How to read IPD & BBB BlackBerry backups

Updated

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

BlackBerry Backup Extractor can extract all types of BlackBerry backups. Here's a guide on how to extract the information stored in BlacbBerry BBB or IPD backup files, using BlackBerry Backup Extractor in four simple steps.

How to extract data from a BlackBerry backup

BlackBerry Backup Extractor shows you a preview of what's in your backup and lets you select the type of data you'd like to recover. Those categories include the following:

  • Contacts
  • Calls
  • SMS messages
  • MMS
  • BBM messages
  • Emails
  • Calendars
  • Tasks
  • Memos
  • Bookmarks
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Ringtones
  • App data
  • Storage files (things like backups of your BBM chats)

Let's get started.

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

    BlackBerry Backup Extractor's overview
    BlackBerry Backup Extractor's overview

  2. Choose what type of data you wish to extract. In this example, we've chosen email.

    BlackBerry Backup Extractor extracting emails
    BlackBerry Backup Extractor extracting emails

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

    BlackBerry Backup Extractor after extracting emails
    BlackBerry Backup Extractor after extracting emails

How to extract all data from a BlackBerry backup

  1. First, download the free version of Reincubate BlackBerry Backup Extractor and run it.

    BlackBerry Backup Extractor's overview
    BlackBerry Backup Extractor's overview

  2. Select your BlackBerry 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 any backup files presented straightaway. You don't need to have BlackBerry Desktop Software installed for this to work.

    BlackBerry Backup Extractor browsing for IPD and BBB backups
    BlackBerry Backup Extractor browsing for IPD and BBB backups

    You don't need to have a copy of BlackBerry Desktop Manager to use BlackBerry Backup Extractor: it's possible to open a backup from a USB stick, email attachment, or even another computer.

  3. Click to extract all data stored in the backup

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

    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 will be recovered and saved in the folder you chose.

    BlackBerry Backup Extractor selecting output folder
    BlackBerry Backup Extractor selecting output folder

Now, let's take a look at the data you've recovered.

Files recovered from BlackBerry backup
Files recovered from BlackBerry backup

You should see the following types of extracted file available:

BlackBerry Messenger conversation and backup files

BBM data will be extracted into these folders:

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

Photos, pictures and music

Your photos, music and camera roll will be extracted here:

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

App data and files

These will be extracted here:

  • \Content Store\appdata\

Sent and received emails, and saved email drafts

Sent and received emails extracted from a BlackBerry backup
Sent and received emails extracted from a BlackBerry backup

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 BlackBerry Desktop Manager rarely saves email attachments in its backups. This means the extractor will rarely recover them.

Contacts and address book

Contacts and address book extracted from a BlackBerry backup
Contacts and address book extracted from a BlackBerry backup

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

Phone call history extracted from a BlackBerry backup
Phone call history extracted from a BlackBerry backup

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

SMS and text messages

SMS and text messages extracted from a BlackBerry backup
SMS and text messages extracted from a BlackBerry backup

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

MMS data will be extracted into these folders:

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

Calendar appointments

Calendar appointments extracted from a BlackBerry backup
Calendar appointments extracted from a BlackBerry backup

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)

Tasks extracted from a BlackBerry backup
Tasks extracted from a BlackBerry backup

Notes extracted from a BlackBerry backup
Notes extracted from a BlackBerry backup

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.

What format does BlackBerry use for backups?

Historically, BlackBerry Desktop Manager has saved BlackBerry Backup files in IPD format on Windows, and BBB for on macOS. IPD format backups have been part of the BlackBerry Desktop Manager's backup genetics since before we can remember. The Mac's files were a compressed version of the Windows format. IPD stood for "Inter@ctive Pager Backup", which BlackBerry possibly deemed to be an archaic description, worthy of replacement.

BlackBerry Desktop Software 7 was released in February 2012, shortly after the release of PlayBook OS 2. This new version of BDS introduced a new format 2 for BBB backup files for both Windows and macOS. The new format has other differences, and now contains a compressed set of DAT files. Each DAT file contains a relevant subset of data such as contacts or calendar.

Extension OS Version Notes
IPD Windows BDM 1 - 6 Classic "Inter@ctive Pager Backup" format
IPD 2 Windows & macOS BDS 6.1 Used by BlackBerry PlayBook only
BBB macOS BDM 1 - 6 Zipped IPD
BBB 2 Windows & macOS From BDS 7+ New format from 2012

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

About the author

Aidan Fitzpatrick founded Reincubate in 2008 after building the world's first iPhone data recovery tool, iPhone Backup Extractor. He's spoken at Google on entrepreneurship, and is a graduate of the Entrepreneurs' Organisation's Leadership Academy.

