My BlackBerry Can’t Send or Receive Email

NOemail-icon Few problems are more aggravating than a sudden loss of email capability with your BlackBerry, but this does happen.

In this article we cover a solution that works for many cases of email failure. It involves a feature of your phone that most BlackBerry users are unfamiliar with: Service Books.

Why has my email stopped working?

You may never know for sure why your email stopped working, but here are some possible causes:

  • A software glitch (defect, bug, accident) caused a corruption of your BlackBerry’s memory and damaged the Service Books (explained below) needed to send and receive email.
  • You or your wireless service provider performed an upgrade on your phone and the Service Books were not installed, or improperly installed, or corrupted.
  • You installed and ran a poorly-designed 3rd-party application that somehow corrupted your BlackBerry Service Books.
  • If you are using a corporate BlackBerry that works with a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), your BES administrator may have unintentionally caused your problem. In that case, don’t try to use this article–contact your corporate BES administrator (usually in your IT Department).

Service Books

What are Service Books? Without getting too technical, Service Books are small computer programs that must be installed or downloaded into your BlackBerry so that it can provide various services (e.g., email, text messaging, web browsing) using your wireless provider’s network.

If you know, or even suspect, that your Service Books have been damaged, it’s not that difficult to restore them. It involves a request for your wireless provider to “send” you a new set of books.

How to Restore or Send Service Books

There are several ways to Send Service Books. Which works for you might depend on the version of software you have running on your BlackBerry, which wireless carrier you use, or your carrier’s version of BlackBerry Internet Service. I’ll list a few ways below so you can try each.

Use your phone’s Email Setup

If this method will work for you, it’s by far the easiest. From your Home Screen, open Email Setup. That should take you to the Internet and connect you to your wireless provider’s BlackBerry Internet Service. Click Service Books > Send Service Books.


After your Service Books have been received, you might receive an email message to each of your registered email accounts to notify you of what just happened.

EmailSetup[5] EmailSetup[8]b

Use Your BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS)

If the above method doesn’t work for you, you might want to try using your computer instead of your BlackBerry. You will need to know how to log on to the BIS for your specific wireless provider (e.g., Verizon, T-Mobile, Rogers, TELUS, AT&T, Orange, Sprint).

To locate the login page for your provider, try looking here:

Log in to your BIS account and find the link to Send Service Books. (I don’t have access to all the various BIS sites, so I can’t show screenshots.)

Ask Your Provider’s Tech Support to Send Service Books

Reportedly, you can phone your wireless provider’s technical support and simply request they send Service Books to your phone. Be patient, as these personnel are usually required to take you through a standard list of questions. Tell them, “My Service Books list is empty, and almost nothing works.” I don’t know how they could refuse given that specific complaint.

Reboot (Reset) Your BlackBerry

In almost any case your BlackBerry is acting strange, or after you’ve made a major change to your BlackBerry (as in this article’s procedures), it’s always a good idea to reboot/reset your phone. With power on…

  1. Remove the battery
  2. Wait a while (say, 10 seconds)
  3. Replace the battery
  4. Wait for phone to recover (a minute or two)

You May Need to Update Your Host Routing Table

Your BlackBerry is a sophisticated Internet-connected device. To work properly, it must have a list of Internet (IP) addresses to “talk” to various other devices on the Internet. This list is your phone’s Host Routing Table (HRT). In some situations, you may need to rebuild or update it by doing Options > Advanced Options > Host Routing Table > (press Menu key) > Register Now. You may receive an email notification to confirm.

HostRoutingTable[2] HRT Registration[5]

If All Else Fails, Try This

Due to the complexity of the BlackBerry phone and network, you may have encountered a problem that isn’t resolved using the methods described in this article. A comprehensive list of troubleshooting procedures is provided by Research in Motion (RIM).


I hope the information above has helped you resolve your problem. The general method of restoring Service Books and/or Host Routing Table can remedy a host of problems, so those are good tricks to know. I don’t think there is every any risk of trying them, even if that’s not the problem.

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About the author

This entry was contributed by Kelly Carter
84 entries have been written by this author.

25 comments on this post

Nancy A. says:
Feb 6, 2009 - 11:02:03

This was awesome. I love this site. THis information solved my problem. I had no idea what service books are/were. But I was able to restore them and now I have my email back. Thank you for making it easy.

Feb 7, 2009 - 06:02:48

It’s so gratifying when my work helps someone fix a problem. I wish it worked first time for everyone. Please keep coming back!

Robynbeth says:
Feb 10, 2009 - 11:02:14

I just wanted to thank you as well. I have only had my device for less than a month, and I have been working for hours trying to restore my email. I wish I had found this site first. It would have saved me time.

