Learning how to clear your cache can fix many of your tech-related woes, from a slow device to webpage loading issues. We've got the steps.
Whether you’re a tech whiz or a newbie, you’ve probably wondered at some point: What is a cache, exactly, and why would you want to clear it? If you don’t already know how to clear your cache, you’re not alone—and you’ve come to the right place for answers.
To put it simply, a cache is where all the information from the websites you have visited is stored. This saved data can boost load times and provide quick access to your favorite sites. However, going too long without clearing it can lead to problems over time and might explain why your phone is so slow.
Still confused? Fear not. We’ve created an all-encompassing guide for clearing your cache, including what it is, why and how often you should clear it and what happens when you do. We can also help you understand other tech basics, includingwhat are cookies and how to clear cookies from your phone. Once you’re up to speed, you should also know the times you should never accept cookies to avoid falling victim to predatory data brokers.
What is a browser cache?
Found on every web browser, a cache is a temporary storage space for information from the websites you have visited recently. Here’s how it works: Every time you go to a website through a browser on your computer, phone or other device, the browser will save the site’s data (such as text, images, audio, video and other displays) in its cache. Storing this information allows your browser to load the same webpage faster when you visit it again in the future.
“As you can imagine, before high-speed internet was common, browser caches saved a lot of time, especially with things like images,” says Alex Hamerstone, an advisory solutions director at cybersecurity firm TrustedSec. “Even today, with high-speed internet, caching still makes pages load much more quickly.”
What’s the difference between a cache and cookies?
The terms cache and cookies are often mentioned together, but they are actually two different things—a cache is about the site, cookies are about the user. “A cache has the content of the website you visit, [while] cookies store information about your identity, preferences, login information and similar data about you,” says Jeremy Snyder, founder and CEO of FireTail, a computer and network security company.
With cookies, websites can remember data, such as an individual user’s login info, which allows the user to log in to the site without re-entering their credentials each time. The bad news? Cookies also allow websites to track users’ browsing habits and preferences, which they can use for targeted advertising.
“A lot of the things that happen as you browse the web that people attribute to their devices ‘listening to them’ are really from cookies following them around as they browse,” Hamerstone says. For example, “when you search for an item on a website and then see ads for that item on different websites, that is usually cookies at work.”
If you’re concerned about Google tracking you, you can use Google incognito mode to beef up your online security when browsing the web.
Why should you clear your cache?
While your cache can boost your web browsing, it has one major downside: It can also stall your device if it gets too full. As you surf the internet, the cache fills up with more and more saved information, hogging precious storage space on your device and causing your device and browser to run more slowly.
Forgetting to clear your cache can also leave you vulnerable to online attackers who could plant malware in cached content, according to Snyder. Hamerstone notes that having issues with loading webpages might be a sign you need to clear your cache too.
Just keep in mind that while clearing your cache has benefits, you may not be able to access your favorite sites as quickly, Hamerstone says. So before clearing your cache, consider snoozing your browser tab or deleting apps first and see if that can solve your issue, instead.
What happens when you clear the cache?
When you clear your browser’s cache, you will remove all locally stored information about the webpages you’ve visited, including images, files and more. This can resolve any loading issues you may be experiencing and free up storage space on your device for other content.
That said, clearing the cache will require the browser to download some data again the next time you visit a site, which can slow down your browsing experience for a brief time, according to Hamerstone and Snyder. Certain settings could get deleted too, so you might need to sign in on some websites again.
How often should you clear your cache?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for how often you should clear your cache. Instead, the optimum frequency will depend on your preferences and personal habits, experts say. Hamerstone recommends clearing your cache any time you have a reason to, such as troubleshooting page-loading issues, clearing space on your device or deleting your digital footprint.
Snyder believes that clearing your cache should be “part of a regular device-maintenance plan, along with common tasks like rebooting your device and running a backup.” Users with shared devices should clear their caches at least daily, while users with personal devices should be safe with a monthly clearing, Snyder says.
How to clear your cache
Now that you know the importance of cache-clearing, you’ll hopefully feel more motivated to learn how. Follow these step-by-step instructions for how to clear your cache in several popular browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge.
How to clear your cache in Chrome
On a desktop
- Open the Chrome browser.