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Comments (12)

I have a Blackberry 8330 (I love the trackball)..Verizon is my carrier..they tell me as of Demember 2019 my 8330 will no longer work on their network so I'll need to ourchase a new phone..I backed up my Blackberry to my laptop (pc)..however when I try to open my backup file it can not be read..will your software be able to get my contacts from either my existing backup files on laptop and convert the files to a word doc on my laptop...I have a cable so i'm able to plug my blackberry into my laptop..Advise how to help my dilemma...Thanks..btw, what is the cost for your software..if your software can solve my problem..

Hi Bob, thanks for your note. Sure, drop us a note or message us on live chat. BlackBerry Backup Extractor can recover data from the 8330, and it costs $24.95.

And is there -- somewhere -- the layout of he BBB file format? I would like to be able to write an app to read it - just like others apps do ...

Like BlackBerry Backup Extractor? 👩‍🏫

do you have a version for macs?

@Wally: we sure do! You should see the download link above.

I do have version 6.1 of the desktop SW and did try to install the 7.1 Bundle on my Torch. Now I do have a bbb file that I have no way to read back onto my device! Just a mess. No wonder RIM is having a hard time...

BlackBerry Desktop Software 7 is now out, so this should be OK to restore .BBB files on Windows. If not BlackBerry Backup Extractor can help extract any BlackBerry backup format.

hi my son pressed clear instead of copy on his bbm can this history be retrieved

@Gail, if the he created a backup prior to the clearing his BBM messages, then yes -- in CSV format. You can try BlackBerry Backup Extractor for free just to see if he has any backups or not.

You could even restore just the BBM messages using the BlackBerry Desktop Manager, we have articles here on how to do this: How to recover BlackBerry Messenger contacts and conversations

sorry, one other question. HELP please!!! i am using desktop manager 4.6.0 on a 3 yr old 8310 curve. (i know, both old.) i had numerous critical "saved as draft" emails that were not actually sent. are these recoverable from my files? i think my phone memory was low and something happened a week or so ago and i lost alot of my email file (and others)on the phone that i had been backing up to bbm. thanks!

@Jay; When extracting from you backup the BlackBerry Backup Extractor should save these in a folder called "Emails Saved". If not these were not saved to the backup, it's probably better to ask this sort of question in support -- please reach out direct. 🙂

i am wondering if my photo's and video will be saved on the blackberry backup files, and can your product open them up?

@Sarah, only if the photos and video were save to the phone memory, not the SD Card. Also they have to be backed up via DM before they were deleted. If you deleted from the SD card there is software that tries to recover deleted files from these.

BlackBerry Desktop Software 7 is still not available from the BlackBerry download page. It's worth pointing out that DM 7 creates backups in BBB format, so if you have had to downgrade to DM 6 you'll have issues accessing the BBB file data until DM 7 is relaunched.

I have already purchased your program. Are the BlackBerry messages saved in the backup procedure and if so how can I see them using your program

@Terrence, yes they are. You can find related BBM files in these folders:

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

How do I view extracted file in MS Outlook?

Regards Mike

@Mike: You can just import the either contacts or calendars using the extracted CSV, iCal or iCS files. We have more information here.

Hello.. I Would like to purchase your software, Blackberry Backup Extractor.

However i've been trying to figure out if the "Purged Messages" Database are actually readable. I've spent quite a alot of time googling this now, and did not get any answers,.Please advise.

@Pedro Thanks for your interest in the Blackberry Backup Extractor. The way messages are 'purged' is often dependant on the service provider of the phone, the settings used and the BB OS. The application cannot recover deleted messages unless they are backed up in a IPD, few service providers tend to do this at all but it does happen now and then.

You can try the BBBE application for free, once you extract data from the IPD file navigate to the follow folder: EXTRACTED-FOLDER\Other\Purged Messages

You will either see a sample of deleted messages, deleted message references (useless pointer info) or an empty file.

The Blackberry Backup Extractor works great and the extracted .eml files can be imported seamlessly into Windows Live Mail (free download from Microsoft). All attachments and formatting is retained.

My only remark at this point is that Live Mail fails to import multiple vcf files even though it did the first 3 or so and throws up an error. I can still pull an individual vcf in but hope that this is fixed soon.

Hey NewJerseyGuy, thanks for kind words. We're glad it worked out for you. Microsoft are due to update Live Mail's import functionality soon -- it's overdue!


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