Does BlackBerry BBM still work?

BlackBerry Messenger, commonly known as BBM, was a popular instant messaging app developed by the Canadian company BlackBerry Limited. First released in 2005, BBM quickly gained popularity as it was preloaded on BlackBerry devices and allowed users to chat for free using data or WiFi.

At its peak, BBM had over 60 million monthly active users and was extremely popular especially among teenagers and young adults who embraced BlackBerry smartphones. Its core features included one-to-one chatting, group chats, voice notes, photo and file sharing. BBM helped pioneer the messaging app space years before WhatsApp and other apps entered the market.

However, with the decline of BlackBerry and the rise of iOS and Android smartphones in the late 2000s, BBM’s user base started shrinking rapidly. In 2013, BlackBerry announced that it was making BBM available for Android and iOS, but by then other messaging apps had taken over the market.

BBM Usage Over Time

BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) was extremely popular in the early days of smartphones, especially when BlackBerry dominated the market. According to Statista, BlackBerry hit its peak user base in the US in 2012, with over 41 million users. This coincided with the peak popularity of BBM, as the messaging app was bundled with BlackBerry devices.

However, as iOS and Android smartphones grew in popularity and became dominant by 2013-2014, BlackBerry steadily declined. As reported by TechCrunch in 2014, while BBM had about 85 million monthly active users at the time, it was a significant drop from previous years as consumers migrated to iPhones and Android phones. BBM and BlackBerry devices saw a steady downward trend in usage and popularity since their peak around 2012.

Shutdown of BBM Consumer Services

On April 18, 2019, Emtek, the company that had acquired the consumer version of BlackBerry Messenger in 2016, announced that they would be shutting down BBM for consumers on May 31, 2019 (TechCrunch). The primary reason given for the shutdown was that consumers had moved to other messaging platforms like WhatsApp, leaving BBM with a dwindling userbase. Despite efforts to improve features and capabilities, Emtek cited the competitive messaging app landscape and the inability to invest further resources into growing BBM as reasons why they had to discontinue the service.

The planned shutdown date of May 31, 2019 marked the official end of the consumer version of BlackBerry Messenger after 14 years. While once dominant with over 60 million active users, BBM had declined in popularity with under 1 million monthly active users reported in early 2019 according to Emtek. The discontinuation signified the end of an era for BlackBerry’s original instant messaging app and innovative features like BBM PINs and group chats that had defined early mobile messaging.

BBM Enterprise

In May 2019, BlackBerry announced that it would be shutting down BBM consumer services on May 31, 2019 (1). This meant that the popular BBM messaging app would no longer be available for consumers to download and use. However, BlackBerry pivoted BBM to focus on enterprise services.

BBM Enterprise (2) is a secure messaging and conferencing app aimed at businesses and organizations. It offers encrypted messaging, voice and video calling, and conferencing features for up to 15 people. BBM Enterprise requires a paid subscription and is designed to integrate with corporate management and security.

While the original BBM is no longer around for general consumers, BlackBerry repurposed the technology to create a business-focused communication tool. BBM Enterprise allows organizations to enable secure, regulated communication between employees and teams.



Countries Where BBM Still Works

While BlackBerry shut down BBM consumer services in most countries in 2019, the messaging app continued functioning in certain regions across the globe. According to the Wikipedia article BBM (software), BBM remained popular and widely used in Indonesia even after the shutdown. As of 2016, BBM was installed on 87.5% of Android devices in Indonesia, making it the most popular messaging app in the country at that time.

In addition to Indonesia, BBM consumer services continued operating after the global shutdown in markets like Nigeria, South Africa, and some Middle Eastern countries. The persistent popularity of BBM in these regions was likely due to BlackBerry phones remaining common there long after losing ground to iOS and Android in most other markets. While BlackBerry eventually discontinued BBM consumer services globally, the messaging app continued functioning for years post-shutdown in pockets of emerging markets.