Feb 11, 2009 - 06:02:49

Well, keep coming back to And if you haven’t looked over the past articles, please take time to do that. You may find something good in the articles or the discussion that each generated.

Mendy Phillips says:
Feb 24, 2009 - 01:02:53


I am one of those folks who went crazy over the storm (verizon). I purchased the phone assuming I would be able to unlock it and use on Tmobile’s network. I unlocked it and I can make and receive calls on the network. I can even send and receive text messages but that is it. Is there something I can do to use the browser and mms feature?

Feb 24, 2009 - 08:02:49

From a little research I did, it seems possible. Try having your service books re-sent. To do that, you can log in to your T-Mobile BlackBerry Internet Service and find the link to Send Service Books. Please let me know if that works.

Melvin Uy says:
Mar 20, 2009 - 09:03:30

Need help with my Bold. Got it from a reseller in Manila, Philippines. I was told it was unlocked, and I did a check on the SIM Card page under Advanced Options (typed MEPD). Everything read “Disabled” so I guess it is indeed unlocked. However, no Service Books are coming in (despite sending the service books on the BIS website), and the HRT is empty (despite clicking on Register in the HRT), and “edge” & “gprs” are never in ALL CAPS. My BIS service is activated since I’m able to log into my account online and create email accounts. Problem is, my phone isn’t receiving any data. All other features (such as SMS, Calls, etc.) are functioning normally. What seems to be the problem?

Mar 20, 2009 - 12:03:50

I’ve read where other users have had a problem like yours. Some got their phones to work by downgrading the OS (for example, from 4.5 to 4.2), although they weren’t happy with having to downgrade. Your symptoms sound more like you don’t have a data plan. Have you checked with your carrier to make sure you have a data plan to gives you data services beyond SMS?

Melvin Uy says:
Mar 20, 2009 - 09:03:56

Hi Kelly,
Yes I do have a data plan and BIS is activated for my line. Re the OS downgrade, unfortunately the Bold 9000 comes with 4.6 pre-installed, so no further downgrading is possible, right? Is it possible that my Bold 9000 is defective?

Mar 20, 2009 - 09:03:44

It’s too soon to conclude that your Bold is defective. Do you think you could get your carrier’s technical support to try pushing new Service Books to your phone? If they will, that would be worth a try. If you ever get this fixed, please remember to do a full backup of your phone!

Ashley Vestal says:
Mar 29, 2009 - 11:03:02

I am a sales rep for wireless provider and the main problem that I see is that many of my customers corrupted their memory. When this happens, you just check your memory. You can do that by going into your status in your options. If it is anything lower than 12GB, your memory is gone. You can fix it by purchasing and memory card. You should then insert the memory card in the phone. Once you have the memory card in the phone you must move the files on to the memory card.

1. Go to your media player

2. Explore

3. Device Memory

4. User

5. Home

6. You can use any of the folders on the device memory such as ringtones, pictures voicenotes, music and video. I advise you to check each folder and move the exsting files onto the memory card.

7. To move the file on to the card, you must hit the menu key. The menu key will give you the option to move. You must move the file up . You probably will have to move the file up 6 times. Once you see the option, media card you will then move here.

Tip: make sure when moving the files that is says just media card. You do not want it to say blackberry/mediaringtones because the files are still on the device memory.

Ashley Vestal says:
Mar 29, 2009 - 11:03:54


You should try to back your information on the blackberry desk top and perform a hard wipe on it. Once you wipe everything off of your phone you should be fine.

I wouldn’t wipe it before you back up all of your info.

To perform a hard wipe you would go to your options, security settings, General Setting, menu, wipe handheld. You must then type in the word blackberry and it should erase your phone’s memory.

Mar 30, 2009 - 06:03:15

Thanks for your assistance to Melvin.

Gloria W. says:
Apr 4, 2009 - 01:04:11

Thank you for helping me restore my email in, like five minutes — and without having to go through the whole rigamarole with customer service! This is great…

Apr 4, 2009 - 01:04:48

How cool that it worked for you!

Glauco Y. says:
Apr 16, 2009 - 01:04:54

Dear Kelly,
I have unlocked a Verizon BB Storm and it has worked fine for a couple of 2 months with a local provider SIM card (TIM Mobile). Unfortunately, after 2 months the DATA services stopped working. I’ve been contacting the local and Verizon customers services, and surffing around the web without any success to solve this problem. I’ve already done anything I could found suchs as:
- DATA Plan and BES is ok;
- Voice and SMS works with the local SIM card (TIM)
- Asked the customer service to send me the Service Book – it did not work;
- Asked the customer service to reset the provisioning – it did not work;
- I had done the wipe a sort of times – it did not work;
- HRT keeps empty;
- Since I am on a GSM network, I’ve been forcing the Network Confg to 2G – it looks the same.

