How-To: Keeping Your BlackBerry Secured While Charging It With An Untrusted Source


Public Cellphone Charging
Charging your phone in public. Photo credit: Peter Griffin via

Last Friday, I headed out of the province to my brother’s place to house sit while he went away for business for a few days. About 15 minutes after crossing the border, I realized I forgot to bring the charger for my Passport. I figured “no problem”, I just need a standard microUSB cable and a USB port, which his PC has.

But then I realized that his computer could have a bunch of crap (e.g. malware) that might try to plunder the data on my Passport. And what if I need to charge my Passport when I’m away from the house ? I immediately thought of those public charging stations, and alarms went off in my head. For years, crooks have been posing as technicians and installing rogue card readers in retail stores, to steal the info from your debit and credit cards. Couldn’t they do the same thing with those public charging stations ? I needed a way to get my Passport to allow only charging when I connect it to an untrusted source for charging.

After poking around in the BB10 settings, I discovered the Charge Only Mode setting in Settings->Storage and Access->Access using USB.

Charge Only Mode
BB10 has a Charge Only Mode that prevents data access when connected via USB.

As the name says, it prevents all access to my BlackBerry’s data while still allowing it to charge. I let out a sigh of relief. Once again, BlackBerry got my back before I even realized there was a threat. It’s no wonder they’re the leader in mobile security. The best part is that when I’m done charging and I want to connect to a trusted source, I can turn off Charge Only Mode and use my Passport like a flash drive and access the Passport’s data as I normally do. I get to have my cake and eat it too.

So if you find yourself in a situation where you need to use an untrusted source to charge your BB10 device, make sure to put it in Charge Only Mode before you do.

For more BB10 tips and tricks designed for you to get the best from your BlackBerry visit our How To BB10 Tips and Tricks section in our forum.

Got a question? No problem, simply post us it in our BlackBerry Help section and we’ll get right back to you.


I'm programmer with 13 years experience, and a former electronics technician. My first BlackBerry was a Z10, and I'm now rocking a Passport.

  • Canuckvoip

    Yet another feature we take for granted.

  • jrohland

    I believe it prompts you when you connect a data capable USB to see how you want to use the connection.

    • bartron

      It does, but for me the prompt goes away after a couple of seconds.

  • E

    Thanks for the tip! It’s great to know BlackBerry cares about our safety and security in ways we don’t even realize we need!

  • Azensun

    Great information! If I’m traveling, I always make sure I pack an extra charger, but it’s good to know BlackBerry has my back in case I forget!

  • ray689

    Great info Bartron. Thanks for the tip. I actually didn’t even think of this but BlackBerry clearly did.

  • deltact

    Is this intended for those who don’t encrypt their phones and SD card?

    • bartron

      That’s what I figure, but I can’t say for sure.

  • veeru789

    Nice tip. Thank you. Knew this option was there but never really paid attention. Next time I use someone else’s PC for charging, I will make sure this is turned On.

  • Very cool. I was unaware of this feature, but not even remotely surprised.

    Sometimes I’ll be talking with someone about security and privacy and they’ll espouse that Apple and/or Android is just as secure as BB10. Not understanding all the technical aspects of the issue, I’ll mention the security certifications BBRY enjoys and the governments that use BBRY, but for me, there’s a basic, common sense consideration; BBRY’s pedigree is the enterprise, and corporations are concerned about security, and always have been.

    Apple and Android make consumer products. Apple’s particularly is very aptly described as an app launcher. To believe their OS is as secure as BBRY’s is to completely ignore common sense. Their culture and processes are not set up for security and their OS reflects this. They may be ramping up, but they are well behind BBRY in this regard.