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With a BlackBerry, what is the PIN and how do I find it?

About the PIN

When manufactured, each BlackBerry device is assigned a unique personal identification number (PIN). This allows identification of each BlackBerry and ensures that mail destined for a particular individual is delivered correctly.

During a synchronization, the redirector associates a PIN with an email account, thereafter making certain that mail in that account is sent to the device with that PIN.

With a BlackBerry, the PIN differs from the Electronic Serial Number (ESN) in that the ESN is tracked by the BlackBerry reseller, whereas the PIN is tracked by the BlackBerry wireless network provider. Some resellers may also track the PIN, but network providers do not track the ESN.

In an enterprise redirector environment such as the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Redirector (BES) service at Indiana University, the PIN is stored centrally on the BES server, and is viewable by BES administrators and Support Center personnel with access to the Exchange Account Management tools.

Note: The BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) service will be retired by January 1, 2015; see About the BES retirement. As of January 1, 2013, no new BES accounts are being created. UITS recommends you replace your BlackBerry with a device that is ActiveSync compatible. To learn more about ActiveSync, see What is Exchange ActiveSync?

BlackBerry devices support direct PIN-to-PIN messaging. If you know the PIN of your recipient's BlackBerry, you can compose an email message using the PIN instead of the email address. This can be useful for troubleshooting, as a PIN-to-PIN message bypasses the email system entirely. Thus, when you cannot receive email normally but can receive PIN-to-PIN email, the problem is not with the device itself, the RIM (Research in Motion) network, or the wireless provider's network.

For help, see Blackberry Support.

Note: PIN-to-PIN messages are not encrypted, and UITS does not recommend them for sending sensitive data.

Finding your PIN

You can find your BlackBerry's PIN on the device itself, or on the BlackBerry Desktop Manager:

Finding your BlackBerry's PIN on the device

For newer models:

  1. Select Options.

  2. Select Status, and you will then see an 8-digit alphanumeric ID labeled "PIN:".

On older models, select Settings, then Options, and then Status.

Finding your BlackBerry's PIN on the Desktop Manager

  1. Launch the Desktop Manager.

  2. At the bottom of the Main Menu page, next to "Active device (PIN)", you will see your device model and PIN in parentheses.
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Last modified on February 19, 2013.

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