A closer look at BlackBerry Protect

BlackBerry Protect
By Joseph Holder on 31 May 2011 10:14 am EDT

We've discussed BlackBerry Protect quite a few times here on the blogs. It's a free service available from Research In Motion for its BIS customers. Generally if you purchase your phone from a carrier, you're on a BIS. BlackBerry Protect allows you find your phone when it's missing and destroy your data should all become lost.

But what actually happens when your smartphone goes missing? If you're a BB Protect user (and if you're not, did I mention that this is all free?), you've probably played around with the lesser features of the service. I, for one, use the Loud Ring function quite often. I'm not so good at keeping up with my phone; BlackBerry Protect is. Locking the phone; sending it a message; and locating your BlackBerry on a map using its GPS coordinates is fun, if not a little creepy. But what about that last feature, Wipe Device? 

This is why you come to CrackBerry.com: to learn from our bonehead entirely-understandable-considering-the-circumstances mistakes. To begin, BlackBerry Protect doesn't back up everything. The app is very up-front and clear about what it can back up remotely; future versions of the app will recover more data, but it's still less data than you'd get with a Desktop Software backup. Second, a security wipe from BlackBerry Protect destroys everything except the OS. I've done a few security wipes in my time, so I have only myself to blame.

A security wipe removes all data 

I knew that the wipe would delete my emails, remove all of my installed apps, and destroy any personal information on my phone. But I should have paid more attention to that last bit. You see, my 4 and 16 GB memory cards are included in "personal information."

Before the wipe, I had carefully gone though all of my third-party apps, saving to the memory card any and all settings that I could. After the wipe, I was left with nearly 20 GB of blank space; my pictures, movies, and music were gone. In a word, "D'oh!" 

In addition, BlackBerry Protect only grabs a small portion of the data on the phone when doing an OTA backup. You'll get contacts, calendars, and tasks back, but not much else. Sure, if that's all you can get, that's great; it's better than nothing. This just goes to show that BlackBerry Protect is not a substitute for regular backups using BlackBerry Desktop Software.

So please, let this be a warning. BlackBerry Protect is an exceptional free product, but don't let that lull you into a false sense of security. Keep regular backups using BlackBerry Desktop Software, and don't play around with that Wipe Device option. When they say, "Wipe Device," they really do mean it.

Reader comments

A closer look at BlackBerry Protect


what can I say, you are not the first and certainly not the last to delete info. yet we still complain when our laptop does one or two are you sure messages when we try to delete some thing

I for 1 luv bb protect, it just works, does exactly what it says it'd do. I only have one issue with it; if my bb is lost or stolen the "find on map" function only locates it to within 3000km.... like seriously!? thats like trying to find a needle in haystack.

Other than that its all good. Would love a few more backup options but i'll wait for future versions

Good to know what the wipe actually does. It makes sense that it wipes the memory cards since if you have truly lost your phone, you don't want *anything* left on it that is personal, and that includes any memory cards that are in it.

Use with caution...


That's the feature I love the most. I don't want whoever finds my phone going through my pictures and I sure as hell don't want them seeing my videos. Thank you RIM for an amazing app

Are you aware of a release date for the Blackberry Curve 8350i? I've seen the app on BB app world but my phone isn't listed in the compatible devices and I'd really like to get this.


I looked at Blackberry Protect, when it first came out and like it. The added features make it even better. But I've been using Lookout since it was Flexilis. Which also works well. Admittedly, you need a paid premium account for some of the features that are yet to come in Blackberry Protect. But there's one HUGE feature that Blackberry Protect lacks. Lookout is multiplatform. (Android & WinMo, besides Blackberry, working on WP7 last time I heard). My Torch is my very 1st BB after several flavors of WM. As much as I love my Torch, I still have to keep in mind that I visited the local AT&T warranty replacement center twice in 3 days, getting a new phone each time. Sufficiently impressive in the wrong way that, as much as I'm thinking of a Torch 2 for my next phone, if something other than a BB was really compelling, I might switch away from BB. With Lookout & the possibilities of what I might switch to, I probably wouldn't lose any backed up data.

I've just tried BB protect and it found me within 6.97 m which is 22.87 ft. I find that it works very well.
Use with caution on the wipe.

I like the Protect features, did not know about the media cards though. Well, in fact, when you loose your device, better not having anyone access to any of your files.

I love the picture!! It rocks!!!

I am so grateful for this app. This is one app that BB users need - thank you RIM, and thank you CB for posting this useful info because there are still a lot of BB users who don't know about it ;)

Can someone explain why this app is not available to BES customers? Maybe I should ask RIM directly. So frustrating sometimes to be a BES customer. :-(

My understanding (I'm not BES) is that quite a few features of BB Protect is available to the BES Administrator.

All these features and more even are at the BES admin disposal.

I wish BIS would get all the BES features!

I've talked to a couple of people in the BES world, but neither of them have actually checked to see if someone could.  So this may be available to certain BES customers, depending on their admin's approval. Secondly, BB Protect backs up 6 items wirelessly. A BES wireless backup handles seventy-six databases.

may I know how does it actually wipe? A simple wipe is still recoverable with the right software. Just like a simple format on our PC

So I had protect installed and working fine. Then one day it says 'service temporarily unavailable'.
After a couple days - same error. I reinstalled. Same error. Reinstalled third time - same error.
When I go to the website to track phone - I get to log into my account but it won't let me do anything. No features will work.
I've deleted it until I hear a fix to this bs problem. RIM sent me an email to just reinstall - yeah that obviously didn't work. On my bold 9700 os 6.
Any thoughts.

I wonder will they bring this to the playbook, just like how the ipad has mobileme, it would be nice to be able to find your playbook using your blackberry and vice versa

I think blackberry protect is getting a little out of hand theres apps in the app store that do the same job but better and you dont have to be 300km to the phone to find it seesh really? come on gemme a break a mile would have been better but you get what you pay for thats why i lock all my old blackberries in a safe "I know one day they will be worth a lot of money"

Well worth installing.

Just like Apple's Time Machine, BlackBerry Protect isn't a perfect backup app but it's *better than nothing*. You won't fully appreciate it until you need to restore after your phone is lost, stolen or you stuff up!

I've noticed BB Protect won't work if you have encryption enabled on your device... Is that a worthwhile trade off?? The app itself seems to be very useful, I'm just not sure if it's worth losing the encryption option over. Any help would be great!!!!!


If your phone gets stolen, and the person who has it switches it off, takes the sim out, or uses another sim in it with no BIS, can this application still locate the phone or do anything else it's supposed to do? And if it requires a wireless signal, then does it mean that when you call your network provider to get your number suspended, then the application wont also work?

If so, then I guess it's just helpful if you misplace the phone but not so much if someone takes it. Anyone?

My device torch 9800 is lost... I've blackberry protect app installed in my device... I am trying to lock my device through www.blackberry.com/protect but it's only showing results as pending,, does blackberry protect app works only on blackberry or also supports DIRECT TCP/IP? can anyone delete blackberry protect app from device? will blackberry can still be tracked using my blackberry.com/protect/mydevice site even after the blackberry protect app is deleted form my lost Blackberry Torch 9800? please email me reply at brotherpemba@hotmail.com