- Click the three-dot “More” icon on the right side of the browser.
- Go to More tools > Clear browsing data.
- Select a time range, or choose “All time” to delete everything.
- Check the box next to “Cached images and files.”
- Click “Clear data.”
On a smartphone
- Open the Chrome app, and tap the three-dot “More” icon.
- Go to History > Clear browsing data.
- If you have an Android, select a time range, or choose “All time” to delete everything.
- Check the box next to “Cached images and files.”
- Tap “Clear browsing data.”
How to clear your cache in Firefox
On a desktop
- Open the Firefox browser.
- On a Mac, go to the Menu bar at the top of the screen. Go to Firefox > Preferences. On a PC, click the three-bar “Menu” button and select “Settings.”
- Click “Privacy & Security.”
- Under Cookies and Site Data, click the “Clear Data…” button.
- Check the box next to “Cached Web Content.”
- Click “Clear.”
On a smartphone
- Open the Firefox app and tap the three-bar “Menu” icon.
- Go to Settings > Data Management.
- Toggle the slider next to “Cache” to the “on” position.
- Tap “Clear Private Data” > “OK.”
How to clear your cache in Safari
On a Mac
- Open the Safari browser.
- Go to History > Clear History.
- Choose how far back you want your browsing history cleared.
- Click the “Clear History” button.
On a PC
- Open the Safari browser.
- Click on the “Settings” icon in the top right corner.
- Click “Reset Safari.”
- Select the items you wish to clear.
- Click “Reset.”
On an iPhone or iPad
- Go to Settings > Safari.
- Scroll down and select “Clear History and Website Data.”
- Tap “Clear History and Data.”
How to clear your cache in Microsoft Edge
via Microsoft Edge
- In Microsoft Edge, go to Settings and more > Settings > Privacy, search, and services.
- Select “Clear browsing data” > “Clear browsing data now.”
- Select “Choose what to clear.”
- Choose a time range from the dropdown menu and the types of browsing data you want to clear.
- Select “Clear now.”
- Alex Hamerstone, advisory solutions director at TrustedSec
- Jeremy Snyder, founder and CEO of FireTail
- Google Support: “Clear Cache & Cookies”
- Mozilla Support: “How to clear the Firefox cache”
- Apple Support: “Clear your browsing history in Safari on Mac”
- Microsoft Support: “View and delete browser history in Microsoft Edge”
What is a cache and why should I clear it? ›
It's content from a website that is stored on your phone during a browser session to help the browser perform faster the next time you visit that page. Cache data can slow down your phone's browsing performance since it takes up storage space in your device, so it's good to clear it out regularly.How do you clear your good cache? ›
- Open Settings and select Storage.
- In the resulting list, tap the Apps entry (Other Apps on Android 11 and earlier). ...
- Choose the app whose cache you want to clear. ...
- On the app's info page, tap the Clear Cache option.
You can also try clearing the cache of the BeReal app. Doing so will not log you out of the app. It will only remove temporary files that will help in fixing problems with the app. BeReal app offers a native method to clear its cache on both Android and iPhone.
Your Snapchat cache holds data to help the app run faster. You can clear the cache if you need to free up storage space on your device, or troubleshoot some issues. Clearing your cache won't delete any of your Memories, Snaps, or Chats 👍 To clear your cache… Tap ⚙️ in My Profile to open Settings.What is the main purpose of the cache? ›
The data in a cache is generally stored in fast access hardware such as RAM (Random-access memory) and may also be used in correlation with a software component. A cache's primary purpose is to increase data retrieval performance by reducing the need to access the underlying slower storage layer.Why do I need to clear my phone cache? ›
Clearing your Android app cache can help fix speed issues and free up storage space. If you need more storage, clear the cache of the apps that take up the most space. Clearing your app cache every few months will help streamline your phone and keep it from getting too full.Is it best to clear cache? ›
Clearing your cache on Android can free up valuable space and resolve issues with your phone's battery, speed, and security. Old cached data can corrupt, causing larger performance problems. If a particular app receives an update, the cached data from a previous version can cause conflict.How often should I clear my cache? ›
How often do I need to clear my cache? Most people only need to clear their caches once every month or two. That's generally the point when your browser will build up a cache large enough to start slowing things down. If you frequent a large number of sites, you should err on the side of clearing your cache more often.Does clearing cache delete passwords? ›
Note: Don't worry, you won't lose any information by clearing your cache. You won't even lose passwords to websites or autofill information from your phone unless you choose to clear that data.What is difference between cookies and cache? ›
Why does BeReal glitch so much? ›
Clear the BeReal app's cache
Occasionally, apps on your phone can misbehave because their data cache can contain corrupted data. The fix is relatively simple. If you are using BeReal on an iPhone, you should uninstall the app and then reinstall it from the App Store.
