So you just got a Blackberry Pearl and you have a mac…

I unpacked my new Blackberry Pearl a few hours ago and after running all over the web trying to solve basic problems, I figured I should do a roundup of the basics here for other mac users, since I couldn’t find all this info in one place.

  • Charge it up the first time by plugging it into a wall. It seems buggy at first with USB charging, giving errors that you are not using a powered USB port and you are missing drivers, both which are untrue. My iMac worked fine after the first charge.
  • You can’t pair the device to your mac via OS X’s bluetooth utilities just yet. That means no iSync over bluetooth right now either. I suspect this is coming someday soon and someone can correct me on all the backstory (leave a comment).
  • update: at this point I would suggest using Missing Sync for the Blackberry Pearl. It’s much more stable and reliable than PocketMac.
  • You can use PocketMac along with the included USB cable for syncing, but don’t look for it on PocketMac’s product page, you can only get it from Blackberry directly following a link halfway down this page.
  • PocketMac 4.0 will resemble iSync and let you sync your address book, calendar, etc. Be sure to launch the app, then connect via USB, then sync everything. PocketMac refused to launch until I did it in this exact order.
  • Even though you can’t do much via bluetooth, apparently using the blackberry as a modem with bluetooth is possible and works using this modem script and set of instructions. I also hear it is free under T Mobile’s regular blackberry plans (I used to pay $20/month for the luxury on my old phone).
  • You can apparently transfer files over bluetooth but it sounds buggy.

Hopefully iSync/OSX starts fully supporting the device soon, but until then, this was all the info I needed to get started. Gmail works great on the device as does MetaFilter, so I’ll be set whenever I’m on the road and away from the keyboard.

244 thoughts on “So you just got a Blackberry Pearl and you have a mac…

  1. Thanks to everyone who has shared their experiences–I am a PDA newbie and had it narrowed down to the Pearl or the Treo 680, or maybe the Blackjack. Based on what I’ve read here, I think I’m taking Pearl out of the running. Anybody have experience with the other 2? FWIW, I have a Powerbook 4.
    And in case someone is about to recommend the Treo 700, I am a Cingular customer and they don’t seem to offer it, and the unlocked ones are too expensive.
    Thanks!
    Norra

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  2. Norra —
    As much as I hate to say it, I would recommend the Treo at this point to any Mac user. If PocketMac were working, I would be loving the Pearl. Since it isn’t, I was driven back to Treo (a 700 in my case, but the 680 should work pretty much the same). It is larger, clunkier, less elegant and still a little buggy. But using Missing Sync (a program I recommend over the Hot Sync software that comes with a new Palm), it syncs to a Mac better than Pocket Mac ever did when it was working, and the data services on the Treo are pretty impressive. I also recommend Chatter Email over the email that comes standard with the Treo. It will work as well as any pull service on the blackberry, and allows you to choose whether you want to view all mailboxes together or one at a time. If you want push email, that is also available through Chatter Email.
    Ed

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  3. Thanks for all of the great info. I received a Pearl for Christmas and have been able to sync with my MacBook Pro (Entourage and itunes)…thanks to all of you! My only question…probably dumb….if most of my songs are downloaded from itunes, they are protected files and won’t play on my phone…they show up but won’t play. How do I transfer protected files?

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  4. Has anyone else found that when it syncs the Mac Address Book to the Pearl (yeah, I *finally* got it to work after trying everything above) it doesn’t seem to sync phone numbers? I have lots of contacts in the MAB with several phone numbers, and either none get through, or only one out of 3 or 4. I can’t find any preference settings anywhere on either the Mac or the Pearl that would let me map fields or anything like that.
    I’d be hugely grateful for any clues….

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  5. BIG thanks! syncing now works after i followed the tipps above. close all applications – open pocketmac – plug usb to mac – most important: uncheck all sync options – plug usb to pearl – sync – bingo!
    but i have a new problem: i cant mute the ringer when a call comes in. i can answer or ignore (send to voicemail), i can also mute ONE ringtone by moving the cursor or pushing any other button – but i cannot turn of the ringer.
    any hints?

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  6. This site was great for helping me, and with some trial and error I think I got it – to at least OVERWRITE contacts. I am not new to syncing as I have been a Treo user for many years, and have sync’d other handhelds for even more.
    Please read blog posting on this, including a call for a better software to be built by Mark/Space (Missing Sync) and a link to their request form. I have sent this to both BlackBerry and Mark/Space.
    http://bluntperspectives.com/?p=18
    I also posted my DETAILED instructions for using PocketMac with my BlackBerry Pearl.
    Enjoy!

