You've probably encountered the word cache or cache files a million times while browsing the web. You might even have the idea engraved in your brain that it is better to clear the cache on Mac. But is that really what you should do?
In this article, we're going to uncover the hidden truth about cache.But before we get into that, let's define some basic things first,so we can all be on the same page.
Is it safe to remove cache?
Generally, it is absolutely safe to remove cache because the apps you install or browsers you use will create new cache files when needed. However, caution is necessary when removing thecache generated by the system — your macOS. A good rule of thumb is to delete individual files but preserve the folders in which they were created.
Cache is storage (or memory bank) that helps to quickly retrieve and collect temporary data tohelp your device, websites, browsers, and apps load faster. Whether it's a computer, laptop, smartphone, web browser, or app, you'll find some variety of cache.
What are the main cache types?
There are roughly three main types of caches on your Mac:
- System cache
Mac's system cache is a memory bank that connects the main memory and the processor. This allows theCPU, or central processing unit, to retrieve data that your deviceuses to execute instructions quickly andwithout the need to load it bit by bit.
- Browser cache
- User cache (including app cache)
Just like a web browser, the app maintains cache of its own. It helps quickly reload images, search history, videos, and other needed information to speed up and improve the performance and efficiency of the apps.
Keep on reading to find out how to get rid of cache files —either automatically or manually.
5 ways to clear cache files on Mac
You may be wondering where most cache files are stored. There are several such locations on your Mac. The first one is the folder storing application caches. If you use resource-intensive apps, such as Photoshop, its cache folder may occupy up to several gigabytes of space. Another location is each browser you use. The smallest space-eater is your system cache.
1. Automatic way to clear all types of caches
Potential space reclaimed: up to 70%
As we've mentioned, cache files are essential for the correct functioning of apps and the system. Because they pile up, though, deleting them may be a good idea, and there is a safe way to do it — by usingCleanMyMac X.
This Apple notarized appeffortlessly removesoutdated cache as well as temporary files, app leftovers, and more. Once it completes the very first scan, you'll be able to enjoy more disk space, better Mac performance, and higher speed.Here's how it works:
- OpenCleanMyMac X (free downloadhere).
- Navigate toSystem Junk in the sidebar.
- Click Scan, and then Clean.
That's it. All cache files cleaned! CleanMyMac X is compatible with all systems, including the latest macOS version.
If you want to remove cache manually, we've also got some tips for you.
2.How to delete system cache on Mac
Potential space reclaimed: Up to 10%
Let's start our cache-clearing journey by deleting system cache files — files built-in macOS system services generate for proper operation. To locate them, open the Finder, and from the Go menu, choose Go to Folder. Now, paste/Library/Caches and press Return.
If you want to find out how much space it occupies, right-click the Caches folder and choose Get Info from the menu.You'll see the size of the folder in the info window:
To remove system cache files, browse through the com.apple folders you see and send files to the Trash. Note that only files can be deleted — keep the folders.
3. How to delete browser cache on Mac?
Potential space reclaimed: up to 15%
Once you've gotten rid of system cache files, let's proceed with browser cache. If not deleted, they can pile up quickly and generate some privacy-related issues. So, it's better to remove them to secure your privacy and, as a bonus, free up some more space. The process depends on the browser you use. It's important to delete cache for all browsers you have installed on your Mac, and we'll show you how for the three most popular ones.
- How to clear cache in Safari
- How to clear cache in Chrome
- How to clear cache in Firefox
How to clear cache in Safari
Deleting cache files in Safari is not as straightforward as in other browsers. However, it's still not too complex if you follow the steps we outline. There are two ways to do it. The first one is by navigating to History > Clear History in the menu bar. This way, though, you'll lose your history — information about visiting the websites you may need some time in the future.
If you want to keep history, here's another way to clear cache in Safari:
- Open Safariand go to Settings from the menu bar.
- Navigate to theAdvanced tab and make sure thatthe box next to the "Show Develop menu in menu bar" option is checked.
- Quit Settings.
