Your unlocked BlackBerry Priv gets a little influence from your carrier's SIM card

We've written a few tips here for those who are new to Android with their BlackBerry Priv, but this one is for the Android users who just picked one up, and aren't familiar with all things BlackBerry — when you insert a SIM card into your unlocked Priv, some things will change.

Before you light the torches and sharpen any pitchforks, the changes are only cosmetic, and are easy to undo. And in some cases, you'll be glad they changed in the first place.

Your phone is still unlocked, and you'll still be free of any real carrier branding.

When your Priv — or any modern BlackBerry that's factory unlocked — first connects to a carrier's network it configures itself for best performance. That's the stuff it's doing while you sit there looking at the signal indicator bars, waiting for them to light up. Most phones do the same thing. What BlackBerry does in addition to network optimization is copy a new splash screen to your boot up process, and change the ringtone to the carrier's default. For example, I set up my Priv with no SIM in it. After everything was done, I dropped in my T-Mobile (US) SIM card. I was prompted to reboot, and when I did I noticed the T-Mobile splash screen, and when all was said and done I was automatically connected to Wifi calling and HD voice was enabled without me doing anything. My ringtone was also changed to the familiar, but annoying, T-Jingle thingy.

There are logos, wallpapers, splash screens, boot animations and ringtones stored in the Vendor folder in the Priv's system files. You're not downloading anything, and the system just changes which files the default settings are linked to. Other than a change in your boot animation, you can change everything back through the normal methods.

One other thing we noticed on Richard's unlocked Priv, was that an O2 SIM also triggered some suggested applications to install from Google Play. I didn't see this behavior with T-Mobile US, but in either case don't be alarmed if you see something similar. If you like what is suggested, install it. If not, ignore it. Your phone is still unlocked, and you'll still be free of any real carrier branding.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

34 Comments
  • Doesn't seem too terrible but I wonder why BlackBerry does it anyway. It's unlocked. Why should the branding be automatically enabled? Why should the boot screen be carrier branded? Does BlackBerry actually make any money out of this? LG G4 H818N Dual-SIM on Movistar Spain
  • Did you not read the article?? It's benign and a non issue. It does not bring any bloat ware. And all updates will of course be direct. Posted via Android Central App
  • Still a decent waste of space though. And unless you're rooted they're in a folder you can't modify. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You ignored the questions he asked. He knows it's benign. He's just confused as to why an unlocked, carrier independent phone would modify itself like this. What's the reason, since most unlocked phones don't. Posted via the Android Central App
  • blackberry is quite familiar with this kind of stupidity
  • Lol..so it takes up space that you cannot get back
  • The article implies that the content is already there, just activated in relation to your sim. If true, it's even more concerning that bloat from MANY carriers is pre-loaded instead of just one carrier. It's a minor issue, but it would annoy me.
  • Exactly. It's probably not a huge amount of space, but waste is waste. Posted via the Android Central App
  • 1,379 items that checks in at 407MB This is on a STV100-3.
  • 407MB? That's outrageous!!!! Posted via the Materialistic Android Central App
  • But no other bloat. Posted via the Android Central App
  • what??? and that can't be deleted for any reason?
  • I'm certain AT&T would be similar but I wonder if you put a prepaid sim like Cricket or Straight Talk if that would change anything Moto G 3rd Gen 2015 with only 1GB of RAM
    Nexus 7 2013
  • They may have just included the files for the major carriers.. Posted via the Materialistic Android Central App
  • Always hated carrier boot screen, dunno why. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's like having your significant others name painted on your car. It's at best tacky, and at worst a mistake when you break up.
  • Ah but if you break up with your carrier and put in a sim from another carrier, it'll instantly update to the new carrier's setting.
    Honestly I don't see why this as a big deal a all, you see the splashscreen like what once a week or less depending on how often you reboot your phone.
    A lot of unlocked android phones do nothing, they might not support wifi-calling on T-mobile or even band 12 VoLTE, the fact that it sets this all up for you is great in an unlocked phone that T-mobile hasn't even committed to carrying yet.
    Though I'd bet this is a strong indication that they will.
    A carrier splashscreen is nothing.
  • No, a carrier splash screen is not "nothing". It's annoying. If you spend the money on an unlocked and unbranded phone I don't want to see even the slightest bit of carrier branding anywhere. Even if you rarely reboot your phone it's the principle behind it. Keep your shitty branding off my phone.
  • That's a horrible analogy Posted via the Android Central App
  • They do this with BlackBerry 10 - must have decided it was a good idea. It's nice in a way if you travel and use different sims, but it does annoy me on occasion too (for example, my carrier's name is automatically added to my email signature - which I can then edit and delete) Posted via the Android Central App
  • I can understand if they did this and the user could remove all the stuff but the bootanimation needs root to be removed
  • Wonder what it will do when I light it up in Mexico's Telcel... assuming it works.. =S
  • Tecel represented in a big way in there!
  • If you buy an att priv and unlock it, will these changes take place? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not sure. I have a feeling the carrier-branded versions in North America will be different, and have more bloatware pre-installed.
  • I just got word back from tmobile and they said it will still get band 12 LTE and WiFi calling. I will confirm since I bought the att version last night. Waiting for an unlock code now... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Did you have an account with AT&T? I'm on T-Mo and went to ATT to see if they would sell one to me, and they wouldn't, the swines.
  • "There are logos, wallpapers, splash screens, boot animations and ringtones stored in the Vendor folder in the Priv's system files. You're not downloading anything, and the system just changes which files the default settings are linked to. Other than a change in your boot animation, you can change everything back through the normal methods." So BB is taking up storage with a bunch of carrier specific graphics that I'll never use. Gee, thanks for nothing, Blackberry.
  • I've gone through my G4's files before and have seen the same thing, granted it's an H810 AT&T branded device and not an unlocked one. I haven't heard anybody call out LG on this matter, I'm only guessing it's also on most other Android devices. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Does it effect the mobile hotspot? Posted via the Android Central App on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  • thanks for the information. wish i have a sim card for my device and it would work with a unlock verison
  • Not as bad as ugly carrier logos and carrier firmware but still irritating especially the boot screen with T-Mobile branding. Why the hell it should light up T-Mobile since I bought it unlocked and already paying them for service. Grr ... So if I remove my sim and the reboot will if change back to default? Or will it only change when you put a different sim and then obviously change to that carrier settings.
  • I understand why they do wallpapers and ringtones but the boot animation is something you can't change because you can't unlock the bootloader and root.
  • I have noticed this on My BlackBerry Z10 when I change sims. It wouldn't bother me at all. It's like Android Phones do the same with apn settings mainly if your phone is factory unlocked. I actually wouldn't find a problem with that. I think it's quite cool and saves you steps of actually activating those features by calling your Carrier's Customer Care Centre Posted via the Android Central App