll be ready to go. In this step-by-step guide, we look at how to transfer your phone book, calendar and photos from a BlackBerry device to an Android device. We’ll also look at how to transfer your phone number.
This guide is fully updated for 2013. Other websites may have out-of-date information and may ask you to use the Google Sync for BlackBerry application. Please be aware that this application was discontinued in June 2012 and will no longer function. Instead, you must use the methods discussed below.
How do I transfer my phone book from BlackBerry to Android?
As an operating system, Android is heavily integrated with Google Accounts. Whenever you use an Android device, it’ll automatically download any phone numbers which are saved in your Google account. For this reason, the easiest way of transferring phone numbers from BlackBerry to Android is through the use of a Google account. Even if you’re not a fan of Google’s e-mail service, it’s still worth getting an account as you’ll need one to download Android applications at a later date. The easiest way to get one is to sign up for Gmail.
Once you’ve created a Google account, you’ll need to synchronise your BlackBerry phone book to Google. This synchronisation can be achieved wirelessly and over-the-air using your 3G or wi-fi connection.
To set up your Google account on a BlackBerry handset:
- Sign up for a Gmail account if you don’t already have one.
- Set up the Enhanced Gmail Plugin service for BlackBerry. You can do this by visiting www.blackberry.com/integrate from your BlackBerry web browser.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to integrate your Gmail account with BlackBerry. You’ll need to provide your Gmail username and password.
- Verify that Gmail has been set up correctly on your device. There should be a new icon that allows you to access your Gmail inbox (see right).
Once you’ve configured Gmail, you can enable contact synchronisation to Google. To do this:
- On your BlackBerry device, go to Settings > Email Accounts.
- If you’re prompted, you may need to select Internet Mail Account. At this stage, you may also need to provide the username and password for your BlackBerry Internet Service account.
- From the list of e-mail accounts, select your Gmail account followed by the Menu button and Edit. Scroll down and expand the subheading for Synchronisation Options. Tick the box for Contacts and select Save. You will now be prompted for your Gmail password to confirm.
- Providing you’re connected to the internet and everything has been set up correctly, your phone book should appear on the Google Contacts webpage after a couple of minutes. If it doesn’t, check this troubleshooting page.
Once your BlackBerry phone book has been transferred to Gmail, it should automatically appear on your Android device. This may take a couple of minutes.
When you first set up your Android device, you will be asked to log in to Gmail. You should ensure that you log in to the same account which was used on your BlackBerry device. Unless both your BlackBerry and Android devices are configured with the same Gmail account, contact synchronisation will not work.
Note that if you make any further changes to the address book on your BlackBerry device, those changes will automatically be synchronised to Google and to your Android device. For this reason, you should disable synchronisation before deleting contacts from your BlackBerry device. Contact synchronisation occurs every 4 hours on BlackBerry.
How do I transfer my calendar appointments from BlackBerry to Android?
You can transfer your calendar appointments from BlackBerry to Android by synchronising your calendar with a Google account. As with transferring your phone book, you must use the same Gmail account on both your handsets.
- On your BlackBerry device, go to Settings > Email Accounts.
- If you’re prompted, you may need to select Internet Mail Account. You may also need to provide the username and password for your BlackBerry account at this stage.
- From the list of e-mail accounts, select your Gmail account followed by the Menu button and Edit. Scroll down and expand the subheading for Synchronisation Options. You should tick the box for Calendar and select Save. You will now be prompted for your Gmail password to confirm the change.
- Providing you’re connected to the internet and everything has been set up correctly, your calendar appointments should now begin to appear in Google Calendar. Your appointments will also appear on your Android handset after a couple of minutes. If it doesn’t, check this troubleshooting page.
Although all future appointments will be transferred to your Android device, only the past 14 days of historical appointments will be transferred. Any older appointments that you wish to keep will need to be re-entered manually.
How do I transfer photos from my BlackBerry to an Android device?
The first step is to copy your BlackBerry photos onto a PC or laptop. You’ll need to download the BlackBerry Desktop Software before you get started.
- Using the USB data cable that was provided with your smartphone (BlackBerry & Android devices use the same type of USB cable), connect your BlackBerry device to a computer.
- On your BlackBerry device, you’ll be given several options about how you’d like to connect your device to a computer. You should select the “USB Drive” connection mode. Your BlackBerry device should show up as a new drive within “My Computer” (just like a USB memory stick).
- Double-click on the BlackBerry device drive. You’ll find your photographs inside the BlackBerry/camera/ folder. These can now be copied onto your computer.
You’ll also be able to copy over any MP3s, voice recordings, videos and downloads. These will be stored in different sub-folders of the BlackBerry folder. For more information, see the BlackBerry help blog.
Once you’ve copied your photos onto a PC, you’ll be able to subsequently copy them on to your Android device. Using the USB cable, plug in your new Android device. It should appear as a new drive within My Computer. Create a new folder within the phone (for example “BlackBerry Import”) and drag-and-drop your photos here. They’ll appear as a folder within the Android Gallery application.
Can I transfer text messages from BlackBerry to Android?
There is no simple way to transfer text messages from a BlackBerry device to an Android device. However, you can back up your text messages to an e-mail account using various BlackBerry applications. This will allow you to keep a record of any important messages. Check BlackBerry App World for suitable applications.
Can I continue to use BBM after I switch to Android?
No, Android is not compatible with the BlackBerry Messenger service. As an alternative, you could use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or ChatON. These instant messaging services are cross-platform and you can use it to communicate with friends on iPhone, Android or BlackBerry.
If you’d like to continue receiving BBM messages, you must hold on to your old BlackBerry device. Providing you’ve unlocked it, you can place a cheap Pay As You Go SIM card inside it. You’ll need to choose a BlackBerry-compatible tariff with access to the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS).
Can I continue using BlackBerry applications on my Android?
No. BlackBerry applications will not work on Android. You will need to find an Android equivalent for each application. It is also impossible to transfer application data from BlackBerry to Android (for example high scores in games).
Can I keep my existing phone number?
Yes. If you are simply upgrading your handset through your mobile operator, they’ll probably provide you with a new SIM card and handle the transfer of your phone number. Depending on the Android device you’re switching to, you may also need to change your SIM card for a Micro SIM. Smartphones which use Micro SIM include the Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2 and HTC One X.
If you’re switching mobile operators, you’ll need to ask your old mobile operator for a PAC Code. This code should be given to your new network and your number will be transferred in no more than 24 hours. For more information, see our detailed guide to transferring your phone number.
What should I do with my old BlackBerry?
We recommend holding on to your old device for a couple of weeks: this will give you time to discover whether there is any remaining data you’ve yet to transfer to Android.
Once you’ve decided that you no longer want your old BlackBerry, it can be a good idea to pass it on to a friend or a family member. If you unlock your BlackBerry first, they’ll be able to use it on a range of super-cheap tariffs. giffgaff can provide fairly good value for BlackBerry customers: it’s £13/month for 250 minutes, unlimited texts, 1GB internet and BlackBerry internet. Unlocking your BlackBerry will also maximise its value if you decide to sell it. See our in-depth guide to unlocking your BlackBerry device for more information.
I'm a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005 with the aim of demystifying mobile technology for the rest of us.
Before writing about mobile technology, my background was in space & atmospheric physics. I have also worked in software development. Nowadays, I help companies to explain mobile technology to their customers. Please check out my portfolio or get in touch for more information. I'm also on Google+.