Just like website servers, browsers cache most content on a page to shorten load times. So, the next time that user loads the page, most of the content is ready to go without needing to download additional data. Browsers also automatically clear cache until their cache is full or their “time to live,” or TTL, expires.Is clearing Snapchat cache Safe? ›
Don't worry about losing access to any important data. Clearing the cache leaves all of your saved photos, videos, chats, and memories intact. Choosing to clear the cache will instead delete files such as thumbnail previews and other non-essential data.Can you delete Snapchat data? ›
Follow these steps to delete your data:
Tap ⚙️ in My Profile to open Settings. Scroll down to "Privacy Controls" and tap 'Clear Data' Choose what data that you want to clear.
- Open Settings, scroll down until you find Safari, then select it to open the next menu.
- Scroll down and tap 'Clear History and Website Data'.
- In the popup, tap 'Clear History and Data' to confirm.
Caches are generally small stores of temporary memory. If they get too large, they can cause performance to degrade. They also can consume memory that other applications might need, negatively impacting application performance.Which cache is most important? ›
L1 (Level 1) cache is the fastest memory that is present in a computer system. In terms of priority of access, the L1 cache has the data the CPU is most likely to need while completing a certain task.What problems do caches solve? ›
Answer: Caches are useful when two or more components need to exchange data, and the components perform transfers at differing speeds. Caches solve the transfer problem by providing a buffer of intermediate speed between the components.What happens if I delete system cache on phone? ›
Clearing the system cache can help to resolve issues and improve the performance of your phone by removing temporary files associated with the Android operating system. This process will not delete your files or settings.How do I free up cache on my phone? ›
Tap Settings. Tap Privacy & security. Tap Clear cache and Clear all cookie data. Tap OK.
What happens if I clear data on an app? ›
Clear cache: Deletes temporary data. Some apps can open slower the next time you use them. Clear data storage: Permanently deletes all app data. We recommend trying to delete from inside the app first.Should I clear cache or cookies? ›
When you use a browser, like Chrome, it saves some information from websites in its cache and cookies. Clearing them fixes certain problems, like loading or formatting issues on sites.Should I delete cookies or cache? ›
If you're using a public computer, you should delete them and other data, such as browsing history, right after your session. If it's your personal device, it's a good idea to remove all cookies at least once a month to keep your device neat.Is clearing cache the same as clearing cookies? ›
Clear cache if you want to see a fresh version of the website, solve website loading issues, or free up space. Clear cookies if you want to remove search history on websites, e.g. Facebook,, protect your data on a shared device, and prevent tracking.Does clear cache delete photos? ›
Clearing the cache will NOT remove Any photos from your device or computer. That action would require a deletion. What WILL happen is, the Data files that are stored Temporarily in your device's Memory, thats the Only thing deleted once the cache is cleared.Which cookies should I delete? ›
Third-party cookies can leave you vulnerable and should be declined or deleted if they're already stored on your browser. Otherwise, a website owner could sell your browsing data to third parties like advertisers.
Because browser history only contains the website addresses, it takes much less memory than cache does. While history is saved the same way cache is saved, it's almost always a separate setting. Clearing your history doesn't usually clear the cache, and clearing the cache doesn't delete the history.Is cache the same as browsing data? ›
What are browser history, cache, and cookies? Browser History is the list of sites that you have visited using this specific browser. Cache stores temporary files, such as web pages and other online media, that the browser downloaded from the Internet to speed up loading of pages and sites that you've already visited.What happens if you don't post a BeReal one day? ›
If you do not post a picture a day, you will just not be able to look at the BeReals of your friends. You can see BeReals of others in the Discovery section of the application. To react to them, click on the emoji in the bottom left corner of the post and share your authentic reaction.Does BeReal track your location? ›
Use of the Service requires your consent to the collection of Geolocation Data. If you do not want BeReal to collect your Geolocation Data, you may refuse to give the Platform permission to access your location when you first open the application.
