BlackBerry 101: How To Clear Your Address Book Database

BlackBerry 101: How To Clear Your Address Book Database
By Bla1ze on 15 Jan 2010 10:17 am EST

With a title like that I'm sure some of you out there are asking why would I want to clear my address book? Well, let's face it even though BlackBerry does a good job of contacts synchronization through Outlook and various other methods, unless you are on a BES it has a tendency to wreak havoc on occassion.

Duplicate entries, missing email addresses or just general chaos can happen. This is a quick and easy guide to show you how to remove your whole contact database without removing wanted items such as calendar entries or needing to wipe your whole OS. 

Desktop Manager

*NOTE* -Before doing this you will want to have a back up address book resource available. Be it Outlook, Google Sync or MiQ. Whatever method you choose, you'll want it to be a corrected database and NOT a copy of the one you are removing. Reloading the one you are wiping will not solve any problems.

For this, we're gonna need desktop manager available for use. But, before desktop manager you are gonna want to disable anything that may be using "Wireless Synchronization" on your BlackBerry, since this is BlackBerry 101 is targetted at BIS users you may have GMail doing your contact sync. If that is indeed the case go to your set up folder and adjust your email setting to temporarily disable the synching. If you had set this up, then it will be easy to find to disable as well as it does not default to an enabled status.

Next, you'll wanna open BlackBerry Desktop manager, plug your BlackBerry in and go to "Back Up and Restore". Once inside go to "Advanced", you'll then see desktop manager accessing your device and loading all of the databases associated with it.

Desktop Manager Databases

Now that your databases are loaded as seen on the right hand side, you can then select your "Address book-All" item listing and go to the bottom and click on "Clear". It will do clearing of your database at which point when completed you will no longer have any address book entries.

Having cleared your address book, you can now start the process of reloading it by however method you choose. ie: Outlook, Google Sync, MiQ etc. When completed, you should have a nicely organized address book with all your contacts in place and corrected entries. Assuming you did not reloadabackup of what you just removed but instead loaded a corrected version.

Reader comments

BlackBerry 101: How To Clear Your Address Book Database


but i was wondering can we get a "101" on how to delete all the added crap that comes on Blackberry's from the carriers.. for example; all the trial games, on Tmo "my account", myspace, etc.


depending what type of stuff you are talking about, some of it is carrier pushed service books that you cant change. They are just icons, like all the messaging clients (aim, msn, etc) also facebook, myspace, slacker are also apps that are just pushed, they take no space from your memory they are just icons. You can add them all to one folder that you dont use, or you can also just hide the icon if yuo wish to not see it.


thanks... for the answer. I always thought that it took up space. I have them hidden, but im always looking for a reason for my memory leaks and just blamed them crappy add-on's. but i guess its not them.

thanks again.

I was looking for a way to do this just "Yesterday" for the reasons you mention. My work BB was just way to bloated with addresses and many many "many" duplicates.

Now my phone feels "lighter".

Thanks again for the 101's. Often theres a dozen ways to skin a cat, and knowing the suggested method can give us peace of mind.

I use a program called Ant-dupe for MS Outlook.
It runs on a pc and it deletes duplicate contacts, calendar entries, tasks, etc.

Well worth it.....

there is a website called I think that has all outlook tips and tricks for this stuff too.

I agree about above comments.

Also, many forget about when backing up, it doesn't back up 3rd party apps.

T-Mobile SIM card contacts always pop up even after I reload my contacts. Is there a way to delete the SIM card contacts since I have my contacts backed up in other places (with formatting)?

Also (this may be asking too much), I'm running 5.0 and I love it. It also seems to support contacts synchronization with T-Mobile unlike the old OS. Is everyone having problems with the sync failing while in progress?

Go to your address book.
Bring up the "menu" and select options.
Launch the keyboard (On the Storm)
Type 'rest'
Then decide if you want to accept the prompt.
Thanks to one of my interns for point that out. Although this does not work on my 8830.

Just yesterday I posted a "help" post to do the very same thing to my calendar!! Figured it would work with address book too. Thanks!!!

... or if you don't have a PC available.

