BBM for iOS: Hands on and first impressions!

Update: BlackBerry has pulled BBM for iOS from the App Store and halted the roll-out

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for iOS has begun rolling out across the globe, and while it will only hit the U.S. at midnight, as usual New Zealand got it first. Our own Richard Devine, whose had more than his fair share of BlackBerry devices, switched stores, loaded it up, and went hands on, and he's got his first impressions in the video above.

On the plus side, BBM literally wrote the book on mobile communications and they still do it better than anyone.

On the maybe pro/maybe con side, they've stuck with a very BlackBerry look and feel, which should make it immediately familiar to anyone who's known and loved in the past, but could be a bit of a barrier to people more familiar with iOS interface paradigms. Granted most mobile chat interfaces still suck, and iOS 7 has re-written a lot of Apple's own guidelines, so it's not as big an issue as it might otherwise be.

On the negative side, it looks like BBM for iOS didn't get setup to support iOS 7 interface elements, so you're getting things like the old, iOS 6 style keyboard. That should be easily fixed in an update. Expedited, hopefully.

It's also iPhone interface only right now, which means it'll only run letterboxed on iPad, but that's not a huge problem because it seems like BlackBerry ID is still limited to only one device. That probably won't affect most people, but will remain a pain point for geeks who want to switch devices and just have their stuff everywhere.

We'll be back with more coverage later, but for now, if BBM for iOS has already hit your local App Store, here's where to get it, and some helpful links to get you started:

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

iPhone 5s photo comparison: Gold, Silver, and Space Gray!

Next up →

BlackBerry halts BBM rollout, pulls app, blames Android leak

There are 36 comments. Add yours.

sleblanc1976 says:

Wow, really? BlackBerry still doesn't get it. I want access to my conversations no matter what screen I am looking at at any given moment. I was going to give this a shot, but I guess I will just stick to iMessage

metllicamilitia says:

Can't wait for it to get to me so I can try it out.

Sent from the iMore App

cardfan says:

That looks pretty sad to be honest.

tommyreyes says:

If this was 2008, I'd be pretty amped up about this. Now I guess, I'll download the app just to play around with it for a bit then delete it right after.

Sent from the iMore App

ktaifan says:

Applied the same method Richard Devine employed, and upon opening the app it redirects to the website stating they are undergoing scheduled maintenance. Bad first impression!

mrjlwilliamsZ10 says:

I will check it out later today.

Stevenojobs says:

Pathetic ! Poor blackberry they never learn anything. Thorn must be too busy to sell the company and grab the more money he can than managing his team to deliver proper product

kanisian says:

Pretty sure it has been pulled out of the app store in Australia. Kept getting the message "the item you tried to buy is no longer available" and a few minutes later I couldn't even find it anymore. Good job blackberry!

Sent from the iMore App

MegaSuperCoolCoolGuy says:

Looks like the same has happened in New Zealand

onvisa says:

First of all its FREE, so your NOT paying for it.

ELavar says:

I think we're being a little too critical at this point. I'm actually a little excited to try it out. BBM was much better than WhatsApp, in my experience. If this is still the case and it is as secure as it is on BB, this is exactly what I've been waiting for.

Sent from the iMore App

acwyau says:

I got it loaded and it does look a little dated. Hopefully an update for iOS 7 will improve it. The big fail has been the inability for iOS users to message with BB10 users. I have been able to BBM other iOS users and users of older BB software versions. Trying to message with my brothers on Z10's has been a no go. I can send them messages, but they can't return them at this point. They better fix this fast, or all the hype will have been for nothing and just be another nail in their coffin.

ritesh says:

Thanks for this bit of info. I have tearing my hair apart since Sunday. I could add 2 iOs users on BBM and 1 colleague on 9320. However my invitations to an OS10 user and an Android user , still show pending. My BBM badge on Iphone shows around 16 msgs, but when I open the app. there is nothing inside. Felt like doing a battery pull :-) .Seems like a lot of my messages are stuck/lost in cyberspace.

Cameron man says:

Quite Arkward when my App Store can't find it I live in the UK and it's 00;25 now :/

Sent from the iMore App

sammyh85 says:

Might give it a go. Seems pretty average and inferior to iMessage what's app but I'll still give it a try. Not showing up in my App Store in UK yet. When's the imore app getting the iOS 7 treatment?

Sent from the iMore App

Nikedas says:

Seems pretty amazing and superior to iMessage what's app ***.

No messaging app compares to BBM, by the company who literally wrote the book on mobile instant messaging.

YohanesPatrick says:

gone mad for that, i still think bbm is the best messaging app out there. love it so much, love it more because its in my iphone!!!!

MegaSuperCoolCoolGuy says:

It's true that we get the apps first in New Zealand, but I wish we also got the hardware first :( no date for 5S and 5C release here yet.

airjordanxx2 says:

That link still not working for USA. So we have to wait until tomorrow or after midnight to get it

Sent from the iMore App

kch50428 says:

You won't see it... seeing tweets from usually reliable sources that the app has been removed from stores in countries where it was available.

Derrick4Real says:

I don't have a need for this since id don't really know of anyone using bbm but just from the video my thoughts are, first, great if it's useful and someone wants it. That being said, the interface strikes me as a bit, i don't know, scattershot. As you said in the vid its not a "traditional iphone app." But hey if someone uses it good for them. Me i'll likely never use it as i just have no need for it. I'm fine with a text.

agarwal.apar says:

FolKs, seems I was luck on this who downloaded BBM and started working! :) i am loving it except the old school keyboard on my sexy iOS 7 enabled iPhone 5(black and slate) :D

PeenYaNPATR0N says:

I can't find my PIN anywhere in the App can someone please help?

Sent from the iMore App

BlackReggae says:

One of the easy ways is write in a Bbm chat window "mypin" and once you press spaca bar it will appear the pin. Other way is press your photo and enter to your profile. At the bottom it will appear a qr code that said show bar code. Press it and a qr code will appear and your PIN number too

Sent from the iMore App

vietalogy says:

Go to profile and then at the bottom click on show barcode then you can see your pin.

BlackReggae says:

I live in Puerto Rico and I use the tric of New Zealand and work so so. The problem was that once I installed the Bbm it's says the system is down. I tries and change the time zone of my phone and once I did this, I restarted the app and it lets me sing up. So now I'm using Bbm

Sent from the iMore App


Skating to where the puck has been.

unwrangle says:

1. Convoluted UI by any standards...
2. You can only connect to BB devices with BBM 7.

I guess there's always WhatsApp...

Jerky223 says:

If you watch the video, the BBM contacts that are on BBs are on BB10.

unwrangle says:

I'm not sure what BBM version are on BB10... but I can't invite ppl with BBM v7 (older bold model). Belagio with BBM v7, connects fine.

To be accurate, if I sent them invites, they got it... accepts it,.. it said the invitation is pending... and I don't get any other notification. It just stays there. If they sent me invites, I see nothing... as if nothing has happened. Technically they can update, but apparently it has issues with devices with small RAM.

theKHMERboy says:

Bbm needs to rollout in Canada so that I can download and start using it now

Megsy1998 says:

Not trying to burst anyones bubbles or anything but 'bbm' stands for BLACKBERRY messenger for people with blackberrys...

ritesh says:

No file sending in BBM. Just wanted to point this out. Images, Videos and Voice Notes only.

Caz Evans says:

Hello how do you get bbm on a iPhone 4S ??

Sent from the iMore App

soundofmusicmobiledisco says:

Great app but why did they pull it back so quickly i was looking forward to downloading the BBM iPhone app hope they will fix it soon as your video preview looks great