- Now, navigate to Develop >Empty Caches.
Finally, restart the browser. Note that you'll have to enter your login info once again, as it will be removed along with the auto-fill details.Let's move on to the next browser.
How to clear cache in Chrome
Clearing browser cache in Chrome is less tricky. Here's how:
- Open Chrome and paste the following in the search barchrome://settings.Now,press Return.
- Navigate to the "Privacy and security" section andclick "Clear browsing data" there.
- From the list, select"Cached images and files."
- In "TIme range,"choose "All time" and click "Clear data."
Let's move on to ourlast browser.
How to clear cache in Firefox
In Firefox, the process is somewhat similar to Chrome. Here's how to delete cache in Firefoxmanually:
- Open Firefox and pasteabout:preferences into the search bar.
- Navigate to the Privacy & Security section.
- Find Cookiesand Site Data in the pane andclick Clear Data.
- Choose "Cached Web Content" and click Clear to confirm.
So, we've removed all browser cache. Now, let's try toget rid of user cache on Mac.
4. How to empty user cache on Mac?
Potential space reclaimed: up to 70%
Did you know that the single-user cache folder may take gigabytes of space? On my Mac, it's almost 3GB, and it's just one folder. So, it's a good idea to remove user cache to reclaim valuable space and speed up your Mac.
To clear your user cache manually, do the following:
- Open the Finder, and from the Go menu, selectGo to Folder.
- Type in ~/Library/Caches and press Return.
- Optional step: Copy all the files to a different folder ifsomething goes wrong.
- Make your way througheach of the folders and clean outeverything.
Note: Delete only the files from the folders, and do not send the folders themselves to the Trash.
Don't forget to empty the Trash afterward. Just control-click on the Trash icon from the Dock and choose "Empty Trash." Now, restart your Mac, and it will create new cache.
5. How to remove applicationcache on Mac?
In the previous step, we've removed user cache. But, as we mentioned, apps also generate cache files, so you may delete them as well. Some users believe these files are needed; still, deleting them is absolutely safe.
Some apps may create more cache thanothers, for instance,Spotify, Xcode, and Steam. But removing it is stilla piece of cake.
- You can get rid ofthe app cache on Mac by going to ~/Library/Caches from the Go menu of the Finder like we did before.
- There, you'll finddifferent app cache — for example, com.spotify.client stores Spotify cache.
- Clear up these folders like we did with user cache: press Command-A to highlight all files, then right-click them and move to Trash.
Frequently asked questions
Why are cache files stored?
Apps, macOS, and browsers store cache files to make the user experience more enjoyable since data retrieval is significantly faster than downloading them in any other way or collecting them each time you visit a website or use an app.
Is it really necessary to remove cache files?
It is. If you do not remove cache files, you mayface different sorts of issues, such as running low on space, compromising privacy, and experiencing app crashes.
How to remove cache files on Mac?
Most commonly, you will browse ~/Library/Caches to find cache files. However, there are third-party apps, like CleanMyMac X, that can do the cleaning for you.
- Open Finder, click Go menu, and select Go to Folder.
- Type ~/Library/Caches/ in the window and click Go.
- Your system, or library, caches will appear. ...
- You can open each folder and delete unneeded cache files by dragging them to the Trash and emptying it.
- From your Safari menu bar click Safari > Preferences.
- Select the Advanced tab.
- Select Show Develop menu in menu bar.
- Now from the menu bar click Develop > Empty Caches.
Deleting the application cache is safe
If the cache gets too large or contains a corrupt file, clearing out that app's cache folder can free up disk space and may improve application issues. Clearing an application's cache does not usually make an app run faster, but it also shouldn't create any issues.
