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How to Fix BlackBerry Caller ID When It Only Displays a Number

written by: shopperholic2•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 7/5/2011

A common problem for people when they go overboard with enabling security on their smartphone is losing the ability to have their address book sync with the caller ID for incoming calls. This guide will help you to quickly resolve that.

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    Does Caller ID Only Display a Number?

    Are you experiencing issues whenever someone is trying to call you when they are in your address book, but the caller ID only displays the phone number and the name "unknown"? One benefit of the Blackberry is that it can display a multitude of information for a person that is calling you (granted that you filled out that information for that particular contact). For example, it can display a person's full name, the company they work for; the number they are calling from; and a picture of them or of their company logo. However, all of this wonderful information goes out the window when the wrong combinations of security options are selected on your phone. With some quick and relatively simple steps, I can help you remedy that problem.

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    Step 1: How to Disable Content Protection

    Many people have their phones set up to automatically lock after a period of time or when they holster the phone to avoid having the buttons pressed on the keyboard. When the phone goes into lock mode, the caller ID will stop functioning correctly whenever you receive incoming calls. However, it will miraculously start working again when the phone is unlocked. If you are nodding your head and saying "yes" to yourself, then mostly likely you enabled a feature called "Content Protection".

    To regain use of your caller ID when locked, follow these steps (this guide is references options that applies to newer Blackberries, but can easily be adapted to older phones if you are already familiar with the options menus):

    • Go to the Home screen (the area with all of your icons for your programs)
    • Next go to Options (normally looks like a wrench depending on your theme)
    • Go to Security (a.k.a Security Options)
    • Next go to General Settings
    • About half-way down on the screen, you should see the option entitled, "Content Protection", set it to Disabled (you can quickly change by pressing the letter "D" on your keyboard when Content Protection is highlighted).
    • Press the Back Button on the phone and select Save.
    • You can now press the End Button to quickly return to the Home screen (shortcut)
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      Testing the Fix

      Obviously, we want to test that this works before we deem this fixed. One of the easiest ways to test this is to (you will need a second cell phone or a landline in order to continue):

      • First, press ALT and Enter/Return at the same time on your keyboard, or select the Lock icon (usually looks like a padlock) on your Home screen.
        • Your phone should now be locked.
      • Next, with the use of another phone (that is already listed in your address book) call your Blackberry's wireless phone number.
      • Finally, if you followed the previous steps correctly, you should now see the details of the caller, along with their phone number, appear on your screen (with the typical options to pick up or ignore the phone call).
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      Other Thoughts that Might Help

      If you are still in the habit of locking your phone and are now worried that your data can now be comprised (because Content Protection is now disabled), I would highly recommend setting a password on your phone. By creating a password, you are forced to type in your password whenever the phone is locked (instead of a combination of two keys, like most phones). By default, your phone is locked whenever you power on your phone. The Blackberry has a threshold of 10 tries before it will permanently erase your data on your phone, which is good if someone tries to steal it. If you are afraid that you will reach 10 tries quickly by simply accidentally pressing the keys while it’s in your pocket, you won't. At some point, it will start displaying your password as you type instead of hiding the characters (in the event that you are incorrectly typing it for one reason or another). If the password being entered is still not correct, there is even a built-in failsafe on the phone that will make you type in "blackberry" every couple of failed attempts, or it won't continue.

      However, keep in mind that your failed attempt counter will not reset until you have correctly typed in your password. In fact, it won't even reset the counter if you power off your phone and back on again.