How to Clear Cache on Mac

Software FAQ

Your Mac’s caches are designed to improve system performance by storing frequently accessed data. However, over time, these caches can take up valuable disk space. To free up storage and optimize your Mac’s performance, learn how to remove files from different types of caches. But remember, there are certain caches you should avoid deleting. Here’s a guide to help you navigate through this process.

What Is Cache?

Cache plays a crucial role in speeding up various processes on your Mac. You might be familiar with web browser caches, which store data from visited websites to make loading pages faster upon subsequent visits. While this can improve browsing speed, it also comes with drawbacks, like viewing outdated web content and privacy concerns due to stored cookies and trackers.

Apart from browser cache, your Mac also utilizes system cache and application cache. Application cache, also known as user cache, stores data associated with apps, making them launch faster. While beneficial, it can consume significant storage, especially if you work with large files, like high-resolution images or videos.

System cache, on the other hand, is crucial for macOS to run smoothly. It stores data created by the operating system to optimize performance. We advise against deleting anything from the system cache unless you have specific knowledge and use a reliable tool for such actions.

Cleaning cache data is risky, especially if you lack knowledge of what you’re doing. Mishandling cache data, particularly system cache, could disrupt your Mac’s smooth functioning. Another type of cached data results from sandboxing between apps, but it is automatically removed when you restart your Mac.

To optimize your Mac’s performance, it’s best to be cautious when dealing with cache data and consider using reputable cleanup tools if needed.

Reasons to Clear Cached Data on Your Mac and Browser

There are several compelling reasons why you might consider clearing cached data on your Mac or browser. Understanding these reasons can help you optimize storage space, troubleshoot performance issues, and ensure the latest data is displayed when browsing the web.

  1. Freeing Up Storage Space: One common motive for clearing cached data on a Mac is to reclaim valuable storage space. As Mac users frequently observe their storage usage in settings, clearing the cache is often seen as a potential solution to recover a few gigabytes. However, it’s essential to note that clearing the cache may not always result in significant space recovery, as the system will recreate many of the cached files.
  2. Troubleshooting Performance Issues: When your Mac or a specific app is experiencing performance problems, clearing the cache can serve as a troubleshooting step. This approach is typically employed after other initial measures, such as restarting the problematic app or the entire Mac, and even uninstalling and reinstalling the app. Clearing the cache is a last resort to see if it resolves the issue.
  3. Safeguarding Personal Data Privacy: Concerns about the usage of personal data by apps or websites is another valid reason to clear browser cache periodically. By doing so, you can minimize the risk of your sensitive information being accessed or exploited without your consent.
  4. Ensuring Up-to-Date Website Content: Clearing the browser cache is essential if you notice that a website you visit frequently is not displaying the latest content. Failing to clear the cache might lead to viewing outdated versions of webpages, hindering your browsing experience.

What Cache Files Can You Delete?

When it comes to deleting cache files, it’s essential to exercise caution and avoid deleting all the data in your cache. Deleting cache indiscriminately can potentially break important system functions, causing issues with your Mac’s performance.

Cache files related to specific applications should also be handled carefully. Some apps rely on cached data to function correctly, and deleting their cache could lead to problems or inconvenience. For instance, if you were working on a significant project in Photoshop or Premiere Pro, deleting the cache associated with those applications might disrupt your progress.

Before clearing your cache, it’s advisable to back up your data so you can restore your Mac to its previous state if needed or recover deleted cache files.

However, there are cache files you can safely delete, particularly those associated with apps you no longer use. If you have uninstalled an app, you can confidently remove its associated cache files. High-quality app uninstallers like CleanMyMac X, MacCleaner Pro, or DaisyDisk can help you remove app-related data from your cache efficiently.

Browser cache is another type of data that you can safely remove. While deleting browser cache may require you to re-enter logins and other data that used to autofill, the potential disadvantages of keeping it may outweigh the benefits.

Clearing Cache on Your Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Clearing cache on your Mac involves different processes depending on the type of cache. We will cover each type separately, providing both manual methods and third-party tools to ensure you can safely manage cache data without making mistakes.

Before we dive in, you might wonder if Apple offers a built-in tool for quickly deleting cached files.

In macOS Monterey and older versions, you can access this information by clicking on the Apple icon in the menu at the top of your screen and navigating to About This Mac > Storage.

For macOS Ventura users, the process has changed slightly. You can still access the information via About This Mac > More Info, which takes you to System Settings, where you go to General > Storage > Storage Settings.

