How to clear cache on macOS (2023)

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.

How to clear cache on macOS (1)

Cache defined

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

      No matter what web browser you use, they all have theirown cache. Those caches store files and their elements like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, cookies, or images that your browser uses to display websites. For instance, product page images, login information, shopping cart content, etc.

      • 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.

          (Video) How To Clear The Cache On A Mac Computer

          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.

          How to clear cache on macOS (2)

          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:

          1. OpenCleanMyMac X (free downloadhere).
          2. Navigate toSystem Junk in the sidebar.
          3. Click Scan, and then Clean.
          How to clear cache on macOS (3)

          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.

          (Video) How to Clear Cache on a Mac

          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.

          How to clear cache on macOS (4)

          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:

          How to clear cache on macOS (5)

          To remove system cache files, browse through the 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.

          (Video) How To Clear Cache On Mac OS

          If you want to keep history, here's another way to clear cache in Safari:

          1. Open Safariand go to Settings from the menu bar.
            How to clear cache on macOS (6)
          2. Navigate to theAdvanced tab and make sure thatthe box next to the "Show Develop menu in menu bar" option is checked.
            How to clear cache on macOS (7)
          3. Quit Settings.
          4. Now, navigate to Develop >Empty Caches.
          How to clear cache on macOS (8)

          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:

          1. Open Chrome and paste the following in the search barchrome://settings.Now,press Return.
          2. Navigate to the "Privacy and security" section andclick "Clear browsing data" there.
            How to clear cache on macOS (9)
          3. From the list, select"Cached images and files."
          4. In "TIme range,"choose "All time" and click "Clear data."
            How to clear cache on macOS (10)

          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:

          1. Open Firefox and pasteabout:preferences into the search bar.
          2. Navigate to the Privacy & Security section.
          3. Find Cookiesand Site Data in the pane andclick Clear Data.
          4. Choose "Cached Web Content" and click Clear to confirm.
          How to clear cache on macOS (11)

          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%

          (Video) How To Clear Your Cache On A MacBook Pro M1 [Delete Cache & Cookies]

          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:
          1. Open the Finder, and from the Go menu, selectGo to Folder.
          2. Type in ~/Library/Caches and press Return.
            How to clear cache on macOS (12)
          3. Optional step: Copy all the files to a different folder ifsomething goes wrong.
          4. 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.
            How to clear cache on macOS (13)

          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.

          1. 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.
          2. There, you'll finddifferent app cache — for example, com.spotify.client stores Spotify cache.
          3. 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.
          How to clear cache on macOS (14)

          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.

          (Video) Safari Cookies, Cache and History


          How do I clear my entire Mac cache? ›

          How to clean your system cache on Mac
          1. Open Finder, click Go menu, and select Go to Folder.
          2. Type ~/Library/Caches/ in the window and click Go.
          3. Your system, or library, caches will appear. ...
          4. You can open each folder and delete unneeded cache files by dragging them to the Trash and emptying it.
          Mar 10, 2023

          How do I clear my cache on my Mac without clearing history? ›

          It's simple to do but not self-evident.
          1. From your Safari menu bar click Safari > Preferences.
          2. Select the Advanced tab.
          3. Select Show Develop menu in menu bar.
          4. Now from the menu bar click Develop > Empty Caches.
          Dec 10, 2022

          What caches are safe to delete on Mac? ›

          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.

          How to do clear cache refresh on Mac? ›

          Mac: Hold ⇧ Shift and click the Reload button. Or, hold down ⌘ Cmd and ⇧ Shift key and then press R.


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