Aidan Fitzpatrick
Posted by Aidan Fitzpatrick,

Ever find yourself needing to recover emails, contacts, texts, or other data stored in your BlackBerry's IPD backup file?

Here's a short guide on how to extract the information stored in IPD backup files by BlackBerry Desktop Manager, using the BlackBerry Backup Extractor in four simple steps.

  1. Download free BlackBerry Backup Extractor

    First, download the free version of Reincubate's BlackBerry Backup Extractor.

  2. Run BlackBerry Backup Extractor

    Next, open the zip file you downloaded, and run the "BlackBerryBackupExtractor.exe" file contained inside it.

  3. Open your IPD backup file

    Click the "Open backup..." button to load your IPD backup file into the software. You'll see that the BlackBerry Backup Extractor automatically knows where to look for your files, so you should see your IPD files presented straightaway.

    Your computer doesn't need to have a copy of BlackBerry Desktop Manager to use the BlackBerry Backup Extractor: it is possible to open an IPD file from a Flash drive, email download, or even another computer.

  4. Choose where to extract your data

    Once the backup has been opened, you'll see the extractor reports on how much of the backup it has read, and how many databases of information it has found.

Now, let's take a look at the data you've recovered. You will see something like this:

See how it managed to extract all of the data in less than a second? You should see the following types of extracted file available:

Sent and received emails, and saved email drafts

Your BlackBerry's emails will be extracted in .eml format, which can be easily read by Microsoft Outlook and a number of other email clients. Note that the BlackBerry Desktop Manager will rarely save email attachments in its IPD backups. This means the extractor will rarely recover them.

Contacts and address book

The contacts and address book in the BlackBerry IPD file are extracted in a variety of formats: simple CSV for easy use, and as a big VCF file for import into a variety of webmail platforms. In addition, each individual contact is exported to a VCF file for easy import into Microsoft Outlook or the Windows Address Book.

Phone call history

The backup's phone call history will be exported into an easy to read CSV file.

SMS and text messages

SMS and text messages from the BlackBerry backup file will be saved into a nice, simple CSV file.

Calendar appointments

All calendar appointments included in the IPD file will be exported into a simple CSV, and also into an ICS/ICal file for easy import into your email or calendar client.

Tasks and memos (notes)

The tasks and memos (notes) are extracted into CSV files, and tasks are also extracted into a handy ICS/ICal format for import into most email or calendar software.

Other data from the BlackBerry backup

All other parts of data stored in the BlackBerry backup will be extracted into a neat "other" folder.

In the example backup used here, this recovered the following data entries:

  1. Address Book - Last Used Hints
  2. AP Mobile News Settings
  3. Application Permissions
  4. Attachment Data
  5. Attachment Options
  6. AutoText
  7. BBGroups
  8. BlackBerry Messenger
  9. Bluetooth Options
  10. Browser Bookmarks
  11. Browser Data Cache
  12. Browser Folders
  13. Browser Options
  14. Browser Push Options
  15. Browser Urls
  16. Calendar Options
  17. Camera Options
  18. Categories
  19. Certificate Summary Data
  20. Clock Options
  21. Code Module Group Properties
  22. Configuration Channel
  23. CustomWordsCollection
  24. Default Service Selector
  25. DocsToGoCommonPrefs
  26. Email Filters - All
  27. Email Settings - All
  28. Firewall Options
  29. Folders
  30. Handheld Agent
  31. Handheld Key Store
  32. KeyStoreManager
  33. Mailbox Icon Management Options
  34. Map Locations
  35. Map Settings
  36. Message List Options
  37. Messenger Options (GoogleTalk)
  38. Messenger Options (WLM)
  39. Options
  40. Phone History
  41. Phone Options
  42. Policy
  43. Purged Messages
  44. Quick Contacts
  45. Random Pool
  46. Recipient Cache
  47. RMS Databases
  48. Searches
  49. Secure Email Decision Maker
  50. Service Book
  51. Sounds
  52. Theme Settings
  53. Time Zones
  54. Trusted Key Store
  55. Unknown
  56. VideoRecorder Options
  57. WLAN Profiles

Good luck recovering your data: please reach out to us if you need support.

Can BlackBerry Backup Extractor open Playbook IPD files?

Yes, it can. The PlayBook stores backups in standard IPD files using the same BlackBerry Desktop Software as with other BlackBerry devices. BlackBerry PlayBook support is included in BlackBerry Desktop Software 6.1 onwards, so make sure you download the latest version before you sync your PlayBook.

Once your BlackBerry PlayBook has been synced and an IPD has been created, BlackBerry Backup Extractor will work as it does for all BlackBerry devices and their backups.

BlackBerry Backup Extractor: preview your backups

How to preview and extract data with the BlackBerry Backup Extractor v 1.0.3

BlackBerry Backup Extractor has just been updated and includes some great new features. This includes the new preview function which allows you to see what is in your BlackBerry backup: check how many contacts, SMS messages, BBM messages, emails, photos, videos and much more! You can choose to extract individual content from the backup using the quick-links or extract all your backup data at once, it's your choice!

