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Wireless Internet: BlackBerry Curve as Bluetooth Modem for OS-X Mac

Stay connected to the Internet wherever you go by using your BlackBerry Curve (8300) as a Bluetooth modem for your OS-X-powered Macintosh…

[ Apple MacBook ] This tutorial guides you through the process of connecting wirelessly to the Internet using your BlackBerry Curve (8300) as a Bluetooth modem for your Macintosh (running OS X) via native Bluetooth functionality. The benefits of such wireless connectivity are numerous, enabling greater productivity and maximized Internet access. The procedure is straightforward, and the tutorial assumes no prior knowledge of either Bluetooth or BlackBerry. Knowing your way around a Mac will help, but is not required. Note that using your BlackBerry as a wireless modem for your Mac (or any computer) is classified as tethering, and may or may not be covered by your wireless plan1. Having said that, the setup time for this tutorial should be well under thirty minutes, and requires2 the following items:

All set? Let’s get started…

Install the BlackBerry Modem Script

Unzip the BlackBerry_8300.zip file and save a copy of the extension-less modem-script to the “Modem Scripts” directory on your Mac: FinderHard DiskLibraryModem Scripts

Pair the BlackBerry Curve with your Mac

Okay, now to pair the BlackBerry and Mac via Bluetooth. Crack open your BlackBerry, go to “Manage Connections”, and enable Bluetooth via checkmark (the icon should then show a yellow minus icon). Then, go to “Bluetooth Options”, press the menu key, select “Options”, and ensure that the “Discoverable” option is set to “Yes”.

Now, open System Preferences on your Mac and open the “Bluetooth” configuration panel. Enable Bluetooth and make it “Discoverable” [ Screenshot ].

Next, within the System Preferences panel, select the “Devices” tab and click “Set Up New Device…” to begin the setup process [ Screenshot ].

The first step in the device setup process is a “Welcome” screen. Click continue. Next, in the “Select Device Type” screen, select “Any Device” from the list and click “Continue”. Next is the “Searching” screen, which eventually (it may take a few moments) should indicate your BlackBerry device as a mobile phone. After the device is found, select in the list and click “Continue”.

Next is the “Gathering Information” screen, which displays the progress of the information gathering process. Wait until the process is complete and then click “Continue”. The next screen displays the all-important passkey. [ Screenshot ]. At this time, your BlackBerry should display its “Enter Numeric Passkey” prompt. Enter the passkey in the field provided (Note: there is a limited amounted of time for this step — if necessary, click “Go back” on the Mac and try again).

Upon successful entry of the passkey, a “Pairing Complete” message appears briefly, and a confirmation prompt appears asking if you would like to “Accept connection request from mac?”. First, select “Don’t ask this again” and then click the “Yes” button.

Configure the Bluetooth Connection

[ Image: BlackBerry Curve and Mac PowerBook ]
BlackBerry Curve Wireless Modem for Mac
So far so good. We are almost finished! Now it is time to configure the Bluetooth connection. On your Mac, the “Devices” subpanel (System PreferencesBluetoothDevices tab) should display the BlackBerry 8300 on the Bluetooth device list [ Screenshot ]. Select the BlackBerry 8300 from the list and click on “Configure” to open the configuration dialogue (Note: the Device Configuration dialogue may have opened automatically after the device pairing process).

Next, in the “Select the services you want to use with your mobile phone” screen, select “Access the Internet with your phone’s data connection” and also select “Use a direct, higher speed connection to reach your Internet Service Provider (GPRS, 1xRTT)” [ Screenshot ]. Click “Continue”.

Then, in the Username/Password screen, leave the username and password fields blank, and enter *99***1# for the GPRS CID String. For the modem, click the dropdown menu and select the custom modem script, “BlackBerry 8300”. And finally, select “Show Modem status in the menu bar” and then click “Continue” [ Screenshot ].

Upon successful completion of the device configuration process, the “Congratulations” screen will display: “Accessing the Internet using a high speed wireless data service (e.g. GPRS) from your wireless operator.” — Excellent. Click “Quit” to seal the deal.

Connect to the Internet via BlackBerry

With everything properly connected and configured, we are ready now to connect to the Internet. Click on the small ‘Modem Status’ (telephone) icon in your menu bar and select “Open Internet Connect…” [ Screenshot ].

Within the Connections dialogue box, select the Bluetooth tab and populate the form fields with the following information:

  • Telephone: wap.voicestream.com (T-Mobile) or wap.cingular (Cingular/AT&T)
  • Username: guest (T-Mobile) or WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM (Cingular/AT&T)
  • Password: guest (T-Mobile) or CINGULAR1 (Cingular/AT&T)
  • Screenshot ]

All set? Click “Connect”! If everything went according to plan, your Mac should be using your BlackBerry Curve as a Bluetooth modem and you should now see the “Connection Status” dialogue box, indicating connectivity [ Screenshot ].

Footnotes

  • 1 For Cingular/At&T subscribers: According to the customer service department, unless your plan specifically supports tethering, tethered connections will only work until the system catches on and blacklists your device (only as a tethered modem). Also, the representative assured me that pre-blacklist connections would not be billed.
  • 2 These are the devices used for the production of this tutorial. It may be possible to connect via alternate devices/software with similar features.
  • 3 Different carriers provide different data/internet access plans and thus have different connection credentials (e.g., username, password). While covering every different plan is waaay beyond the scope of this article, the tutorial does provide connection credentials for both Cingular/AT&T and T-Mobile.