Regardless of the method, you will see a breakdown of the storage on your Mac, indicating areas where you might want to delete or move files to iCloud to free up space. If you click on the “i” next to a section (in Ventura), you can view all the files or applications that you might want to delete.

You may also notice a large section labeled “Other,” “System,” or “System Data,” depending on your macOS version. Cached files that you want to delete could be hiding in this section, prompting you to consider deleting it from here. Unfortunately, this view doesn’t offer a straightforward way to delete files from these sections.

However, there are various other methods to free up space in these sections and elsewhere on your Mac. We discuss how to do this in our guide on “How to Free Up Space on Mac.” Additionally, we address how to delete “Other” and “System” on the Mac separately. For now, let’s focus on clearing the cache on your Mac.

How to Clear Browser Cache on Mac

I. Introduction

  • Importance of clearing browser cache for better performance
  • Different browsers and their cache clearing methods

II. Clearing Safari Cache in Ventura

  1. Open Safari and click on Settings.
  2. Go to the Advanced tab and enable the Developer view by clicking on “Show Develop Menu.”
  3. In the top menu, click on “Develop” and select “Empty Caches.”
  4. Alternatively, press Option/Alt + Command + E to clear the cache.

III. Clearing Safari Cache in Monterey or Older

  1. Open Safari and click on “Safari” in the menu.
  2. Choose “Preferences” and go to the Advanced section.
  3. Enable the Developer view by clicking on “Show Develop Menu.”
  4. In the top menu, click on “Develop” and select “Empty Caches.”
  5. Alternatively, press Option/Alt + Command + E to clear the cache.

IV. Clearing Browsing History in Safari

  1. Click on “History” in the Safari menu.
  2. Select “Clear History” to remove browsing history.

V. Removing Cookies in Ventura

  1. Click on “Safari” > “Settings.”
  2. Go to the Privacy tab and click on “Manage Website Data.”
  3. Choose “Remove All” to delete cookies.
  4. Optionally, decide whether to allow or block specific sites.

VI. Removing Cookies in Monterey or Older

  1. Click on “Safari” > “Preferences.”
  2. Go to the Privacy section and click on “Manage Website Data.”
  3. Choose “Remove All” to delete cookies.
  4. Optionally, decide whether to allow or block specific sites.

VII. Cautionary Note

  • Warn about potential logouts from websites after clearing browsing data
  • Reminder to ensure knowledge of passwords before proceeding with cache clearing.

How to Clear System Cache on Mac

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to clear the system cache on your Mac:

Before you begin, it’s important to take a precautionary step and back up your important data in case something goes wrong during the process. This way, you can easily revert to your previous settings if needed. If you feel uncertain about clearing the cache manually, there are safer options available using third-party apps.

Follow these steps to clear the system cache:

  1. Open the Finder on your Mac.
  2. Click on “Go” in the menu bar and select “Go to Folder…”
  3. Type in “Library/Caches/” and click on “Go.”
  4. Inside the “Caches” folder, review the contents of each subfolder and decide what you want to delete. You can sort the files by “Data Modified” to identify items that haven’t been recently updated.
  5. Drag the cache files you want to remove into the Trash or Bin.
  6. Don’t forget to empty your Trash to complete the cache clearing process.

Please note that manually clearing the system cache can be time-consuming and risky, as you might accidentally delete essential files. If you prefer a safer and more efficient approach, consider using one of the recommended third-party apps for clearing cache on your Mac.

How to Clear Application Cache Files on Mac

Clearing application cache files can help you reclaim some storage space and improve the performance of specific apps. However, it’s essential to proceed with caution, as removing cached files that are required by certain apps could have adverse effects. We highly recommend backing up your system before you start deleting cache files.

Follow these steps to clear application cache files on your Mac:

  1. Open the Finder on your Mac.
  2. Click on “Go” in the menu bar and select “Go to Folder…”
  3. Type in “~/Library/Caches/” (note the tilde ~ symbol next to the Z) and click on “Go.”
  4. Inside the “Caches” folder, review the contents of each subfolder and decide which cache files you want to delete.
  5. Drag the selected cache files into the Trash or Bin.
  6. Don’t forget to empty your Trash to complete the cache clearing process.

Remember, if you’re not entirely confident about manually deleting application cache files, it’s safer to use a dedicated app designed for this purpose. These apps can help you clear application cache more efficiently and reduce the risk of deleting essential files for app functionality.

Joshua Brick
Rate author
( No ratings yet )
Add a comment