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  7. Scott —
    I read your post and your blog with interest. Thanks for the time and the spirit. But can you clarify something for me? What you described in your blog is not a sync but a one-way overwrite (which is necessary on first install). I got that far once upon a time, but got constant failure with a true sync — copying new data from the Pearl to my iCal or Addresses as well as new iCal events to the Pearl. Have you had any luck with a true sync? Without that, I don’t understand how the Pearl is of much use to the traveling world.

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  8. Stephanie:
    You should have no problem whatsoever with “protected” files. (They aren’t really protected.)
    You say that they ‘show up’ but what I think you are looking at is the resource files, not the actual mp3 files. If you click on a resource file, you are absolutely right – nothing happens. This is kind of an annoying little bug because if you have 250 songs on a chip as I do, you have to scroll through 250 resource files to get to the actual mp3 files.
    There is a VERY easy way to work around this.
    When you go to the media card folder (under Music), push the pearl. You should now be looking at the resource files. Click the left button and then scroll down to Options and select it. The second option that you’ll see is “Sort Direction” – change it from Ascending to Descending.
    When you return to the list, the last song (an actual mp3 file) will appear first. At this stage, I usually hit the left button and hit “play all”. When the screen pops up with the last song, I hit the left button again and then select “shuffle”. You can also select “show playlist” if you want and this will allow you to scroll through the songs as you wish.
    Hope this helps!

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  9. RossVegas…thanks so much for the help but it didn’t work. If I put music from my itunes on my phone, that I purchased from itunes (m4p files), they won’t play. If I put songs (m4a files) from a CD that I downloaded into itunes, they play. I am not having the problem of the resource files? Everything is just there once.Any other thoughts?

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  10. I received a Pearl for X-mas..my first hand held device…and followed this sites instructions for syncing with my mac-book..after googling “How to” ……gave me this site.. Anyway..it synced..no problem..after doing it by the steps.
    How to you put music on the thing?
    Thanks for the help.

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  11. does anyone know if the blackberry sync’s up with Skype Mobile. It runs on a windows type program, but wasn’t certain if Blackberry would work like a windows program

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  12. I wouldn’t touch PocketMac with a bargepole – rubbish customer service, difficult to use, buggy software. I’m looking for another solution…

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  13. All,
    Mark/Space has now updated their website with a “Coming Soon” for BlackBerry! Please see my post at:
    http://bluntperspectives.com/?p=19
    And thank you to all of you who filled out the Mark/Space survey for BlackBerry support!!!
    ***
    Ed,
    I have been out of town and not able to play with a full Sync via PocketMac.
    I will be doing more research and will post asap when I have found the answer. For now, I am just overwriting the Pearl’s contacts/calendar on each sync (annoying).
    I might just wait for Missing Sync to come out – worth every penny.
    And after that, I’m waiting for my Apple iPhone for me and my wife! 😀

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  14. ROSSVEGAS,
    Help! What exactly do you have your “left button” set to. My default is Cingular’s Push to Talk Function. What should I have it set to. Specifically, I was trying to follow your instructions for setting a music file as a ringtone for ALL calls, but my left button doesn’t pull the same menus with the same options as you indicated. I don’t get the “show tunes” option or the “explore” option, etc. Please help!

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  15. Hey Eric, sorry for the confusion! By the “left button”, I was referring to the button to the immediate left of the pearl in the centre of the phone. (I’m sure it has a name, but I’m too lazy to look it up!)

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  16. Stephanie: Man, I wish I knew what you did to get rid of those resource files! I just dragged the songs from the list in itunes…maybe that’s why?
    Anyway, I’m not sure what to do with the songs you’ve purchased from the Itunes store, but have you tried converting them in itunes and then copying them? Just click on the song, go to “Advanced” in the top menu and select “convert to AAC”. That might do the trick…

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  17. Still can’t sync my BB Pearl with OSX via USB! Trying to do Entourage Calendar, Contacts and Tasks. The blur progress bar just hangs forever then times out. Any ideas?

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  18. Thanks for the help. They Sync worked and so did the music and pics on the media card.
    Has anyone had problems with their phone I can only hear callers if its on speaker or with the ear piece on. I can’t hear from the phone itself. The caller can hear me but I can’t hear anything.
    Please advise….Thanks again.

