Attach Your BlackBerry PlayBook to PC or Mac - dummies

Attach Your BlackBerry PlayBook to PC or Mac

By Corey Sandler

With all the BlackBerry PlayBook’s wireless capabilities, it is still necessary (and sometimes easier) to connect to a personal or laptop computer with a wire (so you can transfer and synchronize certain files). When a BlackBerry PlayBook is attached to a personal computer it essentially is treated as if it were an external hard drive.

You can copy files to or from it, and a special BlackBerry software program can synchronize files so that both devices hold the same copy of the latest versions of those files.

The tablet comes with its very own cable, with a Micro-USB connector at the end that attaches to the PlayBook (the same port used by the battery charger), and a full-size USB connector that plugs into a port on any current PC or Mac computer.

Install BlackBerry Desktop Manager on a PC

The setup for the two types of computer is slightly different, but once the proper instructions are made, they are essentially the same in operation.

To share files between a Windows-based PC and the BlackBerry PlayBook, the best practice is to install (on the PC) a copy of the BlackBerry Desktop Manager program; that software is offered free by Research in Motion.

  1. Turn on your BlackBerry PlayBook and connect it to a powered-on computer using the supplied USB cable.

    The PlayBook informs you that it’s installing drivers on the PC.

  2. On the PC, double-click the BlackBerry PlayBook CD drive icon.

  3. Open the Drivers folder and double-click Setup.exe.

    The installation program runs.

  4. Indicate your geographical region and accept the license agreement.

  5. Click Install.

  6. When the PC asks, disconnect the BlackBerry PlayBook and then reconnect it.

The alternate method to installing BlackBerry Desktop Manager on your PC is to use a browser on that computer to visit and initiate a download from that website.

File share with a Windows PC via USB connection

With BlackBerry Desktop Manager installed, anytime you connect your BlackBerry PlayBook to the PC, it is treated as an external connected hard drive. In the notification area of the computer’s screen you will see a message that the PlayBook is being installed as a drive, and you will see its drive letter.

You will also see a notice on your BlackBerry PlayBook that it is connected to a computer. Tap Dismiss to clear the notice and use the BlackBerry Desktop Manager features.


  1. Go to Windows Explorer on your PC.

    (One route is to click My PC.) When you get there, you’ll see a drive identified as PlayBook [PIN: 500xxxxxx].

  2. Double-click the network drive icon to access the PlayBook folders.

  3. Open any of the folders to see their contents.

    You can also open a second folder on your PC using Windows Explorer and navigate to any location on your computer.

  4. Drag and drop files in either direction — to or from the PlayBook.

    You can also highlight a file, right-click to copy it, and then click in another folder and right-click to paste it there.

Install BlackBerry Desktop Manager on a Mac

Begin by installing the Mac version of BlackBerry Desktop Manager on the Apple computer. Here’s how to install BlackBerry Desktop Manager on a Mac:

  1. Turn on your BlackBerry PlayBook and connect it to a powered-on Mac computer using the supplied USB cable.

  2. On the desktop or within Finder, double-click BlackBerry PlayBook CD.

  3. Double-click the BlackBerry Desktop Manager Installer.

    The installation starts.

  4. Accept the License Agreement and click Continue Installation.

    When the installation is completed, you’re prompted to reboot your Mac. Stop! Follow Step 5 first!

  5. Remove your BlackBerry PlayBook from the USB port.

  6. Now reboot your Mac.

  7. After the reboot is complete, reattach a powered-on PlayBook.

    You may see a message on the Mac announcing that a new network interface has been detected; if you do, click Network Preferences and click Apply. If not, you can proceed.

    After the PlayBook has been set up in Network Preferences, the tablet share appears on the desktop whenever the PlayBook is connected to the computer.

  8. Click the Playbook icon on the desktop.

    The PlayBook share appears.

  9. Move files between the computer and the PlayBook.