Avast Academy Performance Cleaning How to Clear Your Cache on a Mac

How to Clear Your
Cache on a Mac

When was the last time you cleared the cache on your Mac? Cached files build up in your browser, your system, and your applications. Over time, Mac caches get bloated with old files, eating up space and slowing you down. Read on to learn exactly how to clear the cache on Mac — either manually or with a specialized cleanup tool.

Written by Nica Latto
Published on March 10, 2023
Reviewed by Sandro Villinger

How to clear browser cache on Macbook, iMac, or MacBook Air

To clear your browser cache on Mac, open Finder and launch Go to Folder using the Shift + Command + G shortcut. Type ~/Library/Caches and hit Enter. Finally, open the browser cache folders, select the files you want to clear, and hit Delete.

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    No matter which browser you use, clearing the browser cache on Mac is pretty easy. Just note that your cache starts to build up again as soon as you resume browsing — unless, of course, you use a dedicated browser cleaner for automatic maintenance like keeping your cache clean.

    Let’s take a closer look at clearing your Macbook cache on the most popular browsers.

    How to clear cache in Mac Safari

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

    1. Open Safari and select Preferences in the Safari drop-down menu.

      Opening the Safari menu and selecting Preferences
    2. Select Advanced and check the Show Develop menu in menu bar box at the bottom.

      Under the Advanced settings, you can select the box to show the Develop menu bar.
    3. Select the Develop menu and click Empty caches.

      The Develop bar has a button to "Empty caches." Just click it to fully empty your cache in Safari.

    That’s it. An even quicker way to clear the cache in Safari on Macbook is to use keyboard shortcuts so you don’t have to go hunting for the Safari cache location. Just hit Command + Option + E and your Safari browser cache will clear automatically.

    How to clear cache in Chrome on Mac

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

    1. Open Chrome, click options (the three dots) in the top right, and select Settings.

      Opening up Settings in Google Chrome
    2. Click Privacy and security in the left panel and select Clear browsing data.

      Select "privacy and security" from the left list, and then click on "clear browsing data."
    3. Under Time range, choose how far back you want your data to be wiped. Use All time to completely clear your Mac’s Chrome cache.

      Selecting the amount of time you want to clear your cache from. We recommend "all time."
    4. Make sure you check the box for Cached images and files, then hit Clear data.

      Check the box for "cached images and files" and then confirm by clicking "clear data" and you'll be able to clear. your cache in Google Chrome.

    If you prefer a keyboard shortcut, hit Command + Shift + Delete to clear the cache on Chrome for Mac.

    You can also avoid building up cached files by using Incognito mode in Chrome — but you’ll have to open a private window whenever you browse, so it’s not the most elegant solution.

    How to empty the cache in Firefox

    Here’s how to erase your cache in Firefox:

    1. Open Firefox, select History from the top menu bar, and click Clear Recent History.

      To clear you cache in Firefox, start by clicking the "History" menu and selecting "clear recent history."
    2. Under Time range to clear, select Everything. (If you only want to clear your recent cache, choose another option.

      Select a time range to clear your cache. We suggest "everything."
    3. Make sure you check the box for Cache, then hit OK.

      Check the box for "cache" and then click "OK" to clear your cache in Firefox.

    And that’s it. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + Delete to bring up the Clear All History menu.

    How to empty the cache in Avast Secure Browser

    Your browser gets bogged down with other data that’s a lot worse than the contents of your cache. While temporary files can build up and slow down your web surfing, your browser also collects loads of private information about you.

    Advertisers use web tracking techniques to gather insights into your habits and interests and target ads to you more precisely. Even more invasive techniques like browser fingerprinting can also be used to create profiles of you based on your device, web browser, and IP address — making it easier to identify you out of the vast crowd of internet users.

    To experience the open internet without being tracked or targeted, use Avast Secure Browser, designed by security experts with privacy at the forefront. You can take advantage of a full suite of privacy and security features, all for free.

    Avast Secure Browser offers a variety of privacy and security features.Avast Secure Browser includes a suite of built-in privacy features.

    Prevent invasive tracking, scrub your online footprints, block ads, and more. Download Avast Secure Browser for free and install it today.