Mac: Hold ⇧ Shift and click the Reload button. Or, hold down ⌘ Cmd and ⇧ Shift key and then press R.Is clearing history the same as clearing cache Mac? ›
On macOS, Safari rules. Clearing your website visit history is simple: click History > Clear History. In the pop-up, pick a timeframe for how far back you want to erase. This is doing a lot more than deleting the browser history, however—it also takes out your cookies and data cache.What happens if I delete all cache files on Mac? ›
Cleaning your cache on Mac will free up more disk space. It's one of the many ways to speed up your Mac and make it run more efficiently. Clearing your caches deletes personal data connected to your websites and apps.Does clean my Mac clear caches? ›
CleanMyMac X is an Apple-notarized Mac cleaner that effortlessly removes outdated cache as well as temporary files, app leftovers, and more. It includes a useful System Junk module that can help clear all types of caches.Can clearing cache cause problems? ›
It's not bad to clear your cached data now and then. Some refer to this data as “junk files,” meaning it just sits and piles up on your device. Clearing the cache helps keep things clean, but don't rely on it as a solid method for making new space.What should I not delete from Mac? ›
Don't delete or move files within System and Library folders appearing when you first double click your hard disk. Don't delete or move . App files in your Applications folder, these are Mac OS X native applications.What happens if you delete all caches? ›
After you clear cache and cookies: Some settings on sites get deleted. For example, if you were signed in, you'll need to sign in again. If you turn sync on in Chrome, you'll stay signed into the Google Account you're syncing to in order to delete your data across all your devices.
To refresh the cache, use Ctrl + F5. You can also do a hard refresh using Shift + Ctrl + F5. Apple users replace Ctrl with Cmd. Linux just needs F5.Does clearing cache delete passwords? ›
Download history: The list of files you've downloaded using Chrome is cleared, but the actual files aren't removed from your computer. Passwords: Records of passwords you saved are deleted.How can I speed up my Mac? ›
- Restart occasionally. ...
- Limit the apps you have open. ...
- Limit your number of web browsing tabs. ...
- Remove unused apps. ...
- Reduce the number of apps in your Dock. ...
- Get rid of your screen saver. ...
- Upgrade your memory. ...
- Swap out your hard drive (HDD) for an SSD.
Clear the app's cache & data
Clear cache: Deletes temporary data. Some apps may be slow the next time you open them. Clear data storage: Permanently deletes all app data.
It's important to clear cookies on your Mac for several reasons, including privacy and ease of access. Cookies save and store data you've supplied on a web browser, so clearing them occasionally can help keep your internet experience as easy to use, accessible and relevant as possible.Is it good to clear history on Mac? ›
Cleaning your browsing history regularly protects your privacy on your Mac. It removes the data it saved for all the websites you have browsed for a certain period of time. However, clearing your browsing history will also delete temporary files and website data such as cookies and caches.Is it safe to delete all my cache files? ›
Clearing unused cache files on Android is a decent way to free up space temporarily and comes in handy when troubleshooting app issues. But it's not something you should do often, or through unreliable third-party apps. Use it only as a specific tool when needed for device performance.Why should I clear cache? ›
So if you clear your browser's cache and temporary internet files regularly, this helps your computer or device run optimally—and doing so can help fix certain problems, like a website loading slowly, or formatting issues on a web page.Does clearing cache speed up Macbook? ›
Cached files usually speed up your web browsing experience, saving you bandwidth at the same time. You may occasionally want to clear your Mac's browser caches because they can end up using a lot of disk space unnecessarily. Deleting your browser's cache will also hide your online activity, protecting your privacy.Does CleanMyMac speed up Mac? ›
Yes. Clean My Mac is extremely helpful when it comes to keeping your older laptop running smoothly. It doesn't do anything that you can't technically do yourself, but it makes it easier. Stopping processes from running in the background isn't all that hard, but with Clean My Mac it's just a simple click of a button.