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  19. Hey Ross & Stephanie, the reason the songs you purchased on itunes won’t play, is because those are protected AAC files, and the phone doesnt recognize them as playable. You can only play unprotected files, i.e. files that you burned yourself for which you own the cd, or downloaded as MP3’s off the net.

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  20. Thanks everyone!!!! I really appreciate all of your help!!! RossVegas…I don’t know about those resource files…I just took songs directly from my library too…drag and drop…

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  21. I’m having a similar issue with my m4a files from itunes as well, however I can play them with no problem, but when I set them up as a custom ringtone I still get those cheezy cingular ringtones when someone calls. Does anyone know why they are not working as a ringtone? Please, this is driving me nutz!

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  22. I am going crazy, I am trying to figure out how to make my music on my BB into a ringtone. I have done evrything everyone has suggested but I am getting nowhere! I have no problem playing my music, but when I go to change them into a ringtone I get nothing but the same stupid jingle everytime. I cannot even change it to another provided ringtone, no matter what I do I keep getting the same tone over and over again. I don’t know what to do and it is driving me crazy! Please help me!

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  23. Brian / B.S., I don’t know if this will help, but…
    Click on your media icon, then click music, then media card. The list of your tunes should appear. Scroll down to the tune you want, and then hit the button to the left of the pearl (the Blackberry button). Underneath the “play” and “play all” menu items, you should see “set as phone tune”. It works when I do it…

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  24. Have a Powerbook G4 17″. Just got a Blackberry Pearl (India). Anyone tried getting music/photos from MAC to the phone, and vice versa using blue tooth? I earlier had a Motorola V551 and it was easy. Any help would be much appreciated.
    Thanks

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  25. So I figured out how to set your music to ringtones. First, check out what the good man Rossvegas has to say. If that isn’t working (I had the same problem) make sure your music does not have an itunes lock on it. Then go to your profiles, go to advanced, and choose a profile, then go down to phone and adjust your ringtone to music (follow previous Rossvegas instructions if you are unclear on how to do this). If you are still having problems (I was) you have to take the battery out and put it back in. After that things started working just fine. I have had to take it out a few more times to fix a ringtone, but for the most part it is letting me change tones witout removing the battery. So far I have not been able to do anything with bluetooth, I don’t care what anybody says it just wont work. Just spend the money on a memory card.

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  26. I can’t sync my BB Pearl with OSX via USB! Trying to do regular apple iCal, address book and iCal Tasks. The blur progress bar just hangs forever then times out. Any ideas?
    PLEASE, I’M DESPERATE!!!

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  27. GABY: I’m having the same problem, after various attempts i can finally sync my Mac Address Book to the Pearl, but it doesnt sync phone numbers onto the device! Either none get through, or only one out of the total. I’ve tried DataPurge and then SyncClean and again having the same problems.
    Any advice on how to make a true two-way sync?

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  28. concerning ringtones, no problems personalizing them with contacts for the caller ringtone, however i can’t figure out how to set a song as an email tone or a text tone…any advice?

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  29. Hi All, fantastic site!
    A quick question I’ve not seen posted before.
    I have a pearl on t-mobile uk.
    When I use the browser, I am missing the “goto” function, the manuar refers to it, all my old blackberry’s had it, but not my pearl?
    Any ideas how to get this on?!
    Thanks in advance for any help.

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  30. Thanks for info – it was very helpful.
    Still haven’t been able to find the software they want you to download to push bookmarks from Safari to the Pearl.

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  31. Thank you SO much for posting this info. I spent 2 HOURS with a BB tech today because the phone refused to Sync at all. She insisted that I plug in the phone, then launch the software….then took me on a merry-go-round of other troubleshooting dead ends….ugh. I then saw your post, launched the app, then plugged in the phone. Even though it didn’t show up in the status menu, it synced on the first attempt! Simple solution. Thanks for the insight!

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  32. My blackberry Pearl will not sync email addresses along with the contact info from my Mac Address Book. I have reinstalled PocketMac 4 twice, tried syncing to separate computer, nothing seems to fix this “mapping” problem. Please send ideas!

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  33. i have not been able to read thru this whole forum but i just bought a Pearl and want to download appropriate software. i have MAC powerbook G4. so i should look for pocketmac 4? do i even bother with software CD that came with the phone?

