Hack 31. Get Mail from Multiple Accounts

Why use your unlimited data plan for only one email account?

So you've just got your BlackBerry up and working and you've instantly fallen in love with it. You are excited about how much more productive you can be with it just by having access to your email while not sitting behind your desk. You'd really like to have the same functionality for your personal email account in addition to your corporate email, which you've configured your device for. You can always check your personal account via the BlackBerry Browser, but that interface is clunky and not nearly as usable as the built-in mail program.

You're so happy with your current device that you've even considered getting a second device so you can access your secondary email account. Well, don't go spending any money on another device just yet.

Many BlackBerry users don't realize that their device is able to send and receive messages from multiple mail accounts. There are multiple ways to have mail delivered to your BlackBerry without installing a third-party mail program [Hack #67] and without buying an additional device and service.

2.11.1. Use the BlackBerry Web Client

If you are a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) user, you may not realize the extent of your device's usefulness. Fairly recently, RIM introduced the BlackBerry Web Client, or BWC, which allows you to send and receive email from accounts you configure without running any software on your computer (such as the BlackBerry Redirector). If you already use the BlackBerry Web Client for email, did you know you can access up to 10 email accounts with it?

Although the service runs on RIM's infrastructure, to access the BlackBerry Web Client, you will need to go through your wireless provider's web site. Table 2-2 shows each provider's portal to the BWC, each with the provider's brand and logo weaved into the site.

Table 2-2. Major U.S. providers and their BWC addresses











Telus Mobility




Once you create a BWC account, you can add your email accounts to the service. You can configure up to 10 accounts, but when you send from your account using the BWC, you'll only be able to use a single From address. You can, however, have different Reply-To addresses that you can choose from on a per message basis. Figure 2-27 shows the interface for adding email accounts to the BWC.

Figure 2-27. Adding accounts to the BWC

2.11.2. Forward Mail to Your BES Account

If your company has restricted access to the BWC using IT policies [Hack #99], you can always simply forward messages to your BlackBerry Enterprise Server account. There are a variety of ways to set up your personal account to automatically forward mail to the email address that your BES is configured to use.

.forward file

On most Unix-based mail servers, you can set up a .forward file in your home directory to forward all mail to a specified address. Use your favorite text editor to edit the .forward file and add the address to which you'd like to forward your mail as a single line in the file. After saving the file, your mail server will forward any incoming mail from that moment forward to the address you specify.


Some Unix-based mail servers give you access to procmail, a nifty utility for doing complex processing of email messages. When configured, procmail runs a set of rules (or recipes as they are commonly called) on each message that arrives. There are countless ways you can process your email with procmail you can run your messages through a spam or virus checker, check for the size of a message, indicate whether it has attachments, add custom headers, etc. You can set up complex recipes that forward mail to your BES only when certain specific conditions apply (for example, when an email has been sent directly to you and not through a mailing list or a CC). For more information, see the procmail, procmailrc, and procmailex manpages.


Sieve is a popular server-side filtering language similar to procmail that is included in the Cyrus IMAP server. It allows users to create rich filters for email that live on the IMAP server. Some email clients allowusers to directly manipulate these rules as well, making it very elegant. For more information on sieve, see RFC 3028 (ftp://ftp.rfc-editor.org/in-notes/rfc3028.txt).

Rules Wizard

If your account is hosted on a Microsoft Exchange Server and you use MAPI to access it, you can use the Rules Wizard within Outlook to set up server-based rules. Although not nearly as flexible as procmail, you can set up similar criteria to forward email based on different properties of the message.

Other ways to forward

There may be other ways to forward mail from your account. For example, Google's Gmail service lets you set up rules via the web interface to selectively forward messages to your BES account (see Figure 2-28). Of course, with Gmail there are a variety ways to check your mail with your BlackBerry [Hack #29].

Figure 2-28. Setting up forwarding in Gmail

2.11.3. BlackBerry Desktop Redirector

The BlackBerry Desktop Redirector is software that runs on your computer that acts as your own personal BlackBerry Enterprise Server. You configure it to point to a specific MAPI profile, and it will check that profile and forward mail to your BlackBerry from that account. If you can configure an email account with Outlook, then you can have the Desktop Redirector use it.

Although at first this seems like a useful alternative, there are a few reasons this is probably the least attractive option. First, the Desktop Redirector runs on your personal computer, so your computer will have to stay on and logged in all the time for email delivery to occur. This may or may not be an option. In addition, your personal Internet connection is probably far less reliable than the BlackBerry Web Client that is fully supported and monitored and has redundancy built in. Also, a BlackBerry Enterprise Server that is run by a corporation likely has redundant network links, service monitoring, and fault alerting integrated into the service. Third, if you attempt to run the Desktop Redirector on a computer on your intranet, you may not be able to make the required TCP connection to RIM's SRP network on port 3108. On secure networks with firewalls, this connection is likely not allowed by default, and you'll have to convince the firewall administrators to allow it a task that is usually easier said than done in most companies.

All these methods can be used simultaneously (assuming none are specifically restricted by your company), so you can pick and choose which methods are best for you.

BlackBerry Hacks
Blackberry Hacks: Tips & Tools for Your Mobile Office
ISBN: 0596101155
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 164
Authors: Dave Mabe

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