FAQ: Clear Up The Confusion About BlackBerry Memory Cleaner

MemorycleanerI have been fielding quite a few comments about the BlackBerry Memory Cleaner that we mentioned earlier. First of all this feature has been around for awhile but is only turned on in certain circumstances. Second of all this is something that you BlackBerry does anyways at certain times.

What you should know is that the option is only available if you enable content protection. Also the memory cleaner is run automatically when you sync, lock the device, and other situations. It more or less just clears the cache and does garbage collection. If you really wish to understand what it does and how to enable it read the rest of this post.

What the memory cleaner does from the RIM knowledgebase:


Your handheld’s memory can contain sensitive information such as passwords, email message bodies, and private keys. To eliminate the risk of that information being compromised, BlackBerry supports a feature called Memory Cleaner. The Memory Cleaner has two main functions:

  1. Secure Garbage Collection
  2. Clearing Caches

Secure Garbage Collection

All Java objects are stored on the handheld in RAM or flash memory. Normally, when a Java object is no longer needed, the memory assigned to that object is released to be overwritten by new data. When Memory Cleaner is enabled, the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) overwrites the memory using zeroes before it is released. As a result, there is no way to retrieve the data from the memory chips.

Clearing Caches

Memory Cleaner clears various caches on the handheld including the temporary key store, content protection caches, address book caches, and the handheld clipboard. See the Additional Information section below for the complete list of cleared caches.

When it actually works:


Memory Cleaner is installed and enabled with the installation of the S/MIME Support Package. Memory Cleaner is installed with BlackBerry Handheld Software version 4.0, but is not enabled until Content Protection is enabled.

Automatic Activation

Memory Cleaner is activated automatically when:

  1. The handheld is synchronized with the desktop.
  2. The user locks the handheld.
  3. The handheld locks after a specified amount of idle time.
  4. The user changes the time or time zone.

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