Invoked when the garbage collector has detected that this instance is no longer reachable. The default implementation does nothing, but this method can be overridden to free resources.
Note that objects that override finalize are significantly more expensive than objects that don't. Finalizers may be run a long time after the object is no longer reachable, depending on memory pressure, so it's a bad idea to rely on them for cleanup. Note also that finalizers are run on a single VM-wide finalizer thread, so doing blocking work in a finalizer is a bad idea. A finalizer is usually only necessary for a class that has a native peer and needs to call a native method to destroy that peer. Even then, it's better to provide an explicit close method (and implement ), and insist that callers manually dispose of instances. This works well for something like files, but less well for something like a BigInteger where typical calling code would have to deal with lots of temporaries. Unfortunately, code that creates lots of temporaries is the worst kind of code from the point of view of the single finalizer thread.
If you must use finalizers, consider at least providing your own and having your own thread process that queue.
Unlike constructors, finalizers are not automatically chained. You are responsible for calling super.finalize yourself.
Uncaught exceptions thrown by finalizers are ignored and do not terminate the finalizer thread. See Effective Java Item 7, "Avoid finalizers" for more.