Extract contacts, SMS, BBM messages, emails, or all data at once!

The new BlackBerry Backup Extractor features have been added to help people see what is in their backup and access their data with greater speed and efficiency. Once opening the desired backup you are now presented with categories of the major data types, with an inventory of each. You can use the quick links to extract a specific set of data, like your contacts or memos or simply decide to extract everything.

The main data categories shown in the Blackberry backup preview are:

  • contacts
  • calls
  • SMS messages
  • MMS
  • BBM messages
  • emails
  • calendar
  • tasks
  • memos
  • bookmarks
  • photos
  • videos
  • ringtones
  • app data
  • storage files (things like backups of your BBM chats)

When extracting the entire backup, the BlackBerry Backup Extractor will recover and convert available data. This with include everything in the preview and other lesser databases and config files which may be available.

How to use the new BlackBerry Backup Extractor version 1.0.3

We added links for extraction to individual databases, which means you can extract your contacts, or photos, or any other category of data, or you can press "Extract all" to extract all the data to your folder of choice.

  1. Download the BlackBerry Backup Extractor and open your BlackBerry backup

    blackberry backup extractor version 103

    blackberry backup preview

  2. Choose what type of data you wish to extract (for example, Emails)

    blackberry backup extract emails

  3. Choose the output folder, press "Extract" and recover your emails: these will be saved to your Desktop as .eml files

    blackberry emails desktop

Once the data is saved to your computer, you can view it and import to another device. Learn more about:

Are BlackBerry PlayBook Apps backed up via BlackBerry Desktop Software?

BlackBerry Desktop Software Manager backs up PlayBook data and creates a BBB file. The bbb file is a zip archive, and it contains not only PlayBook app data, but also application binaries. The apps specifically are not stored in the BBB or IPD files.

The apps will be in your BlackBerry AppWorld for you to reinstall, or just use BlackBerry AppLoader to restore them.

If you want to backup your PlayBook apps then 3rd party apps is a choice in BBDM. You generally use the Apploader to restore your apps. The Desktop Manager and/or the AppLoader specifically can save the apps. Application data database will contain all downloaded BlackBerry PlayBook applications if you back it up or restore. If this database is not backed up the applications downloaded to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet can still be retrieved from BlackBerry AppWorld.

BlackBerry PlayBook

Where are the PlayBook apps stored?

The apps as .aliand .alx files in:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Applications\MediaSyncMobile

How to backup your BlackBerry PlayBook tablet?

Well, we are talking here about where are the apps stored, whether BBDM saves the apps when performing a backup but what if you are new to Playbook world or maybe you just need a few quick tips on how to perform a backup of your PlayBook tablet? If this is the case or you simply need a short reminder, here is a guide on how to back up your PlayBook.

BlackBerry Backup Extractor software can read PlayBook IPD or BBB backups

If you're just searching to extract only specific data from your PlayBook backup or maybe your PlayBook backup got corrupted and you really need to recover precious data or BlackBerry Desktop Software simply doesn't want to restore your PlayBook from backup, then BlackBerry Backup Extractor should help you out.

How to encrypt and decrypt BlackBerry backups

Encryption protects data from being accessed by third parties so if you have important information to be backed up you might want to encrypt it.

Encryption of Blackberry backup data is becoming more and more popular but do keep in mind your password when you decide to encrypt your backup. You put your data into an iron safe, so if you don't know your special code password you won't be able to open it and your data won't be anymore accessible for you.

How to encrypt backup data with BlackBerry Desktop Manager

  • Connect your BlackBerry Device to PC and Open Desktop Manager
  • Under BBDM, click "Device" > "Back up"
  • Select backup type - You can select then "Full backup", "Quick backup" (your email messages are not backed up) or "Custom backup" (you are able to select the specific data to back up)
  • Back up your device memory data - If you have data on your device memory and you want that to be backed up, select "Files saved on my built-in media storage" check box
  • Encrypting backup - To protect your backup by adding encryption you just select "Encrypt backup file" and type a password, maybe note down that password or just try to remember it as you will need it to access back your backup.
  • Finish by clicking "Back up"

Encrypt backup file

You can use your backup to restore your Blackberry device whenever something goes wrong.

BlackBerry Backup Extractor decrypts encrypted Blackberry backups

If you have difficulties in restoring your encrypted backup and BBDM doesn't recognize your backup or tells you that's being corrupt and it doesn't give you the option of entering your password or other cases when you simply can't restore from your encrypted backup, our latest version of BlackBerry Backup Extractor can be of help decrypting your BlackBerry backup (you must know your password) and accessing your data. You can extract the encoded data to your PC then just upload it to your phone or just use it as appropriate.

How to read BlackBerry Desktop 7's new "BBB" backup files

We've been so busy with the new PlayBook OS 2.0 that we neglected the fact that RIM has officially released the update for Blackberry Desktop Software for PC. Blackberry fans, you can now upgrade to the latest version and enjoy the functionality of the application. Be prepared as you'll see improved syncing capabilities.