As a general rule, you should clear your browser cache and cookies at least once a month, or more often if you experience any of the following: slow running or crashing browsers, difficulty loading websites or features, outdated or incorrect information or images on some websites, the need to free up storage space on ...How many times should you clear cache? ›
It should only be cleared when it takes up an increased amount of storage and hinders the performance of your Android smartphone as a result. This may also depend on the storage capacity of your smartphone. Typically, it is advised to clear the cache periodically every few months.Is clearing Safari cache good? ›
Whether you use Chrome, Safari or other browsers on your iPhone, your cache builds up digital clutter over time. Clearing your cache gives the browser a new start, which can speed up your web surfing, even on iOS 16.4. (And if you're trying to get your phone to run faster, try managing your iPhone's storage.)What does clean up my Mac do? ›
CleanMyMac is a powerful Mac cleaner, speed booster, and health guard, designed to help your Mac run at full throttle again. Remove large and old files, uninstall apps, and delete useless data that waste disk space. Remove large and old files, uninstall apps, and delete useless data that waste disk space.What should I wipe my Macbook with? ›
Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. Don't use products containing bleach or hydrogen peroxide.How do I find hidden files taking up space on my Mac? ›
View Hidden Files in Finder
In Finder, you can click your hard drive under Locations, then open your Macintosh HD folder. Press Command + Shift + . (period) to make the hidden files appear. You can also do the same from inside the Documents, Applications, and Desktop folders.
- Open the Developer Console. There are a few ways to do this. Control+Shift+I (Windows or Linux) Option+Command+I (Mac) Tools > Developer > Developer Tools... Simply right-click anywhere on the page and choose Inspect.
- Press and hold the Refresh Icon.
- Choose Empty Cache and Hard Reload from the dropdown.
A hard refresh is a way of clearing the browser's cache for a specific page, to force it to load the most recent version of a page. Although storing pages to the browsers cache makes your Filecamp loading faster, it can mean that Filecamp updates aren't always visible until you perform a hard refresh.What is Shift F5 on a Mac? ›
With Shift F5, you force the browser to reload completely the page and to download again all the files (js files, images, scripts, …). It's called Hard reload. You will get the most recent version of the page sent by the server. On Apple / MAC, the shortcut is Command R (Command + R).Does clearing history really clear history? ›
A lot of data is generated as you browse the internet, and clearing your history only deletes the record of addresses you've visited that are stored locally on your device. It doesn't remove your Google search history, or other data stored on remote servers. It also doesn't delete cache data, or disable cookies.
Your Mac may be slow due to an outdated macOS or an overloaded cache. Malware can also infect your Mac and slow it down by hogging system resources. If your Mac is old, it might struggle to run modern software, and you may need to replace it.Can you defragment a Mac? ›
A Mac defrag moves related bits of data on your hard drive together, so files and programs can load faster. Disk defragmentation reorganizes your hard drive's files to make them easier for your computer to access. But defragging a Mac is rarely needed, because Macs can defrag themselves.How do I clean up system files on my Mac? ›
- Check for unnecessary files. ...
- Manually remove Time Machine backups. ...
- Optimize your storage. ...
- Clear application logs and support files. ...
- Clean up your Downloads folder.
View content cache activity in Activity Monitor. In the Activity Monitor app on your Mac, click Cache (or use the Touch Bar). If you don't see the Cache tab in the Activity Monitor window, choose Apple menu > System Settings, then click General in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.)What happens when you clear cache? ›
What Happens After Clearing Android Cache? After you clear cached files, you'll regain some storage space and the app will continue to work as normal. However, since you erased the data used for optimal performance, some elements (like those mentioned above) will load more slowly the next time you use the app.What does emptying cache do? ›
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.What is the shortcut to clear cache on Mac Safari? ›
Clear Safari cache with a keyboard shortcut
The first, and quickest way to clear your cache is by using a keyboard shortcut: simply press [OPTION] + [COMMAND] + [E].
Why is my Mac running slow? Your Mac might be slow because of an outdated operating system or a full hard disk — especially if you have an older model Mac. If your Mac is new, it might be slow because you're running too many background programs and apps or even have a malware infection.What is the difference between clear cache and clear data? ›
Clear cache: Deletes temporary data. Some apps may be slow the next time you open them. Clear data storage: Permanently deletes all app data.Is it good to always clear 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.
Clearing your cache, as well as history and cookies, can help resolve your device's performance issues. Clearing your cookies will clear your passwords as well, unless you save them with keychain.