BlackBerry Z10 tips, tricks and shortcuts

CIO.com's Al Sacco shares a handful of valuable BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry 10 tips including how to capture a screen shot, how to instantly launch voice control and more.

The first BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the BlackBerry Z10, is currently available in select markets across the globe, and it's expected to be released in most of the major mobile markets, including the United States, by the end of March.

I've had my BlackBerry Z10 smartphone for more than two weeks now, and I've spent a lot of time putting the device through the paces and picking through the new BlackBerry 10 mobile OS. (Read my in-depth review for specifics on the Z10.)

Like BlackBerry devices of the past, the new BlackBerry Z10 and its accompanying BlackBerry 10 software pack a number of valuable features, functionality and shortcuts that may not be apparent to the casual user. That's where I come in. Check out the following must-know BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry 10 tips and tricks to get the most out of your new BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

1. Use BlackBerry 10's built-in screen shot feature

Capturing a screen shot on a BlackBerry 10 device is simple. Just hold both the volume up and volume down keys simultaneously for a couple of seconds until you hear a shutter sound. Screen shots are saved to your BlackBerry 10 camera gallery.

2. Use the volume up/down keys as media controls

You can use your BlackBerry 10 device's volume up and volume down keys to skip through songs in your music library. To enable this feature, open your BlackBerry 10 Settings by dragging down from the top of your display while on your Active Frames screen or a home screen panel. Choose Settings from the dropdown menu and click System Volume. On the following page, slide the Music Shortcuts button to the On position.

3. Use the volume up/down keys with the BlackBerry 10 camera

You simply tap your BlackBerry Z10's display with the camera or video camera open to snap an image or start recording a video clip. But it's sometimes easier to use the volume keys. Just tap the volume up or volume down key with the camera open to snap an image. And you can also use these keys to start and stop video capture when your camera's video mode is enabled.

4. Instantly launch Voice Control

The BlackBerry Z10 can initiate lots of different actions based on voice commands thanks to its Voice Control app. And you can instantly launch Voice Control by holding your device's mute key for a couple of seconds.

5. Launch the camera from lock screen

BlackBerry 10 lets you quickly launch your camera application from its lock screen, a feature that can be valuable when you want to take spur-of-the-moment shots. A camera icon appears in the bottom-right corner of the locked display screen, and you can hold it for a couple of seconds to launch the camera app.

6. Access advanced BlackBerry Hub inbox controls

The BlackBerry Hub is the central inbox for all of you various BlackBerry 10 application notifications and messages. You can access basic Hub controls by clicking the Menu key at the bottom right of your Hub screen. (The Menu key looks like three dots stacked on top of each other.) But you can also access some advanced BlackBerry Hub controls from the date bars that appear in the inbox stream at the start of each new day.

Just hold a finger on a date bar to bring up controls that let you skip to the start of the past day, skip to the start of the next day, jump to the top of the BlackBerry Hub, jump to the bottom of your BlackBerry Hub or mark all prior messages as read.

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