If you surf the Internet a lot, you might notice that your web browser is getting slower and more prone to crashing or freezing. The culprit could be a burgeoning browser cache, so it’s worth taking the time to clear the cache in Google Chrome or whatever browser you are using.
Web browsers like Google Chrome and Safari are veritable mainstays of everyone’s computer and mobile device, without which accessing the web is virtually impossible. These browsers can be quickly launched on your device to let you search on Google, shop on Amazon, read the latest news, check the football scores, and do many other activities online.
Google Chrome and other web browsers have what we call a “cache,” which is a temporary storage location that collects copies of data and files from the websites that you visited. The browser uses the cache to process and serve data quicker when accessing frequently visited websites. So the next time you visit a website, the browser will simply retrieve the existing data from its cache instead of getting it from the website’s server, resulting in a faster browsing experience.
Over time, the cache grows bigger and bigger, causing your browser to become sluggish and to throw off errors. In some cases, the browser may hang up or crash in the middle of a browsing session. This is because the bigger the size of the cache, the more memory your browser consumes. And with less available memory on your device, your applications will tend to crash or freeze more frequently.
Computer experts recommend that you clear your browser’s cache from time to time to prevent unexpected crashes and annoying errors. Just like cleaning your car, clearing the cache in Google Chrome will make your browser look and feel like new. You will be able to open and visit websites quicker and you will no longer have to deal with crashes and errors (that is, if you clear the cache regularly).
In this article, we’ll teach you how to clear the cache in Google Chrome for both desktop and mobile devices, as well as how to select which type of browsing data to delete in Chrome.
Table of Contents
- How to Clear the Cache in Google Chrome (Desktop)
- Step 1: Click the Chrome menu icon
- Step 2: Select “Clear Browsing Data”
- Step 3: Select the data that you wish to delete
- Step 4: Choose the time range (optional)
- Step 5: Select “Advanced” to view more advanced options (optional)
- Step 6: Click “Clear data”
- Quick Summary on How to Clear the Cache in Chrome (Desktop)
- How to Clear the Cache in Google Chrome (Android)
- How to Clear the Cache in Google Chrome (iOS)
- How Often Should You Clear the Browser Cache?
- Wrapping Up
How to Clear the Cache in Google Chrome (Desktop)
Clearing the cache in Google Chrome is so easy and usually takes less than a minute. Once you’ve learned how to clear the browser cache, you will soon be doing it from memory. Follow this step-by-step guide to clear the cache in Chrome:
The first thing you have to do is to click that little menu icon near the upper-right corner of the screen. It looks like an ellipsis with three vertical dots. Refer to the screenshot below for the exact location of the icon.
Step 2: Select “Clear Browsing Data”
After clicking the ellipsis icon, the Chrome dropdown menu will appear. Navigate to “More tools” and on the sub-menu, click “Clear browsing data…”
Take note that, instead of using the dropdown menu, you can type the shortcut keys Ctrl + Shift + Del on your keyboard to clear the cache in Google Chrome.
Step 3: Select the data that you wish to delete
Now you can choose which type of browsing data that you wish to clear in Google Chrome. Leave the box checked if you want to delete the data, or uncheck it to opt out of clearing.
- Browsing history – A history of all webpages that you visited during a time period. Selecting this will also clear the search box in Google and the Chrome address bar.
- Cookies and other site data – Leave this box checked to clear cookies and other site data. This will sign you out of most sites where you were previously logged in.
- Cached images and files – Leave this box checked to delete cached images and files. Some sites will load slower on your next visit.
We recommend unchecking “Cookies and other site data” so that you will stay signed in to important websites such as your email and social media accounts. If you choose to clear cookies, you will have to login again to your accounts one by one.
Step 4: Choose the time range (optional)
You also have the option to select the time range for the data that you wish to delete from the Chrome cache. Just click the “Time range” dropdown field and choose from any of these options:
- Last hour – Clear the browsing data collected during the past hour.
- Last 24 hours – Clear the data collected during the past day.
- Last 7 days – Clear the data accumulated during the past week.
- Last 4 weeks – Clear the browsing data collected during the past month.
- All time – Delete all browsing data and history from the very beginning.
Step 5: Select “Advanced” to view more advanced options (optional)
Aside from browsing history, cookies, and cached images and files, you can also clear other cached data by clicking the “Advanced” tab. Check the appropriate box to delete the data or uncheck it to leave the data cached.
- Download history – Check this box to clear the list of files that you downloaded in Chrome.
- Passwords and other sign-in data – Check this box to delete all saved passwords in Chrome as well as other sign-in data.
- Autofill form data – Check this box to clear cached data that is used to automatically fill out online forms.
- Site settings – Check to remove saved settings of websites you visited.
- Hosted app data – This refers to data of apps that you downloaded from the Chrome Web Store (e.g. Gmail, Microsoft Office).
Step 6: Click “Clear data”
After selecting the type of data to delete and the time range, click “Clear data” to clear the cache in Google Chrome.
Depending on the size of the browser cache and your computer’s processing power, it may take a few seconds to a minute for Chrome to completely clear the cache, so please be patient.
Quick Summary on How to Clear the Cache in Chrome (Desktop)
- Click the menu icon on the upper-right corner of the Chrome browser.
- Navigate to “More tools” on the dropdown menu.
- Click “Clear browsing data…” on the sub-menu.
- Select the data that you want to delete by checking its box.
- Choose the time range by clicking the “Time range” dropdown field (Optional).
- Click the “Advanced” tab to see more advanced options (Optional).
- Click “Clear data” to clear the cache in Chrome.
How to Clear the Cache in Google Chrome (Android)
Google Chrome is not only for desktop computer users; it’s also available as a mobile app on Android. If you’re an Android smartphone user and you’d like to know how to clear the cache in Chrome, read on to learn how.
Here’s how to clear the Chrome cache on Android (see the accompanying screenshots for reference):
- Click the menu icon on the upper-right corner of the Chrome application.
- Click “History” on the dropdown menu.
- Tap “Clear browsing data” on the History screen.
- Choose the type of data that you want to delete by checking its box.
- Select the time range by tapping the dropdown field (Optional).
- Select the “Advanced” tab to see more advanced options (Optional).
- Tap the “Clear data” button to clear the cache in Chrome.
How to Clear the Cache in Google Chrome (iOS)
The mobile Chrome browser on iOS devices has a significantly different user interface compared to the Android variant, so we’ve included a short guide on how to clear the Chrome cache on the iPhone and the iPad.
Follow these steps to clear the Chrome cache on iOS (see the accompanying screenshots for reference):
- Click your profile photo on the upper-right corner of the Chrome app.
- Tap “Privacy and Security” on the Settings screen.
- Tap “Clear Browsing Data” on the Privacy and Security screen.
- Select the type of data that you want to delete. A checkmark indicates that a selection.
- Select the time range by tapping the “Time Range” field (Optional).
- Tap “Clear Browsing Data” to clear the cache in Chrome.
How Often Should You Clear the Browser Cache?
The answer is: it depends.
Most computer experts recommend clearing the browser cache once a month. But it depends on how often you use Google Chrome to surf the web. Power users who visit hundreds of webpages a day will accumulate more browsing data than people who surf the web for only a few minutes daily. If you are the former, you might want to clear the cache once every week or two.
Clearing the cache not only keeps your browser in optimal condition, but also reduces security and privacy risks. Smartphone users should clear their browser cache more frequently than desktop users, as mobile phones are more liable to get lost or stolen. By clearing the cache regularly, you’ll minimize the amount of data that might be exposed in case of loss or theft of your phone.
Clearing the browser cache is such a simple and easy task but one that has a positive effect on your Internet browsing experience. Regularly clearing your cache in Chrome ensures that it remains fast and lightweight so that you can surf the web with hardly a hitch. Don’t wait for the browser cache to grow large enough to cause crashes and errors. Take the time to clear the cache and delete old browsing data, and your computer will thank you for it.