On the other hand, if I use the Verizon SIM card, the DATA Services works fine. In the case, I was wondering if RIM could lock the IMEI on a device exclusively to one unique provider. Have you heard anything about that? It is important to clarify that I could make this Storm working with a different provider once, and it is still working at least with voice and sms.

Any comments or help is quite appreciative.

Many thanks,

Apr 19, 2009 - 07:04:56

Sorry about my slow response. If you have wiped and reloaded the operating system, restored factory defaults, etc., and the data services still don’t work, I think the problem is not with your phone but with your provider. Perhaps they have disabled your data plan for some reason. You mentioned BES. You are not really using BES are you, but BIS? If you are a BES user, you would need to get help from your BES administrator. Your problem really sounds like it is caused by your provider. Let me know if you discover a solution.

Glauco Y. says:
Apr 24, 2009 - 07:04:19

Hi Kelly,
Thanks for the attention. Actually, if I use this same SIM card with a different device provided by a local supplier, it runs pretty well, even with BES. But when I use this one with the Verizon’s Storm, it just work for voice. It seems that Verizon somehow locked their IMEI’s devices within RIM for DATA services. It sounds strange, but when I called Verizon’s service desk, the attendent told me that even if we unlock the device for roaming purposes, it would work just for voice, without any data services. It really is a shame and I am getting rid of it, because I just got tired of looking a work around of it.
Thank you for yoursupport anyway.

G3ekGir1 says:
May 24, 2009 - 12:05:43

Thanks for a helpful site. I stopped receiving email on my Storm immediately after downloading and enabling the “Dogs” theme. It’s been close to 24 hours. I deleted my account and set it up again; still didn’t work. Also rebooted, reset, cleared event log, etc. I came upon this site and sent Service Books and got a confirmation email from Activation Server AND uninstalled the dog theme. Still waiting for my email to come through! (I’ve been able to send email.)

May 24, 2009 - 04:05:05

You’ve done all the right things. When you say you rebooted, did you cycle power on the phone or remove the battery? Pulling the battery is the most effective way to clear up a host of problems. If you didn’t try that, please do.

Chris says:
Jun 3, 2009 - 02:06:46

I tried everything you had listed on there, but when I have the service books resent to the device, they never show up. I can send and receive texts and phone calls, but e-mails and facebook messages are a no go all of a sudden. Any thoughts?

Jun 6, 2009 - 10:06:46

Since I don’t have much history to work with, let me first make sure you have a data plan for your BlackBerry. Next, let me make sure you’ve tried a battery pull (remove, wait, replace, wait). Then, have you tried your carrier’s customer support. I know often that’s a painful route, but on occasion I’ve been super-impressed with how helpful my carrier (Verizon) has been. It may just be a problem only they can help with, and no advice I can offer would fix it.

Try a diagnostic test. I don’t know what model you have, but for the Storm, you do Options > Mobile Network > (press Menu key) > Diagnostics Test > (press Menu key) > Run. That might tell you something useful.

Have you updated your Host Routing Table (HRT)? On Storm you do Options > Advanced Options > Host Routing Table > (press Menu key) > Register Now.

If you have a different model and can’t find those functions, tell me the model and I’ll help.

Nimita says:
Jul 16, 2009 - 04:07:33

HI Kelly
I’ve had the Blackberry Storm for about 6 months now and I’m having problems sending and receiving SMS messages. I was told to hard boot whereby I removed the battery and re-instated it. Then the SMS function starts working but after a while (I’m not sure how long) it stops working. Do you have any ideas how I can resolve this problem.


Jul 16, 2009 - 09:07:19

I have not heard of a problem exactly like yours. The battery pull is definitely a “quick fix” for a large number of problems, but in your case it obviously only provides temporary relief. More information might help me figure it out. Can you tell me more about what happens when SMS fails? Any error messages? Is there anything else unusual going on with your Storm? Have you installed any applications that possibly could be causing a problem? For example, a “bad” app can slowly fill up all your Storm’s available memory (this is referred to as a memory “leak”), and that would eventually cause one of a number of problems. A battery pull always clears out and frees up memory, so that would temporarily fix the problem. But it would come back as long as the bad app is allowed to run. So, think about whether you’ve installed an app that could be causing the problem. It is remotely possible, I suppose, that a bad theme could cause a problem, too. So, if you installed a theme recently, you might want to try changing back to the original theme and see what happens.

Please return and let me know what you can.

Lisa Kimball says:
Jul 30, 2009 - 06:07:43

Oh my gosh! I had been going crazy trying to figure out why my email had gone awry. I tried several things but nothing seemed to work. Finally, I tried the reboot and voila! I’m back in business! So much to learn… Now I know why people look so stressed with a blackberry. : )

You are the best!


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