BlackBerry backup files created on a computer running the Windows operating system were given the file extension .IPD (Inter@ctive Pager Backup); whereas those created on Apple OS were given the .BBB file extension.
In early 2012, BlackBerry creators 'Research In Motion' (RIM) decided to give all BlackBerry backup files (regardless of the operating system) the .BBB file extension thus making the .IPD backup obsolete.
These backup files stored a copy of the personal data (address book/contacts, SMS messages, emails, calendar etc) from a BlackBerry device (phone or playbook). Depending on the options chosen when creating the backup, an IPD file may also contain device configuration settings.
The sole-purpose of an IPD file was to store a backup of a BlackBerry's data and should the need arise; restore the data to the original or identical device.
How to Open an IPD file
The only reliable way to read the personal data in a BlackBerry backup is with phoneMiner, which will allow you to view your contacts (address book), SMS messages, Emails and calendar databases.
phoneMiner will also allow you export your data to other formats, such as Microsoft Excel, VCF (vCard) or XML.
How to Create an IPD file
IPD files were both created and used by 'BlackBerry Desktop Software', a software application bundled with each device or downloaded from RIM's website.
Once installed, a backup could be created by firstly connecting your BlackBerry to your computer (using a standard USB cable) and selecting the backup option in the Desktop Manager menu. You were then given the choice to create either a full or partial backup.
A full-backup would backup all your personal data and the device's configuration settings. The partial-backup option would allow you to specify which databases were to be backed up (E.g. 'Address book' only).
Finally, you were given the option to password-protect the backup, doing so would encrypt your backup using a 256-bit AES encryption algorithm. Anyone trying to access your password-protected backup would need to provide the password specified when it was first created.