    Here’s how to clear your cache in Avast Secure Browser:

    1. Click the three dots in the top right and select Settings.

       Opening up Settings in Avast Secure Browser.
    2. Click Privacy and security on the left, then select Privacy Cleaner.

      Select the "privacy and security" option and then click "privacy cleaner."
    3. Under Time range, select All time.

      Select the time range for cleaning your cache. We recommend "all time."
    4. Make sure Cached images and files is selected, then hit Clear data.

      Make sure the "cached images and files" box is checked, and then hit "clear data" to delete the cache in Avast Secure Browser.

    You can also use the keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + Delete to bring up the Privacy Cleaner window.

    How to clean your system cache on Mac

    Before you dive into clearing your Macbook system or user cache, make sure you’ve backed up your system. When you go digging into system files, you could delete something important if you’re not careful — sometimes, cached files are helpful for Mac RAM.

    Here’s how to access the system cache files on Mac:

    1. Open Finder, click Go menu, and select Go to Folder.

      Opening the Go menu in Finder.
    2. Type ~/Library/Caches/ in the window and click Go.

      Type ~/Library/Caches/ into the dialog box.
    3. Your system, or library, caches will appear. You can now choose what to delete.

      Your system cache files will appear in the folders.
    4. You can open each folder and delete unneeded cache files by dragging them to the Trash and emptying it. If you’re not sure if you need them or not, we recommend erring on the side of caution and not deleting them.

    To be sure you’re getting rid of only those files you don’t need — and that you’re rooting out all unnecessary data that’s eating up your memory — use a dedicated computer maintenance tool like Avast Cleanup for Mac that will automatically keep your system running smoothly.

    How to clear the application cache on Mac

    As with the system cache, you don’t necessarily need to delete your Mac application cache. Some of the cached files help your Mac RAM load apps faster, but you may need to delete others to troubleshoot problematic programs. If you’re not an expert, use a dedicated computer optimization app to help you out.

    Here’s how to manually clear the application cache on Mac:

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

    2. Type /Users/[YourUserName]/Library/Caches in the window and click Go.

      Using the Go to Folder function to find and clear app cache on Mac.
    3. You’ll see the user caches for all your apps. You can go into each folder, select the files inside, and drag them to the Trash. Make sure to empty the Trash to get rid of the files.

       A view of application cache on Mac.

    What are cached files?

    Cached files are temporary files that your computer downloads and stores to save time when you reopen apps and programs in the future. The next time the cached files are needed, your computer quickly loads the data from the cache rather than downloading it again, or searching for it in your system’s permanent storage.

    There are three main types of caches:

    • Browser cache your browser downloads images, videos, scripts, and other multimedia whenever you visit a webpage. These caches are saved to your Mac cached files memory to enable faster page loads next time you visit.

    • Application cache — also called the user cache, the app cache stores cached files that are created by all other user applications. This includes Apple’s own apps, such as Spotlight and Maps, and third-party software such as photo and video editing programs.

    • System cache as well as your browser and other apps, macOS itself stores cached files for quick Mac RAM access, allowing system services to run faster and more smoothly.

    What does clearing cached data do?

    Clearing your cache deletes unnecessary data and frees up disk space. It also removes personal data stored by sites or apps, refreshes browser content so what you see is the most updated version, and helps troubleshoot app issues so they run more smoothly.

    Consider for a moment every website you’ve ever visited online — every eshop, every social media profile, every search. That’s a lot of cached files, images, and videos stored on your computer, and you may not ever return to most of those sites.

    And that’s just your browser cache — there’s also your system and application caches. If you’ve never cleaned out your caches, you may have gigabytes of unnecessary files taking up space. That’s why regularly clearing the cache is a great way to help clean up your Mac. And a clean Mac is a faster Mac. The same goes for iOS devices — clear the cache and cookies on your iPhone or iPad for faster, smoother browsing. 

    Can I delete all my cache files on a Mac?

    No, you can’t delete your entire cache, because your computer accesses some cache files at all times. You can remove all cache files that aren’t actively in use, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Instead, delete all the browser cache files on your Mac, especially if you use multiple browsers.

    When it comes to the system and user (application) caches, you can delete the inactive cached files but shouldn’t do so indiscriminately. Recall that caches help things load faster the next time you need them. So if there’s an app you use frequently, such as a photo editor, you don’t necessarily want to purge its cache — especially if you’re in the middle of a project. Your system cache also generally stores what it needs to run and doesn’t need to be completely cleared most of the time.

