It sounds a bit contradictory, especially because the whole purpose of the cache is to allow your browser to load web page content more quickly. However, a “full” cache actually causes web pages to load at more and more of a snail’s pace over time. It’s almost like a car: Forgetting to change the oil regularly causes friction in the engine, leading to a drop in performance and greater energy consumption. Your browser behaves the same way: If the cache is full, laptops, PCs, smartphones, and tablets simply require more time to load content.
It’s actually really easy to clear your browser cache — and you can do it in a few steps whether you use Firefox, Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, or Safari to surf the internet. The same goes for the cache used by the many different apps for your Android smartphone or tablet or iPhone or iPad. Read on for our step-by-step guide on how to clear your cache.
What’s a cache, and what’s the benefit of clearing it regularly?
The term “cache” is best understood as meaning “temporary storage”. This popular term in the IT industry has its roots in the French language and means “a hidden store of things”, which is pretty apt. No matter which browser you use to surf websites, they all store certain elements (such as images) of the websites you visit in a location that is not visible to us users. The next time you visit the website, the browser recognizes the fact that you’ve already been there and uses the information stored in the cache on your device’s hard drive to display the content really quickly.
So far, so good. But, how often have you visited a website only once? Well, your browser stores this data anyway — just in case you visit the website again. This huge volume of data accumulates in the cache over time, leading to longer loading times. And in the worst case, websites you like to visit regularly may even start showing outdated content if the browser cache is full.
How frequently you’ll need to clear your cache depends on factors such as how often you use your browser to surf as well as how many different websites you visit. Irrespective of this, though, it really is a good idea to get into the routine of clearing your cache on a monthly basis. Why slow yourself down when you can enjoy the unbeatable feeling of a device that performs well and a fast browsing experience.
Top tip: Avira RAM Cleaner helps you clear your browser cache and other redundant data from your computer’s memory.
Your smartphone will also jump for joy if you clean its cache regularly.
Just like your laptop or PC, your smartphone also stores information in the cache from all the different apps on your device. So, it also makes sense to routinely clear your smartphone’s cache on a regular basis to stop your device from slowing down. We’ll also show you how to do just that in this post.
So how do I clear the cache in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and other browsers?
While you can delete individual web pages from the cache using a simple shortcut of key combinations no matter which browser you use, who actually does that as soon as they notice that the website doesn’t contain the information they’re looking for? That’s why we’ve put together this handy step-by-step guide covering every browser so you can wipe your browser’s entire cache in one fell swoop. To get going, select the icon of the browser you want to clean.
Top tip: Restart your laptop, PC, and/or smartphone or tablet after clearing the cache to get rid of any remaining data. For a thorough deep clean to remove every last trace of junk on your hard drive, use the free solution Avira Junk Cleaner. In one go, it’ll rid your device of junk and boost its performance — with a faster surfing experience on any browser included.
Clear your cache using shortcuts on all popular browsers
You can use a simple combination of key presses, or shortcuts, on all popular browsers to wipe the cache. The only thing you need to remember is that you briefly press all the keys simultaneously.
- Internet Explorer: Press CTRL + F5. Alternatively, hit SHIFT + F5.
- Chrome: Press CTRL + F5 or SHIFT + F5.
- Firefox: Hit CTRL + F5.
- Safari (Mac): Press CMD + OPT + E (to empty caches) or CMD + R (to hard-refresh and clear the cache for a specific page).
- Safari (Windows): Hold down CTRL + R.
- Opera: Press CTRL + F5 (to clear browsing data) or CTRL + R (to hard-refresh and clear the cache for a specific page).
- Microsoft Edge: Hit CTRL + F5.
Deleting the browser cache in Internet Explorer
When you start Internet Explorer, Microsoft tells you that Microsoft Edge is available — although this doesn’t mean you also have to clear the cache in that browser right away.
- To clear the cache, click the Tools icon (looks like a wheel) on the address bar, then click Safety.
- A context menu will appear, with the first option being Delete browser history.
- When you click that, a new window will open where you can select if you only want to delete the browser cache (temporary files) or other data too such as cookies and website data.
Clearing the cache in Chrome
- On the top right, click the kebab icon (the one with the three vertical dots). From the context menu, click More tools, then Clear browsing data.
- A new window will open. Now select the time range you want to clear (from just the last hour all the way through to all the time you’ve ever used this browser).
