AVG Signal Blog Performance Cleaning How to Clear Your Cache on a Mac

What is a cache on a Mac?

A cache is a storage unit of files that your computer collects when you visit websites. These temporary cache files are saved and then used to speed up load times on web pages in the future, because your computer can load them from the cache instead of the internet.

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    When you visit Facebook or YouTube, your browser saves some of the data (images, videos, and more) in the cache. The next time you log on, those images and videos are ready and waiting in your browser’s cache.

    But do you really need to save all those pictures of your old high school friends, baking tutorials, and all the rest? Large cache files — images, videos, other multimedia, and scripts — can clog up your storage space if you never clear your cache.

    There are three primary types of caches: system cache, browser cache, and application cache (also known as the user cache). Each one uses different cached files to provide you with the best possible user experience. Your Mac uses cached data for both Apple’s built-in apps and third-party apps. Your MacOS also uses cached data to run quickly and efficiently. 

    Along with physically cleaning your computer, internal maintenance — like clearing your caches—  is essential to keep your Mac running at its best. 

    A build-up of cache files from old websites or apps you never visit can eat up space and slow your system down. That’s when it’s time to clear out the cache and start fresh. Below you’ll find solutions on how to clear each of your caches to get a faster Mac. And if you have a Windows machine at home as well, here’s how to clean up and speed up your Windows PC.

    How to clear the system cache on Mac

    Before clearing the system cache on your Mac, consider backing up your files. Deleting the wrong system files could cause something to malfunction. Note that many cached system (and application) files help your device work normally, and they don’t need to be cleaned. But if you want to delete any system files, here’s how to clear your system cache on Mac: 

    1. Step 1: Open Finder. From the Go menu, select Go to Folder…

      Go Menu on Mac OS. Highlighting "Go to FInder"
    2. Step 2: Type: ~/Library/Caches/ into the search box and click Go.

      Go to Folders search bar on Mac. With  "~/Library/Caches/" typed in.
    3. Step 3: Select your System or Library caches, depending on what you’re looking for.

      Library folder opened in MacOS Finder app. Inside the Library folder, the Cache folder is opened.
    4. Step 4: From here you can click and look at each folder, and delete unnecessary cache files by dragging them to Trash and then emptying it. If you’re unsure if you need the files, do a little research by Googling the name of the folder or files. When in doubt, it’s best to leave the file alone.

    Sifting through lists of folders to clear your caches is tedious — plus there’s always the chance you delete the wrong files. Avoid the headache with AVG TuneUp for Mac. This super helpful cleaning program will safely and efficiently purge cache files, as well as other junk files, bad-quality photos, and more. Clean and optimize your Mac today.

    How to clear your application cache on Mac

    Just like the system cache, clearing the application cache on Mac isn’t necessary — many of these files help your apps load faster. But other files in the application cache folder may need to be purged if the app has become buggy. 

    If you’re unsure what to delete, do some research beforehand or consider using a cleanup and bloatware removal tool to help you. Otherwise, here’s how to clear the application cache on Mac:  

    1. Step 1: Open Finder, select the Go menu, and click Go to Folder…

    2. Step 2: Type: /Users/[YourUserName]/Library/Caches.

      A Mac "Go to Folder" with the following typed in:  /Users/[YourUserName]/Library/Caches
    3. Step 3: Here you’ll see the User caches for all your apps.

      Mac Finder menu with Caches folder expanded.

    Open each folder you want to delete, select the files inside, and drag them to the Trash. Be sure to empty your trash afterward to delete the files completely.

    How to clear your browser cache on Mac

    Your browser cache collects data from all the websites you visit. This data piles up, so you should clear the browser cache on your Mac regularly to keep it working smoothly. It’s one of the many steps you can take to speed up your browser. Here’s how to clear your browser cache on any web browser:

    How to clear your Safari browser cache

    Here’s how to empty the browser cache in Safari: 

    1. Step 1: Open Safari.

    2. Step 2: Go to the Safari drop-down menu and click Preferences.

      Safari brower's drop down menu open. Highlighting Preferences
    3. Step 3: Click the Advanced icon at the top, and tick the box at the bottom for “Show Develop menu in menu bar.”

      Safari's Advanced menu opened. Highlight: Show Develop menu in menu bar
    4. Step 4: Select the Develop drop down menu and click Empty Caches.

      Safari's Develop drop down menu. Highlighting Empty Caches

    There you have it! There’s also a keyboard shortcut for emptying the cache in Safari: Command + Option + E. This shortcut automatically clears the Safari cache without you having to search for it.

    How to clear your Google Chrome browser cache

    Here’s how to clear the browser cache for Google Chrome on a Mac: 

    1. Step 1: Open Chrome, click on the three dots in the top-right corner, and select Settings.

      Chrome's drop down menu opened. Highlighting Settings.
    2. Step 2: On the left, choose Privacy and security and then select Clear browsing data.