Alternative Messaging Apps

After BBM’s popularity declined, other messaging apps emerged to take its place. According to G2, some of the top alternatives for consumers include Signal, WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and Line. Each app has its own features, benefits, and audience. For example, Signal focuses on privacy and encryption, WhatsApp offers simple messaging across platforms, and Telegram has robust bot capabilities. Some key factors when comparing chat apps are reliability, security, ease of use, features, audience reach, and cost. While no single app has definitively replaced BBM in all its capabilities, the range of options allows consumers to choose the messaging solution that best fits their needs.

Can Old BBM Contacts Still Message?

BBM, which stands for BlackBerry Messenger, was once one of the most popular messaging apps in the world. At its peak, BBM had over 200 million active users. However, as smartphone preferences shifted in the late 2000s from BlackBerry devices to iPhones and Androids, BBM usage declined significantly.

In 2019, BlackBerry announced it was shutting down the legacy BBM consumer service to focus on its enterprise-level BBM platform. This meant that the original peer-to-peer messaging service that operated between BlackBerry devices was discontinued.

So can old BBM contacts still message each other? Unfortunately, no. With the consumer version of BBM shut down, users can no longer send or receive messages using the legacy BlackBerry IDs. The peer-to-peer infrastructure that powered messaging between BlackBerry handsets no longer exists.

The only way old BBM contacts can still message each other is if they have each other’s phone numbers or email addresses and use a separate modern messaging platform like WhatsApp, Signal, iMessage, etc. But the original encrypted BBM system is defunct.

In summary, messaging between legacy BBM users is no longer possible after the 2019 shutdown of the consumer service. BlackBerry handsets can no longer facilitate peer-to-peer messages through BBM as the underlying messaging infrastructure has been retired by BlackBerry.

Getting BBM Working Again

If you are having trouble getting BBM to work after an operating system update or switching devices, there are a few things you can try:

Make sure BBM is updated to the latest version. Open the App Store or Google Play Store and check for any available updates.

Restart your device. This will clear any temporary bugs or glitches that may be preventing BBM from connecting properly.

Check your data connectivity. Make sure you have a strong WiFi or cellular data connection, as BBM requires an internet connection.

Unlink your Blackberry ID from BBM and relink it. Open BBM > Options > Blackberry ID > Unlink. Then go back and re-link your Blackberry ID.

If your contacts are having trouble finding you on BBM, update your Blackberry ID profile picture. This will refresh your identity in the BBM network.

As a last resort, uninstall and reinstall BBM. This will completely reset the app and usually resolves any deep issues.

If BBM continues to malfunction even after trying these troubleshooting tips, you may need to consult with your mobile carrier or device manufacturer, as there may be an underlying issue.

The Legacy of BBM

BBM had a significant cultural impact during its peak popularity, especially among younger users. According to Tiktokpolitik: Marcos Jr.’s nostalgic populism | Inquirer Opinion, BBM became a “cultural phenomenon” and a marker of youth identity. Features like chatting, group chats, sharing photos and voice notes made BBM an early form of social media.

Many former BBM users feel a sense of nostalgia for the service. As discussed in ‘Authoritarian nostalgia’: Philippines seems set to return …, this nostalgia is tied to fond memories of youth culture and shared experiences on the platform. Though BBM had limitations, it represented freedom and modern connectivity for many first-time smartphone users.

This nostalgia persists today, even as BBM has lost relevance. People retain sentimental attachment to their BBM IDs, groups, and memories. However, nostalgia should not overshadow BBM’s operational issues and BlackBerry’s business failures. At its peak, BBM demonstrated the cultural power of messaging and social media. Its legacy lives on through subsequent platforms that learned from and improved upon the BBM model.


In summary, BBM was once the most popular messaging app in the world, especially among BlackBerry users. However, with the decline of BlackBerry phones and the rise of alternative messaging platforms like WhatsApp, the consumer version of BBM was discontinued in 2019.

While the original BBM consumer service is shut down, BBM Enterprise continues to be active and is still supported by BlackBerry for business users. For most average users, BBM is no longer a viable messaging option. However, for those in the business world relying on BBM Enterprise, the service remains active.

BBM left behind a legacy as one of the first widely used mobile messaging apps. It paved the way for future chat apps, showing the potential of real-time communication on phones. While the BBM era has passed, its legacy and impact on messaging history remains.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *