How to clear cache files on Mac

So, you’ve heard you need to clear cache files on Mac. But you only have a vague idea why and you can’t even pinpoint exactly what cache files actually are. So before you start deleting, you must understand why and what you are removing. Cache files are both extremely necessary and utterly useless after a while, as they become a storage killer, dragging your Mac’s performance to a laughable speed.

How come? Read on to find out everything about cache files and how to clear them to regain your Mac’s full capabilities.

What is cached data?

Cache is basically a technical data that is stored when an app, browser or system performs a task. Cache files serve a vital function as they contain a “shortcut” to a task in order to perform it faster the next time.

How much space is Mac cache taking up?

The answer is: it depends. However, with so many types of cache data, chances are a lot of your vital storage space is going to be eaten up. Here’s an overview of the three main categories of cache data:

  • Browser cache – this is the most common type known to almost every Mac user. The browser stores cache data from websites you visit, including your browsing history. Many users clear their browser cache to primarily secure their privacy, not realizing they are also freeing up essential space.
  • System cache – this is the cache data created by the built-in system services that run your Mac’s OS.
  • App (or User) cache – finally, this stands for data created by all the apps that you use. It includes apps that came with your OS (like Mail) as well as third-party apps (like Photoshop).

Why should you clear cache on Mac?

Old cache files that remain latent in the system do nothing but piling up, cluttering your system folders. What was initially useful becomes a drag, slowing down your Mac through all the wasted space it is taking up.To make it even worse, undeleted cache data also leads to task conflicts and other system issues. And this is not anyone’s idea of a healthy Mac.

Take the example of browser cache. Browsers cache images from visited websites to load a site faster the next time you visit it, escaping the need to download the images again and saving you time. But that’s only temporary, because in the long run, undeleted cache files will do the exact opposite, slowing your Mac down.

App caches have the most storage-saving potential – it wouldn’t be surprising to clear up gigabytes of space when cleaning app caches. As to browser cache and system cache, they are smaller in weight, holding some dozens of megabytes. Yet, in some cases they may take up up to several gigs.

How to clear cache on Mac

The good news is there are lots of different options to clear cache on your Mac. You can opt for some manual methods, if you’re the one who likes to dig into system settings, or go with the automatic solution, if you’re looking for quick and painless result.

Now, if you’re ready to finally get down to business, we’re going to walk you through both the manual and the automatic solutions to clear your cache.


Cleaning app cache and system cache on Mac

It’s staggering how much space can in fact be occupied by app/user cache on Mac. Wondering how much storage you’ve lost already? Well, it’s different for everyone, but it’s safe to assume several gigabytes at the very least. System caches doesn’t waste that much, yet they are still “heavy” enough. Luckily, you can clear the both types in the same fashion.

Below we will show where exactly these cache files are lurking around your Mac. But please be careful — if you accidentally delete the wrong file, you may run into trouble.

To play it safe, backup the folders mentioned in the steps below. If everything works as it should, you can later delete these backups. Or you can skip the manual steps and go straight to Quick Tip (the safe and easy option).

Quick tip to delete app caches manually

How to delete system cache and unwanted app data manually

To delete system and app cache manually, follow these steps:

  • Open Finder and select Go > Go to Folder
  • Type in ~/Library/Caches and hit Enter
  • Backup the folders if you are worried about something going wrong
  • Keep the folders, but go into each one and delete the files inside

How to delete system cache files manually

Sorry to tell you, but we’re not finished yet. There are a few more folders and to remove them completely just follow the same steps, but this time go to /Library/Caches (without the ~). When you’re done, just empty the Trash to finish the job.

Quick tip to delete system caches

Quick Tip: get rid of system/app caches in one click

Clearing app caches manually is a tough nut to crack. To do the job in a fraction of the time (and without the risk of losing something important), you can fire up a dedicated cache cleaner app, CleanMyMac X. It will find and clear all your app caches blazing fast.

See how easy it is with these steps:

  • Open CleanMyMac
  • Click on System Junk
  • Click on the big Scan button
  • When it’s done scanning, click Clean

Delete system junk with CleanMyMac X


How to clear Internet cache on Mac

Clearing browser cache has two good things about it: it frees up space for your Mac to run faster and it removes your browsing history, making sure nobody ever finds your digital trail. Since each browser deals with caches differently, we’ve broken the cache-clearing solutions to three main browsers – Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

If you’re uncomfortable deleting cache manually, and prefer a less time-consuming approach, you can skip down to “How to clear all browser cache easily” to remove all your browser caches in one go.

How to empty cache in Safari

In Safari, clearing cache is as easy as it gets. Just go to History and click Clear History in the menu bar. Your cache and website history will be cleared immediately. If you prefer knowing exactly what you’re clearing, you can do that with a few more steps.

To empty cache on Safari with manual methods:

  • Go to Safari > Preferences
  • Select the Advanced tab
  • Enable Show Develop menu
  • Go to the Develop section in menu bar
  • Click on Empty Caches

Empty Safari caches manually

How to clear browser cache in Chrome

When it comes to Chrome, clearing cache on Mac requires the following steps:

  • Click the Google Chrome settings icon in the top right browser window
  • Choose Settings
  • Choose History and click Clear browsing data
  • Make sure Cached images and files are checked
  • Choose the Beginning of Time to clear all your cache
  • Click Clear browsing data button to finish

Empty Chrome browser caches manually

How to delete cache in Firefox

And here’s for Firefox users (it’s even simpler than with the previous two). Just proceed with the following:

  • Navigate to History > Clear Recent History
  • Select Everything from the time range menu
  • Click the arrow next to Details and make sure only Cache is checked
  • Click Clear Now

Empty Firefox caches manually

How to clear all browser cache easily

So you decided to ditch the manual way and skipped to the automatic method. Congratulations! This is the quickest and safest way to remove browser cache. Instead of doing it manually through your browser settings, you can gain full control over all your cache and history data with CleanMyMac X. It’s an easy cache cleaner that will do the job like a charm. Follow these steps to clear all your browser caches:

  • Run CleanMyMac and go to the Privacy module
  • See all your browsers listed, select any of them
  • Tick items you want to clean
  • Finally click Remove to clear your browser

Delete all browser caches with CleanMyMac X

A final reason to clear cache on Mac

Cache data works wonders for your Mac and system, but over time it can pile up and slow down your Mac’s performance, taking up the increasing amounts of space.

Hopefully, our guide will be everything you needed and more to free up gigabytes of valuable space and reclaim it by cleaning cache.

Best of all, we’ve also revealed how an automatic cache cleaner like CleanMyMac X makes removing cache as easy as a child’s play.

Let us know how it goes!