Does BeReal notify screenshots? ›
Does BeReal Notify You About Screenshots? You will not receive a push notification when someone takes a screenshot of your BeReal post. If you take a screenshot, the user will not be sent a notification. However, you can see if someone screenshotted your BeReal post by viewing the post itself.Does clearing Snapchat cache delete all accounts? ›
Clearing your Snapchat cache will not delete your Snapchat account data. To add, photos/videos you saved to your device's gallery or camera roll will not be deleted.How often should I clear my Snapchat cache? ›
Clearing up the Snapchat cache can help the app and your phone run more smoothly. You can delete these unnecessary files every day, or whenever your smartphone storage needs some extra space.Why is Snapchat taking so much storage? ›
However, while photo storage occurs in the cloud, your Memories cache can grow swiftly and take up a significant portion of your phone's storage. This cache is a container for Snaps and Snapchat Stories you've recently taken and other account data that allows your memories to load quickly.Can Snapchat be used in court? ›
To reiterate — social media is subject to be used as evidence in the courtroom, whether that be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and yes, Snapchat. While you cannot necessarily be arrested for what you post on your social media account, the content can be used as evidence against you.Are snaps deleted forever? ›
Snapchat servers are designed to automatically delete all unopened Snaps after 30 days. Snapchat servers are designed to automatically delete unopened Snaps sent to a Group Chat after 24 hours. Snapchatters can save a Snap in Chat by pressing and holding on it to save while viewing or directly after viewing a Snap.Can Snapchat chats be recovered? ›
android. Open the Cache folder and select the messages you'd like to retrieve. Click on Recover.Does clearing iPhone cache delete everything? ›
In the Safari app , you can erase your browsing history and data to clear the cache on your iPhone. This removes the history of websites you visited and recent searches from your device. This process also removes the cookies and permissions you granted to websites to use your location or send you notifications.Does clearing cache speed up iPhone? ›
Clearing the browser or app cache can free up space on your iPhone and – especially if you're having performance issues – sometimes improve speed and performance by removing unnecessary app data.Where do you find cache on iPhone? ›
Go to Settings > General > [Device] Storage. You might see a list of recommendations for optimizing your device's storage, followed by a list of installed apps and the amount of storage each one uses. Tap an app's name for more information about its storage. Cached data and temporary data might not be counted as usage.
Is it OK to clear cached data? ›
You should clear cached data on Android periodically, depending on how heavily you use your Android device. Obsessively clearing your Android cache would be counterproductive, since the point of saving temporary files is to make your regular app experience smoother.When should you not clear cache? ›
In general, I recommend not clearing your cache unless you have a specific reason to. The files in the cache allow the websites you visit most often to load faster, which is a good thing. Your browser will periodically delete old files, so it's not like the cache is going to keep growing forever.What is the downside of clearing cache? ›
Some content is just loaded from your cache. This makes displaying frequently visited pages faster. If you delete the cache the next time you visit a previously cached site the site will be forced to download.How often should you clear your cache? ›
How often do I need to clear my cache? Most people only need to clear their caches once every month or two. That's generally the point when your browser will build up a cache large enough to start slowing things down. If you frequent a large number of sites, you should err on the side of clearing your cache more often.Will deleting cache data delete photos? ›
Will clearing the cache clear my photos off of my computer? Clearing the cache will NOT remove Any photos from your device or computer. That action would require a deletion. What WILL happen is, the Data files that are stored Temporarily in your device's Memory, thats the Only thing deleted once the cache is cleared.What's the difference between clear cache and clear data? ›
Difference between clearing app cache and data on Android
When the app cache is cleared, all the mentioned data is cleared. The application stores more vital information like user settings, databases, and login information as data. When you clear the data, both the cache and data are removed.
Clearing your cache and cookies is a good way to "reset" your browser so that you try everything fresh again.What happens when you clear cache and cookies? ›
Clearing your browser's cache and cookies means that website settings (like usernames and passwords) will be deleted and some sites might appear to be a little slower because all of the images have to be loaded again.