Jeff Starr
About the Author Jeff Starr = Fullstack Developer. Book Author. Teacher. Human Being.
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281 responses
  1. I tried this scrip on my MB with OS X (10.5.5) and Blackberry Curve (8310). I have no luck with it. It goes to connection screen and then disconnects it..with message about PPP server. Can someone please HELP!!!!

  2. I finally got it to work. Here are the details:

    BlackBerry Curve with firmware version 4.5 or newer. T-Mobile service. if you have a data plan, there is no special requirement for tethering. use the blackBerry 8320 script found here. On your Mac, put that script in your /Library/Modem Scripts/ directory.

    On the phone (not on the Mac, the phone): put wap.voicestream.com in the phone’s advanced settings for TCP. I don’t know if this is necessary. leave user/pw fields blank.

    on the Mac: pair up your phone via bluetooth. follow the steps and pair the device. in the Bluetooth mobile phone setup pane:

    • phone vendor: other
    • phone model: BlackBerry 8300
    • username: gprs
    • password: gprs
    • phone number:wap.voicestream.com

    in Network preferences, choose bluetooth. use *99***1# in the telephone number field. this specific number is important. account: gprs (this is not specific, but you should have something in this field). password: gprs (same as above). click advanced:

    • modem tab
    • vendor: other
    • model: BlackBerry 8300
    • enable error correction: checked
    • dial mode: ignore dial tone
    • dialing: irrelevant
    • sound: suit yourself

    PPP tab:

    • session: defaults
    • configuration: uncheck everything
    • no terminal script

    Click OK. then back to the network control panel and the bluetooth setting. click connect and cross fingers… it works!

    I have had to try several times for this to work, tho. Sometime I see authentication failures. I think it’s not really authentication, but just a signal level or server issue. Trying again was successful.

  3. Thank you DTS (post 135) for your alternative to a battery pull tip!
    Currently online w/ an Alltel Curve 8330, beta os 4.5, os x 10.4.11.
    Thanks to all tipsters here.

  4. Thanks for keeping the string going! With the new BB software update from TMO I was able to connect to the internet like a charm using the info on this site.

  5. How can i increase my d/l speeds while tethering w/ bt on the tmo 8320…at first when i got tethered i was up to over 220 kbps but now im movin no faster than 20 kbps…any suggestions????

  6. This worked great with OS 10.5.5 and my Blackberry Pearl (8100). Thanks!

  7. T-Mobile with $35 BB Unlimited Data and Messaging plan, BB Curve running latest 4.5 OS, and I was up and running for more than 12 minutes before I hopped back on WiFi.

    I installed the Scripts and while setting up I used in the Bluetooth setup pane:

    • phone vendor: other
    • phone model: BlackBerry 8300
    • username: guest
    • password: guest
    • phone number:wap.voicestream.com

    I tried using that *99***1# string in the number field and it didn’t work. Only the above did. Also, I didn’t mess with the advanced settings mentioned in post # 242. Good luck everyone :)

  8. Worked like a charm (8320 T-mobile + OS X 10.4). Make sure you un-check PPP TCP header compression. Thanks for keeping this thread alive!

  9. Worked as advertised. I appreciate the information. One hang-up that people might experience is that I found that I needed to update my bb os to 4.5 for it to work. After the update, worked the first time with the prescribed settings. Using mac os 10.4.11 with a t-mobile 8320 curve.

  10. Eric Becker December 15, 2008 @ 8:33 pm

    Hi, I had trouble with the modem script. I dont know how to save the file correctly. It doesnt seem to show up when i am setting up the modem on the bluetooth set up. The CID number doesnt come up, or if it does, it has another option on the setup screen as well. I have a blackberry curve 8320 and the newest macbook. i guess that would be the leopard system i believe. Any help would be appreciated. thank you

    Eric

  11. Melissa Kendall December 23, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

    I did it! I did it! I did it!

    I had problems but now I know what I did wrong. I didn’t see Blackberry 8300 or RIM or Research In Motion on Phone Vendor pull down list. So I finally thought ok let me choose Other. Low and Behold there it was. Blackberry 8300 on the Phone Model pull down menu.

    So make sure you have OTHER for Phone Vendor and BLACKBERRY 8300 for Phone Model and everything else is the same as describe as above.

    This is what I have as far a devices and software:

    MacBook with Mac OS X 10.5.6 (latest update)
    Blackberry Curve 8320 with v4.5.0.81 (latest update)on T-Mobile (USA)

    -Melissa

  12. I purchased my blackberry 8320 specifically for use as a modem for my ibook. it took some time but I was really happy when it finally worked, and reasonably fast to begin with, i was able to surf the web and check my email with several pages loading at speeds faster than dial-up and maybe just a bit slower than dsl but never as fast as cable. after disconnecting the first time whenever i connect again it is much slower, just able to load a single page after several minutes before dropping the connection. my next step is to consult with t-mobile to see if they will support this built-in blackberry feature either with my existing data plan or a reasonable additional fee, the speed is not breathtaking so i wouldn’t pay more than another $10 a month. with the economy in deep trouble one would think service providers would be rushing to offer competitive pricing and service of every conceivable mobile technology.

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