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  34. Thanks for these helpful posts. I’ve synced, updated info on iCal, Address Book and synced everything to the Pearl without too many troubles. I’ved had the Pearl for a couple of months, just bought a 1gb micro sd card. I installed it – I think. The ultra tiny slide lock doesn’t slide closed completely. Anyway, I reinstalled the battery, cover, etc. Synced to my mac but I’ve yet to see the message on the Pearl asking if you want to turn on “Mass Storage.” And I don’t see the Pearl mount on the desktop, if that’s what’s supposed to happen.
    Any suggestions?

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  35. First I did what the original posting said to do. (Get the software, install, etc.) For some reason the sync app was not finding the phone. Then I did exactly what SoHail says to do – and made sure that I followed James Heaton’s advice – and said “NO” to the Mass Storage message – and finally got it all to sync. Thank you!!!

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  36. hey, i just a pearl and i love it so far. But, i used to have a Treo 650 before the pearl and i cant seem to sync all my contacts and calender info from my hotsync to the PocketMac. Does anyone know what i need to do to get all that info synced into my pearl? Please help me!!
    Thanks

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  37. Has anyone had problems with their phone I can only hear callers if its on speaker or with the ear piece on. I can’t hear from the phone itself. The caller can hear me but I can’t hear anything!!! Please help!!!

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  38. AMazze – thanks for the help with the microsd card. Playing mp3’s was the only thing not working – AND I accomplished it on my birthday! Thanks again!

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  39. I have followed all of the steps on this post and still having problems syncing my EntourageX address book with my Blackberry Pearl. I keep getting this error message: “[07:19:31.829] Could not lcoate the Microsoft Entourage Office Synchronization Tool.”
    Has anyone found a way around this?
    Thanks

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  40. I was not able to get my BB Pearl to sync to my Entourage calendar using PocketMac, but COULD sync to iCal. The following workaround worked for me, so if you’re desparate or frustrated it’s worth a try:
    1. Open iCal
    2. Select File/Import/Import Entourage Data
    3. Launch PocketMac
    4. Plug in your BB to the USB cord
    5. Click the Sync button on PocketMac
    Good Luck.

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  41. anybody know how to load videos into the pearl? also, anybody know how to watch youtube videos on the pearl from the browser? or if there’s a better browser to get?

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  42. I’m sorry but I have to say that the programmers for the pocketmac software must be a bunch of monkeys who have never even tried using it. Come on, they’re on version 4 and there are actually more problems than the previous version. I have never had so many issues with software. Who would let a release like this out into the world? If any of you code writers are actually reading this to improve your product, please take your heads out of your asses (d0n’t let the pop scare you) and do your job right. Is that so hard? I have spent hours upon hours trying to get pocketmac to work correctly. With no successs. Thanks for wasting my time slackers!

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  43. Give up on pocketmac 4.xxx, it doesn’t work out of the box at all, go to Missing Sync, and get there new beta, more functionality, cleaner program, and it works, 5 minutes after install all synced, and backed up, I’ve trying pocetmac since october with no help from them, RIM, or T-Mobile!

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  44. Does anyone know how to upgrade/install updated blackberry operating system via a mac? the RIM site will only let me download as an .exe file!

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  45. Thanks to this post I have managed to get my new Pearl working nicely with Address Book.
    I came across a number of other issues to do with field mapping between the Mac and the Blackberry Address Books and you have to prepare quite carefully before syncing, otherwise you can lose data in the process.
    I’ve posted my findings along with a field mapping table at…
    http://www.worldtv.com/blog/guides_tutorials/syncing_the_blackberry_pearl_with_the_mac_address_book.php
    Cheers.

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  46. if you want to put mp3’s on you pearl, all you have to do is turn your bluetooth on, obviously set it up to work with your computer, and then go into your media folder, then to your music folder, press the menu button and if you scroll down you will see “receive using bluetooth.” click that and then send the file via bluetooth from your mac. your mac will always give you an error message after the file transfer is complete, but just ignore it. it’s just some weird bug. the file will me in your music folder and if you don’t see it, try leaving the folder by hitting the back button and then open the folder again. same thing works for any kind of file you could possibly want to send to device. if it’s not a song or a picture, then you have to open up the media folder and do the same steps as before. you won’t be able to see the file, but if you open the media folder and hit the menu button and click on “explore”, anything that you save to the folder will show up. now you can email anything you could possibly need to from your phone… you will never be able to watch youtube videos on the pearl because they are flash based and the phone does not support that kind of file. the new iphone will though. such a shame cingular sucks so bad…

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