    You’ll generally need to clear the system or application caches only when you’re troubleshooting a problem or running critically low on space.

    Is it safe to delete cache files on a Mac?

    While it’s safe and easy to delete cache files from all browsers on a Mac, you need to be careful when deleting the system cache or user cache.

    If you’re looking to more securely protect your personal information, you should also consider deleting your browsing history and clearing your cookies.

    For an easier solution, use a dedicated cleaning app such as Avast Cleanup for Mac, which will root out the unnecessary files hanging around on your system. It’ll easily identify the files you can delete right away, while making sure you save everything that’s needed for your computer to run properly — including your favorite photos, songs, and other important files.

    Avast Cleanup scans your Mac for application caches, log files, and other junk so you can free up space.

    With Avast Cleanup, you’ll quickly and easily find all the cache files, log files, and junk data stuck in Trash and Downloads, and more. Streamline your Mac and enjoy tons of newfound extra space.

    Cache clearing made simple with Avast Cleanup for Mac

    While clearing your cache seems simple, it’s not always as easy as you might think. You can clear your browser cache in seconds, but it’ll start to build up again immediately. And when it comes to system and application caches, unless you’re an advanced user, it’s best not to mess around with folders that might accidentally break something.

    A dedicated computer maintenance solution like Avast Cleanup for Mac can help you by deleting your browser cache automatically and taking care of unnecessary files without deleting anything important.

    Avast Cleanup for Mac frees up gigabytes of space so you have more room for the files you care about.

    Want a few gigabytes of extra space instantly? Avast Cleanup will get rid of all the unnecessary data on your system while making sure you’ve saved the files you actually care about.

    In addition to caches, crash reports, log files, and old downloads, Avast Cleanup also frees up tons of space by helping you pare down your photo collection. You can find duplicate and low-quality photos and save only your favorites.

    You can also easily delete other large files you’ve accidentally saved twice, movies and TV shows you’ve already watched, and other unnecessary files. Get Avast Cleanup for automatic maintenance to keep your Mac running lean and clean.


    What is cache?

    Cache is a type of temporary storage from which data can be accessed quickly and efficiently. The files stored in your system cache, browser cache, and application cache form part of “Other” storage on Mac. But if too much of your cache is bloatware and other junk, performance will suffer. Cleaning up your Mac can help speed up your Mac too.

    What happens if I delete all cache files on Mac?

    Deleting all your cache files will free up lots of storage space, but the removal of critical system and application files could cause performance issues. Clearing your browser cache is almost always beneficial, but it’s best to leave the system and application caches alone unless you’re an expert or resolving a technical issue.

    Should I clear cache on Mac?

    Deleting your Mac cache is vital for keeping your machine running smoothly. Emptying your browser cache is a great way to reclaim storage space, but you need to be careful with your system and user caches, because deleting critical system files or application data that’s currently in use could cause your computer to crash.

    How do I find the cache on Mac?

    You can navigate directly to the folder containing your Mac's cached files through Finder > Go > Go to Folder. Then, type ~/Library/Caches in the window and hit Enter.

    How do I clear cache in Safari on Mac?

    You can clear your Safari browser cache using the Command + Option + E keyboard shortcut. Or you can use the Safari settings menu, where you can tweak other preferences such as allowing or blocking pop-ups and enabling or disabling cookies.

    How can I delete cache and cookies in any Mac browser?

    Cookies and cache data can be managed via the Safari Preferences privacy tab. If you use a dedicated browser cleaner tool, you can delete browser cookies, clear browser history, or clear cache on iPad or Mac in any browser, at the click of a button.

    What does it mean to clear (“flush”) a Mac DNS cache?

    Clearing or “flushing” a Mac’s DNS cache using the Terminal application permanently deletes the cached data. The DNS cache records internet activity that can be used to view incognito browsing history and other private browsing data.

    Is it safe to delete cache files on Mac?

    It’s safe to delete cache data on Mac, especially browser cache. If your browser is running slowly, or you’re looking to remove junk and uninstall apps to make space, deleting the cache helps. But remember that cache files generally help your Mac work faster, and deleting cache data while an open application is in use will likely slow things down.

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    Nica Latto