BlackBerry Desktop Software

BlackBerry Backup Extractor works with BlackBerry Desktop Software 7

The BlackBerry backups created with the new release are still compatible with our Blackberry Backup Extractor software, so if you need to extract the files to your PC you can still count on it.

BlackBerry Desktop Software v7.0 B44 - released... then rolled back!

With the release Desktop Software v7.0 B44 (14th Feb 2012) and Desktop Software v2.3 for Mac (21st Feb 2012), current and future version of BlackBerry Desktop Software are seemly going to be using a unified .BBB v2 format to back up data from their BlackBerry devices. However, there still appears to be an issue when syncing your BlackBerry smartphone with the new PC Desktop Software version. We have heard many reports that when syncing your BlackBerry with BBDM 7 on Windows the process just hangs or never completes. Because of these reports RIM’s have seemly rolled back to Desktop Software v6.1. But as some of you out there are still using Desktop Software v7.0 and reporting issues we thought we would create this guide.

BlackBerry Desktop Software Version 7

Why has BlackBerry changed the .IPD backup file format to .BBB?

Historically, BlackBerry Desktop Software (Manager) has saved BlackBerry Backup files in .IPD for Window / PC, with .BBB for Apple Mac. With the .IPD extension having been part of the BlackBerry Back and Desktop Manager’s backup genetics since we can remember. Recently, we have had many BlackBerry owners asking us why they now see .BBB files and instead of an .IPD extension when viewing or searching for their Desktop Software backups. BlackBerry hasn't given an official explanation this is a little confusing, especially as Mac users were already using a .BBB backup format.

Well, the short explanation of what has changed is that the Mac .BBB file were only a compressed version of the same .IPD file the Windows users were using and simple using a .BBB extension. The .IPD format stands for "Inter@ctive Pager Backup", so this is possible now deemed an archaic description by RIM and the Mac .BBB (BlackBerry Backup file) extension preferred for both Windows and OS X operating systems. The new .BBB v2 format also has other differences and now contains a compressed set of .DAT files. Each .DAT file contains a relevant subset of data like contacts or calendar, so different in comparison to the single .IPD and compressed .BBB files that proceeded it.

How can you read a new .BBB v2 backup?

The BlackBerry Desktop Software 7 creates these .BBB v2 files, and therefore it can give access to and restore these files as designed. If anything goes wrong with the backup creation or you lose, change or upgrade your BlackBerry so the backup can’t be accessed the BlackBerry Backup Extractor can help. The current version of BlackBerry Backup Extractor can read all BlackBerry backup types new, old, Windows or Mac OS X. This includes the previous .IPD and Mac .BBB backup file formats as well as the new .BBB v2 backup format.


If you are new to BlackBerry and how backups are created, or have recently noticed that the newly released Blackberry Desktop Software 7 is now saving your backups with .BBB extensions, this is the article for you. For those of you used to BlackBerry's original .IPD backup format it might seem slightly confusing to change the extension after all this time. However, it has changed on a PC at least and to the new .BBB v2 format, but hang on isn't that the format the Blackberry Desktop Software for Mac uses? Well yes and no, but going forward BlackBerry will be using the .BBB v2 format as the universal extension for both Mac OS X and Windows. If you want to know more about the .BBB file changes we have more information in our BBB Extension Guide.

If that sounds too confusing you will be glad to know that BlackBerry Backup Extractor can extract all types of BlackBerry backups. Whether .IPD, .BBB, Mac OS X or Windows our application will do the work quickly and easily for you. Below is a short guide on how to extract the data from a BBB backup file using BlackBerry Backup Extractor.

1. Download and run BlackBerry Backup Extractor

BlackBerry Backup Extractor Software v 0.82

2. Open your IPD or BBB backup file

Click the "Open backup..." button and select your backup to be loaded by our software. You should see your IPD or BBB files with ease. You don't need to have access at the BlackBerry Desktop Software or BlackBerry device while doing all these.

BlackBerry Backup Extractor BBB and IPD file option

3. Extract all data stored in the BBB and IPD backup files

Select a location to extract the backup data and files into and that's it! Backup data such as Contacts, Emails, Memos, Calendar Events, Media files (phone storage only), SMS MMS message and BBM Conversations should be recovered and placed in this folder where applicable.

BlackBerry Backup Extractor BBB main files

The "Other" folder contains lots of other useful data.

BlackBerry Backup Extractor BBB other files


Where to find the extracted contents of .BBB and .IPD backup files

If you have set your BlackBerry Desktop Software to save the data types mentioned above and have this data available, you will find it in the following locations inside BlackBerry Backup Extractor's default extraction folder.

BlackBerry Messenger conversation and backup files

  • \BBM Conversations\conversations.csv
  • \Content Store\home\user\im\BlackBerry Messenger\322E5CD6\backup\

Photos, Picture and Music from phone

  • \Content Store\home\user\camera\
  • \Content Store\home\user\pictures\
  • \Content Store\home\user\music\

App Data and Files

  • \Content Store\appdata\

MMS Files

  • \MMS Messages\
  • \MMS Messages\images\
  • \MMS Messages\vcards\