Mac Performance

How to Clear Cache on Mac to Optimize its Performance

Macs, like all computers, use caches to help them maintain performance. Quite simply caches are areas where computers temporarily store data that they’ll likely need again soon. Operating systems like macOS have caches, but so do individual apps. Web browsers have caches, for example, where they store content from web pages, so when you return to those pages, your browser doesn’t have to load that content again. That makes browsing faster and reduces the load on websites.  


Usually, caches are helpful, and most of the time, you shouldn’t need to touch them. But there are times when you’ll want to clear them out. In this guide, we’ll show you how to do just that.  


Before we start


One of the quickest and easiest ways to clear cached files on your Mac is to use MacKeeper. It lets you find and safely remove cached data in just a couple of clicks. And it includes other optimization tools like a Memory Cleaner, so you can give your Mac an instant speed boost. Check it out to see what else it can do.  

What is cache?

In the computing world, cache (pronounced “cash”) is a temporary data storage location that fast tracks the retrieval of data. Essentially, it allows your browser to load websites you've previously visited faster. It achieves this by storing data in a hardware that can be accessed fast (like random access memory). As a result, cache eliminates the need to tap into the data’s core storage location, which speeds up the response time.

Why delete Mac caches?

Caches are generally good for your Mac, but they can cause issues too:  

  1. If they grow too large, they can affect your Mac’s speed, particularly if you have an older slower machine
  2. They can also end up hogging disk space that could be put to better use
  3. Cached data may also become corrupted, causing your Mac to behave unpredictably
  4. Cached data may contain private information that you don’t want other people to see. That can include information you’ve entered into web forms, your browsing history, and so on

If any of these things happen, then it can be a good idea to clear caches on your Mac.

Is it safe to delete Mac caches?

It’s good to be careful about deleting stuff from your Mac, but it’s generally safe to remove cached data. You shouldn’t run into any major issues if you delete cached files from system-level (/Library/Caches/) and user-level folders (~/Library/Caches/).


You will have to be more careful when deleting cached files in apps, though, because some developers store important files in the cache folders. Make a copy of all the folders, so you can reinstate them in case you encounter issues. Be wary of deleting cache files from apps you’re actively using, as you run the risk of deleting your work or progress.


If you're in any doubt, use a cleaning tool like MacKeeper. It checks which files are safe to delete, so you don't accidentally remove essential files.

How to clear your Mac’s system cache

Most Mac apps create temporary cache data. These files can range from tiny to quite large files, depending on what they’re for and what app created them. In any case, these files can end up cluttering up your disk space and slowing down your Mac. For that reason, you might want to clear your Mac’s system cache every now and then.  


Here’s how to delete your Mac’s system cache:

1. In Finder, select Go > Go to Folder

go to folder option

2. Enter ~/Library/Caches in the window that appears

go to folder ~/Library/Caches pasted

3. Click Go, and you’ll be taken to your Caches folder

caches folder

4. This takes you to the cache folder. Now, just delete anything you don’t want

delete items from the caches folder

How to clear app caches

Individual Mac apps may also have their own file caches. Depending on which app you’re talking about, these can potentially end up using a lot of disk space. Clearing these out can be a good way to get back some storage.


Clearing up individual app caches is often straightforward:

  1. In Finder, select Go > Go to Finder
  2. Enter ~/Library/Caches  
  3. Click Go
  4. Look for files that include the name of the app you’re looking for
  5. Drag them to the Trash, and empty it

How to delete Mac browser caches

Cached files usually speed up your web browsing experience, saving you bandwidth at the same time. You may occasionally want to clear your Mac’s browser caches because they can end up using a lot of disk space unnecessarily. Deleting your browser’s cache will also hide your online activity, protecting your privacy.  


Clearing browser caches is usually easy. Here’s how it’s done in different web browsers:

In Safari

Safari speeds up your browsing experience by storing website data. This data builds up and clogs up your browser. Fortunately, clearing cache on Safari is a straightforward process. Learn how to clear Safari cache on Mac. After clearing Safari cache, you’ll be signed out of some websites, and others will take a bit longer to load.  

On Chrome  

Chrome is the primary browser of approximately 2.65 billion people around the world. This makes it one of the more popular browsers. Every time you seamlessly open a website you’ve visited before, it’s because of Chrome’s use of caches. If you do this often, you'll rack up a lot of cache.


Follow the steps below to clear cache on Chrome:


1. In the Chrome browser, click the three-dot menu in the top-right corner


2. Select More tools > Clear browsing data

clear browsing data option in Chrome

3. Pick the Time range by clicking the drop-down arrow. Alternatively, choose All time to clear all cache


4. Select both Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files, and click the Clear data button at the bottom.

clear browsing data settings on Mac

In Firefox

Firefox, like Safari and Chrome, uses caches to offer you a seamless browsing experience. If you use Firefox regularly, it’s advisable to clear your cache to help decongest your browser and improve its performance.


Follow the guide below to clear caches in Firefox:


1. In the Firefox browser, go to menu > Settings > Privacy & Security > Clear Data  

data clearing settings in Firefox

2. Deselect Cookies and Site Data (ensure Cached Web Content is selected) and select Clear.

clear cache setting in Firefox

Using a Mac cache cleaner

As we’ve already mentioned, deleting Mac caches isn’t usually difficult, but there’s also a risk you might delete the wrong thing. Not to mention manually clearing caches is a fiddly, time-consuming process, especially if you have a lot of different apps and web browsers to think about.


With MacKeeper, you can delete cached files from your Mac in just a few clicks:

1. In MacKeeper, select Safe Cleanup

mackeeper safe cleanup

2. Click Start scan

Start Scan

3. When the scan is finished, click Caches to see different caches you can clean

mackeeper safe cleanup scan results

4. Review the results, select what you want to delete, then click Clean junk files

clean caches using mackeeper

And that’s all it takes to clear out cached files from your Mac. Using a tool like MacKeeper means you can remove these temporary files without having to worry about deleting the wrong thing. But you can do it manually too if you have the time and you know what you’re doing.  



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