This is a consolidated setup guide for the BlackBerry Bold 9900. It was last (partially) updated in January 2022.
The Bold 9900 can be configured to use over wifi and with a regular data plan (i.e., without BIS). You should be aware that fewer and fewer websites and connected apps work on the device due to its outdated security protocols. Most users won't be happy with the limitations.
The Bold works with 2G and 3G networks. In the U.S., your carrier will be shutting down 3G in 2022, but you may be able to keep using the Bold over 2G with US Mobile. See this link for further information. I'm Canadian, so I have no way of confirming this in practice.
I try to keep the guide up to date, but I don't use all of the apps listed, so it relies on reports from other users. Please leave any feedback in this thread at CrackBerry. See also the Bold 99xx Working and Dead Apps List.
More information on the apps discussed below can be found on the app information page.
Before you begin, you should consider installing the latest version of OS 7.1. After I installed the O2 UK version of OS 7.1 my Bold ran cooler, the battery life improved, and the experience was very stable. You can download it by following the link here: O2 UK version. For installation instructions, read post #47 of that thread. Do not attempt to reinstall the OS if you have BlackBerry Protect enabled. You won't be able to complete the reinstallation.
Alternative links to installation procedures can be found here, here, here, and in post #3 of this thread at CrackBerry.
If you want to use a regular data plan on your carrier’s network, you will need to enter the APN settings. Here are the instructions. A visual tutorial is here, but you must enter your carrier’s specific settings, rather than those in the tutorial. You can probably find the settings here: World Wide Mobile Phone Settings
Many BlackBerry OS apps were designed to work only with a connection to BlackBerry’s servers.
Now that those servers have been shut down, you won't be able to use many of BlackBerry’s built-in applications, including:
The BlackBerry web browser works over wifi, but it may not work over the cellular network. You will be able to make phone calls and send SMS (text-only) messages.
Fortunately, you can install many apps that work well using wifi or a regular data plan, without BIS, and which serve the same or similar functions as the BlackBerry apps. You can also create your own service books to restore MMS messaging if you're technically inclined.
Here are the essentials:
For OTA apps, use your device browser to navigate to the download links, and click on the link to install.
Some of the OTA software is no longer supported by or available from the creator, but all of the OTA apps listed above can be found online as of January 2022. The other apps used to be in BlackBerry World. Searching for the app name with the version number plus “BlackBerry OTA” or “.jad” will sometimes lead you to a download if you’re persistent. If a download does not install using the BlackBerry browser, you may need to use Opera Mini to download the app.
The usual warnings about downloading software from untrusted sources and compromising your device security apply. If you install apps from websites, you have to take responsibility for the potential results.
Over time, it will become more difficult to find many of these apps. I have had some success locating older software by searching through archived versions of old websites using the ‘Wayback Machine’ at archive.org. Unfortunately, the Wayback Machine frequently archives .jad files (the installers) but not .cod files (the apps). So if you find a .jad and it won't install the program, that's likely to be the problem.
You can back up your phone settings and some data using BlackBerry Desktop.
You can back up your third-party apps (including the OTA apps) using BlackBerry Swiss Army Knife.
Here are a few options for backing up and syncing your organizer data. If you know of others, please submit them to the original thread over at CrackBerry.
Use the BlackBerry Desktop software to synchronize your data with Microsoft Outlook. From Outlook, the data can be synced to online accounts. You can also create a local-only profile in Microsoft Outlook, which results in synchronization with your computer only, like the old Palm Desktop. It's hard to get more security and privacy than offline synchronization.
Syncing through BlackBerry Desktop requires you to connect your phone to your computer via USB cable or bluetooth, which means synchronization only occurs when you do it manually. The official BlackBerry Desktop User Guide can be downloaded in PDF format from the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive. After you've visited the link, look for the PDF in your download folder. The BlackBerry Desktop software can be downloaded here.
BlackBerry Desktop synchronization with Microsoft Outlook is still working in 2022 with Windows 10. Note that BlackBerry Desktop does not work with 64-bit versions from MS Outlook 2013 onward. You need a 32-bit version of Outlook 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2021 if you want to use BlackBerry Desktop to sync your Outlook data with your Bold 9900. BlackBerry Desktop does work with earlier 64-bit versions of Outlook.
BlackBerry OS 7.1 can make use of an old Personal Information Management (PIM) sync protocol, SyncML, to sync the calendar, contacts, tasks, and memos. You have two options to backup and sync your PIM data wirelessly using SyncML.
Memotoo offers the ability to sync your calendar, contacts, tasks, and memos to memotoo's cloud, as well as to the major webmail services, Evernote, and Simplenote, among others. The downside is that you'll be putting all of your data on someone else’s server. Of course, you might already being doing that (on Gmail, Outlook.com, etc.) and it might not matter to you. The upside is that you can sync from anywhere at any time, as long as you have a wifi or cellular connection. You can create an account and download the app at memotoo.com.
The information in the next paragraph should probably be archived, but I've left it here on the off-chance that someone wants to use it with a legacy operating system on a private network. Most (probably all) groupware projects have removed syncml support.
You can use the Memotoo (OTA) app, which is based on the open-source FUNAMBOL client, to sync with your own SyncML server. The Memotoo app has settings that allow you to connect with your own server instead of memotoo's service. The major problem is that the easy to work with open-source servers don't seem to work anymore (FUNAMBOL is impossible to install and eGroupWare dropped SyncML support). Horde groupware may still support SyncML, but there are no good guides for setting it up and I have failed repeatedly in my efforts. I've had the call out for a successful Horde setup guide since 2014 and no one has ever replied.