- You’ll notice that Chrome has preselected which data is to be cleared. Besides cached images and files, you can customize what you want to delete. Options include cookies and other site data as well as the browsing history. Just click Clear data and all the redundant data will be cleared from the cache. This window also shows you how much space the individual file types are consuming — which in itself is revealing.
Clearing the cache in Firefox
- Click the hamburger icon (the one with three vertical bars) on the address bar, then select Settings. On the left-hand side, click Privacy & Security.
- Now scroll down to Cookies and Site Data, then click Clear Data.
- A new window will open, with Cookies and Site Data as well as Cached Web Content You may just want to remove the superfluous data from the cache? If you do, untick the first box, then click Clear. Congratulations: You’ve now emptied the cache in Firefox.
Emptying the Safari cache
Simply go to the menu bar and click Safari on the top left followed by Develop (it’s probably not displayed, so click Safari, select Preferences, then turn on Show Develop in menu bar). In the shortcut menu that appears, you’ll see Empty Caches. Click that and hey presto, your cache will be emptied.
Clearing browser data in Opera
- Go to the address bar and click the Easy Setup icon (a vertical set of three horizontal bars). All you need to do then is go down to the Privacy & Security section and hit Clear next to Browsing data.
- With Opera too, you can clear the cache as well as the history, cookies, and other site data in one go. The data categories are already preselected, but you can also customize what gets deleted.
Clearing your browser data in Microsoft Edge
- Click the … icon on the top right of the address bar, then click Settings. A set of options will now appear. On the left, click Privacy, search, and services, then go to Clear browsing data on the right.
- Click Choose what to clear, then choose the time range you want to clear and, if not already ticked, select Cached images and files.
- All you need to do next to clear all that data hidden in your cache is to click Clear now.
Like all browsers, Microsoft Edge preselects cookies and other site data, your browsing history, and download history, but it’s entirely up to you if you want to keep those categories of data or deleted them too.
Clearing your iPhone cache
If you have iPhone 8 or earlier, Apple allows you to clear your cache in just two steps.
- First press and hold the power button on the right-hand side of your iPhone until slide to power off appears on your screen.
- Now, instead of powering off your iPhone, simply press and hold the home button. After a moment, the start screen will reappear and your cache will be cleared.
Got a newer-generation iPhone? As your iPhone won’t have a home button, you’ll need to clear the cache via the settings — something that’s just as quick and easy to accomplish.
- Open the Settings app and swipe up until you see Safari. If you want to delete all the website data and clear the history, simply tap Clear History and Website Data.
- If, however, you want to keep your history, swipe up a bit further until you see Advanced. Tap that, then tap Website Data, followed by Remove All Website Data. Your cache will now be cleared, but you’ll get to keep your browsing history.
Clearing cached data on your Android smartphone or tablet
Android version 8 and later removed the option to clear your smartphone or tablet’s cache in one step via Internal shared storage. Instead, you now have to clear the cache for each individual app. But it’s still easy to do — and worth it if you want to tune up your Android device’s performance.
- First go to Settings, then tap Apps & notifications.
- Tap the app whose cache you want to clear, then tap Storage & cache. In our example, we wanted to clear the cache in the Chrome app — and as you can see, there is already a huge amount of redundant data there. Once you tap Clear cache, you can say goodbye to all that junk.
- Repeat these steps for all your apps — you’ll be amazed at how much temporary data the apps store in your cache.
- For the final step, we recommend tuning up your Android device’s memory. To do this, go to Settings again, and this time tap Battery and device care (on Samsung devices anyway; menu names on other Android devices may vary). Tap Optimize now to tune up your Android device’s performance.
- Last but not least, tap Memory, then Clean now to deep clean your device.
Using extensions to clear your cache and unleash even more performance
You can extract even more performance from your device by using extensions. Avira System Speedup provides you with a rich suite of tune-up tools to clear your cache as well as remove other junk file and other data clogging up your device’s memory.
Smartphones and tablet apps
Protect your iPhone and iPad with the Avira Mobile Security app for iOS. Get it from the App Store — and enjoy protection when surfing public Wi-Fi hotspots thanks to the integrated VPN. Avira Mobile Security for iOS was developed to prevent Siri recording your conversations and for you to know what smart devices are on your home network.
Got an Android device? No problem! The free Avira Antivirus Security for Android app also provides mobile protection and flawless security — plus a powerful VPN.