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How to Enable the “Picture Password” Lockscreen on BlackBerry 10.2.1

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One of the cool new security features BlackBerry added in the latest OS 10.2.1 builds is a new Picture Password option. This is sort of like Android’s pattern unlock but takes it way further. It allows you to secure your phone with a combination of numbers and a picture of your choosing instead of a traditional password. To unlock your phone you will see a picture and a grid of random numbers. To unlock you just tap and drag the numbers until your number is on the unlock spot you choose.

BlackBerry explains the brilliance of doing this instead of a regular pattern unlock on their blog. This unlock screen prevents attacks like:

  • Smudge Attack – Picture Password always shows a random number grid whenever you unlock your device, which means you never follow the same pattern. In other words, because you always move your number from a different location on the grid, an attacker cannot establish a smudge pattern.
  • Shoulder Surf Attack – When using a regular password, someone could look over your shoulder while you enter it. Picture Password prevents this situation from occurring by drawing a random number grid and varying the size of the grid. For example, in addition to a random number grid, the grid size also randomly changes increasing and decreasing the amount of rows and columns to reduce the shoulder attack vulnerability.
  • Brute Force Attack – Picture Password addresses brute force attacks by limiting the number of guesses, varying the size, location, and pattern of the grid numbers and requiring minimum movement of the number grid.

Here are the steps for enabling Picture Password on BlackBerry 10.2.1+:

Before we begin, for those using BlackBerry Balance technology, to use Picture Password you must turn off Use as my device password within the BlackBerry Balance settings screen.

Step 1 – Set a Device Password

Before you can set up Picture Password, you must first set a device password. You require this password in case you forget your Picture Password or if you need to access your device from a computer using BlackBerry Link. By design, after five failed attempts to unlock your device using Picture Password you’ll be prompted for your device password instead.

Note: If you already set a device password, proceed to step 2.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the home screen
  2. Tap Settings > Security and Privacy > Device Password
  3. Set the Device Password switch to On
  4. Optionally set Simple Password to On to use a numeric password
  5. Set a device password

After you turn on the device password option, your next step is to turn on Picture Password.

Step 2 – Turn on Picture Password

After you set a device password, complete the following steps to set up Picture Password. By default Picture Password includes several pictures you can use, but you are welcome to use any picture stored on your device, media card, or synced cloud storage.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the home screen
  2. Tap Settings > Security and Privacy > Device Password
  3. Set the Picture Password switch to On
  4. Enter your device password
  5. Complete the instructions on the screen

You have now enabled Picture Password, so let’s try it out! Press and hold the Power/Lock button on top of your device followed by tapping Lock. Wake your device by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, or by pressing Power/Lock again to see the random number grid and your picture at which point you can unlock your device.

Picture Password Tips

Detailed pictures

  • To increase security, avoid using a basic picture and use a detailed picture instead. The more detail, the more unique points you can use as your target!

Drag any from anywhere

  • After you unlock your device, you can drag your finger anywhere on the screen so that you have a clear view of where the number is moved. Tapping anywhere allows you to prevent someone from identifying what your number is, but also makes it easy for you to guide your number so it lands on the target.

Reset your password remotely

  • BlackBerry Protect provides the ability to reset your password remotely so if you can’t remember your Picture Password, or your device password, visit
4 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. One thing I didn’t know till I tried it myself, you don’t have to drag the unlocking number by pressing on it and moving it to the unlocking position, you only need to move the pattern so the unlocking number moves to the unlocking position.

  2. Thanks for passing this along Ronen! I’ve been wondering how to set this up.

  3. Well I decided to go for this when we at Sprint received the 10.2.1 update and this morning I went thru the 5 tries that I had set up and almost had a heart attack when after almost 2 hours of trying to find a solution to prevent my device from wiping that it was time click “OK” on the pop-up that had come up warning me about what was about to happen. I held my breath and “click” and to my relief another window popped up allowing me to input my password and everything was “OK”. I removed the Password Picture and don’t want to go thru that again.

    • Read my post above, and learn exactly where you placed that number so if you’re off by a tad, it will still work.
      On the other hand, I had my phone trying to unlock itself in my pocket one time and at attempt #3, it asked me to input the word BlackBerry so it won’t count up to 10 and wipe out…

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