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How To Clear Cache on Android: Step-by-Step Guide

a green robot next to a cell phone

It is essential to know how to control what data is saved on your phone, and one way is by understanding how to clear your browser cache. iPhones have a unique method of clearing a browser cache, but Android OS also has a distinct process across the many phones that use the operating system. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to clear your cache on Android, with some extra tips and tricks in case you run into trouble along the way.

What Is a Cache?

When talking about Android smartphones, cache simply refers to temporary files stored by your phone’s apps and the Chrome browser. 

Your phone caches these files to speed up its performance. This includes bits and pieces from your Android apps, like Facebook or Instagram, which help them load faster.

Now, among cache types are different kinds of cache-clearing. These include:

  • App Cache: Here, we’re dealing with the cache of individual apps on your Android device, such as social media. Doing this can clear storage and potentially boost app functionality.
  • App Data Clearing: This involves wiping out all data within an app, not just the cache. 
  • Chrome Cache: For Chrome users, clearing the Chrome cache means getting rid of temporary internet files, which can claw back some storage space.

Remember, clearing your cache in apps like Facebook or YouTube means saying goodbye to those temporary files, but your essential data and preferences are safely stored in the cloud. 

So whether you’re using a Samsung Galaxy or another Android smartphone, understanding and managing your cache is key to keeping your device running smoothly.

Why Clear My Cache Files?

Whenever you use a browser, information is saved from websites in its cache and cookies. Saving this information allows you to get a streamlined user experience, as these sites will remember some of your information and load the page faster. 

On the other hand, hackers and companies can target cookies and cached data to sell your personal information. Beyond the issue of privacy, this data can also cause loading and formatting issues on certain websites. Regularly clearing your cache can alleviate all of these issues. 

Clearing Your Browser Cache on Android

Let’s talk about how to clear your browser cache on your Android smartphone. 

1. Open Your Browser App 

Open your preferred web browser on your Android device. This could be Chrome, Firefox, or any third-party apps you’ve installed for browsing the web.

2. Locate Browser Settings

Next, open settings, which are typically symbolized by three dots or lines. You can find this in the top right corner of your screen.

3. Go to History

Your browsing history is a running tab of where you’ve been and what you’ve seen online. One might want to clear this information for a number of reasons, from privacy concerns to phone performance issues.

4. Clear Browsing Data

Look for an option that reads “Clear browsing data” or something similar. 

Just keep in mind that once you initiate the clearing of your cache, you can’t get it back. So if there’s a website in your history that you might not be able to remember (and isn’t bookmarked), it’s probably a good idea to go through your history and make a note of it.

5. Select “Cached Images and Files”

When you tap clear “Cached Images and Files,” you’re choosing to clear those temporary files that your browser has been hoarding.

6. Choose a Time Range

You may be prompted to select a time range from a drop-down to select how far back you want to clear your cache. This can range from the last hour to the beginning of your browsing time.

By following these steps, you free up storage on your device and ensure a smoother, faster experience. Clearing your browser cache can also resolve issues with web pages not loading correctly. 

And remember, while clearing your phone’s cache, you might also encounter options to clear your cookies and search history. Regularly cleaning your Android cache and managing notifications and other settings can enhance your phone’s performance.

Clearing Your App Cache on Android

Your browser is not the only thing on your phone with a cache for storing data. Individual apps also have a cache, and sometimes clearing it can improve your phone’s performance or free up some space. It should be noted that clearing an app’s storage in addition to your cache will clear all saved data and all passwords.

Some apps are not meant to be cleared, like games saved locally on your device or accounts with passwords you do not want to memorize. That being said, if you are interested in clearing your app cache, here is how it works. 

1. Locate Your App Cache

Not every Android user will access their app cache the same way. This is because different versions of Android require different steps to locate it. Fortunately, they’re all mostly very similar. Yours should be located within the settings menu. Tap storage and then the apps button. It should be pretty straightforward.

2. Find the Biggest Files in Your App Cache

When scrolling through all of your apps, they should indicate how much data they take up under their title. Scrolling through this menu is a good idea if you are trying to figure out which apps are eating away at your storage capacity.

3. Clear the Cache for Individual Apps

The process above efficiently clears the cache for whichever app you choose. By scrolling through your apps, you can pick and choose which ones might benefit from a cache purge. You can sort how your apps are displayed to make your life easier. Tapping on the three-dot menu under your phone’s app storage, you should see an option that reads, “Sort by size.” 

As it suggests, you can toggle how your installed apps are displayed on the screen. This will list them from largest to smallest, so you can easily troubleshoot which apps are the biggest offenders of hogging precious cache.

Can You Clear Your Cache in App Settings?

While clearing a browser cache should be done from the app itself, clearing your app cache should be done from your settings app on your Android device. 

How Often Should You Clear Your Browser Cache?

There’s no one answer for how often you should clear your browser cache. Most internet experts say to do it as often as you need to – if you’re running into page load issues, or your phone performance is lagging unexpectedly. As a rough rule of thumb, you can aim for about once monthly. 

On your browser, you can ask it not to track your data. This can improve your privacy and minimize the amount of data each app stores. Your cache can help save passwords and make your browser run faster, so if you can avoid a full sweep, you should.

However, if you want your browser to be a completely blank slate with none of your data, you can clear your cache at the end of each day.

How Often Should You Clear Your App Cache?

Clearing an app cache is a different story. App caches can contain important passwords and data info. The best time to clear them is when you need the extra space, and you should only do it if you know clearing it would make a substantial difference. You can also clear your cache if the app is starting to bug out or will not start, as this could be a solution. 

The Bottom Line

Clearing your data and caches can keep your phone running smoothly, but make sure you do it correctly. If, despite clearing your cache, your Android phone isn’t running as smoothly as you’d like, maybe it’s time for a new phone.

If that’s the case, our free, unbiased Phone Deal Finder can help. Simply answer a few quick questions, and we’ll show you the best Android phone deals at your current carrier compared to offers you qualify for at other top providers.

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