Go to > Contacts > Menu > Options > aA + RSET (hold Caps Key, while holding - type R S E T)

Accept Prompt (This will erase your contact list.... continue?)

The same can be done for your Calendar.

Also, if you have issues with your Address Book try this:

Contacts > ALT + RBLD (it rebuilds/reorganizes your contacts)

Thiis works yes...but if you have errors in the contacts, they do not get corrected often times it just replaces the ones with errors back on the device.

GREAT 101! And the savy among us also realize we can use the advanced menu in DM to clear (or restore) any database on our device. :) It's a very handy tool. :)

Yes it is. Works for those errors whenn DM doesnt want to back up because of browser cache. Drove me crazy til I figured that one out.

After loading the "redbrick" theme I somehow lost all of my contacts. I went to contacts and it asked me if i wanted to load contacts from media card. I said yes and it loaded two contacts and the rest were gone. I have a recent system backup but not sure what to reload to just get the contacts back. Help please....

I have the same problem, does anyone know how to reload just the contacts from a recent backup that I have on my computer?

I have duplicates on my device but not on my desktop Outlook. I guess my policy will not let me clear the address book data base because i cant highlight it with DM. :(

You can do that on BES too.
First go to the address Book of your device, choose Menu -> option then choose your BES Contact list ( i assume it will be Desktop if your are on BES ), select NO for Wireless Synchronization and Save.

After that just pulg-in your device to the desktop Manager and follow the Blackberry 101 instructions above.

Don't forget to switch back the Wireless Synchronization back to YES after you are done and it will re-populate your device address book with the one from Desktop Outlook.

Hope it helps

Please note, that once you've started to sync your contacts with Gmail, if you ever stop (because it just never syncs properly), your address book's name will be "Unknown".
It's because a backup made with this method keeps a reference to the email account used to sync contacts with.

Does anybody know of a way to transfer all contacts stored in phone memory to the sim card without doing it one at a time?

I have recently used the same technique described above to remove duplicate calendar entries. In the Backup and Restore manager all one needs to do is select Calendar and Calendar All. Delete these 2 files then reimport the calendar from where ever you have an uncorrupted set of data.

As with anytime you work with the device databases make sure to make a backup of your BB before doing this so you can always restore your device if this process doesn't work out as planned.

To answer how to best clean up your address book and remove the duplicates, you can purchase an app and just hit the run function. It will automatically merge your duplicates wtihin your Blackberry address book. It's called Contacts Cleaner.

Our company actually just bought several licenses since we need to address everyone that has a Blackberry and their address books are over-sized.

This does not work for me. In the device database window the address book and the address book all are greyed out. i can not highlight either to clear. Please advise

I have tried this but I still end up with a contact that I cannot open or delete.

It says "There was an error in deleting the data.
There was a problem with the device communicating during deletion. Verify that the device is turned on and connected."

Needless to say that it is both.

Thank you thank you thank you! I have been needing to do this for over a year but all of the tips/instructions Ive read in the past did not work. Ive had some contacts duplicate over 100 times and could not deal with manually deleting them one at a time. This worked perfectly. Thanks again!

I have tried going to contacts, then options to type rset. It doesn't bring me to a screen where I can type it in unless I am missing something. I am new to the blackberry phone so I am not as familiar to screens as some of you are.

I can copy the contacts from my SIM card to the phone but there are about 100 blank lines that I have to scroll through before I get to my first contact. I have tried to delete them and it will only ask for information to add a new contact.

Please help.

Thank you so much. My Blackberry (Bold 9700) has been replicating my contacts and had over 4000 entries for the same contacts. The Blackberry desktop manager updated so instead of going through Backup and Restore, mine was listed under Delete Data. Saved me hours of having to individually delete duplicated contacts.

THre is a more elegant solutions!

This is caused when someone moves or re-adds a BB user to the BES without wiping their Blackberry before reactivating. This will create a new contact list each time. To remove it, go to Contacts and click Options. Then type rset, it will pop up with a screen asking if you want to wipe the contacts, select yes through all windows. You can then wirelessly sync or use desktop manager to repopulate contacts.

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Credit to: christymj23