      Chrome's preferences menu opened. Highlighting Privacy and Security tab on left. And highlighting the option Clear browsing data.
    3. Step 3: Under Time range, choose how far back you want your data to be cleared. All time will clear all of your cached data.

      Chrome's clear browsing data option specifying the time range of All Time.
    4. Step 4: Check the box for Cached images and files and then hit Clear data.

      Chrome's Clear Browsing data feature menu with option to clear cached images and files.

    Want to do it faster? Use Chrome’s cache clearing keyboard shortcut by pressing Command + Shift + Delete to clear the browser cache on Google Chrome.

    How to clear your Firefox browser cache

    Here’s how to clear the browser cache for Firefox on a Mac: 

    1. Step 1: Choose History from the top menu bar and select Clear Recent History…

      Firefox's History Dropdown menu, highlighting Clear Recent History
    2. Step 2: Under Time range to clear, select Everything.

       Firefox's Clear history feature. Selecting time range: Everything.
    3. Step 3: Tick the box for Cache and then click OK.

      Firefox's Clear All History Menu. Highlight: The option for Cache is ticked. 2nd Highlight: OK.

    That’s it! You can also use the Firefox keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + Delete to pull up the Clear All History menu.

    Do you use multiple browsers? Simplify the process by using a browser cleaner tool to easily tidy up all your browsers. Or, use one of the best secure and private browsers to reduce your clutter automatically.

    What does clearing your Mac cache data do?

    Clearing your Mac’s cache data frees up storage space by removing files you no longer need

    Considering your Mac caches data for every website you visit — even just once — your browser cache can get crowded awfully quickly. Your system and application caches can also collect a mess of unnecessary files that can take up gigabytes of space. All this cached data can slow down your device considerably. 

    When you empty your caches on Mac, you’ll gain more disk space. It’s one of the many ways to speed up your Mac and make it run more efficiently. 

    Clearing cached data also:

    • Protects your privacy: Clearing your caches deletes personal data connected to your websites and apps. If left unchecked, this information could be accessed by hackers or snoops trying to spy on you.

    • Refreshes online content: Cached elements from websites eventually become obsolete. Clearing your cache ensures you’re seeing the latest versions of your favorite sites.

    • Troubleshoots app issues: Sometimes application updates corrupt cached data. And untested server-side changes can cause apps to malfunction. Clearing your cache can help your apps start anew. 

    Note that clearing your cache merely restarts the cycle of cached data. So, as you continue to visit websites or use apps, your device will start collecting cached files again. If your Mac is running slow, a cache purge may be all you need. But there are other solutions for a slow Mac, like upgrading your RAM.

    Is it safe to clear cache on a Mac?

    Clearing your browser cache is a safe and straightforward procedure. Browser cache clearing also helps protect your online privacy — as does clearing your search and browser history and deleting your browser cookies. In general, a cleaner browser is a safer browser.

    You should be more careful when dealing with your system and user caches. Read the steps listed above to ensure you correctly clear your system caches and user caches

    Thankfully, with specialized Mac cleaner software you can spare yourself the hassle. AVG TuneUp for Mac will thoroughly scan your device for unneeded programs and junk files. It will sift out the files that can be deleted right away, while preserving the files your device needs to properly function.

    Deleting aookication caches, browser caches, and other junk files in AVG Tuneup for Mac.With this thorough cache cleaner for Mac, you can quickly and easily access and delete all your cache files. And AVG TuneUp for Mac helps you wipe away other unnecessary files and data hiding in your system — so you can get back to a faster, lighter Mac.

    Simplify the cache clearing process with AVG TuneUp for Mac

    Clearing your cache — and other Mac cleaning techniques — will increase performance and extend the life of your device. But the process can be annoying, requiring you to search through several folders. Worse still, tinkering around in the system and user caches can put your device at risk. 

    Plus, a freshly cleared cache will simply start filling up again right away.

    AVG TuneUp for Mac is not only a Mac cache cleaner, it’s a multilayered optimization system designed to streamline the entire cleaning process. It can automatically delete your browser cache along with unnecessary files, while holding on to the important ones.

    Removing gigabytes of unnecessary files in AVG Tuneup for Mac.

    AVG TuneUp will seek and destroy all the hidden junk in your Mac’s crevices — especially annoying duplicate files and blurry or poor-quality photos — freeing up tons of precious disk space in the process. 

    Plus, with automatic maintenance you’ll spend less time rooting around files and more time doing what you love on your lightning-fast Mac. Get AVG TuneUp today and watch your Mac run like new again.



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    Deepan Ghimiray