How to clear the cache on your iPhone (and why you should)

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Maria Diaz/ZDNET

How many tabs are open on your mobile browser right now? Go ahead, check — you might be surprised by what you find.

Americans spend over five hours a day on their smartphones. That’s over five hours of your phone potentially accessing, retrieving, and saving cache and cookies, which can negatively impact your iPhone’s storage space.

What is cache?

Cache is the temporary storage of some data, like parts of a website from the last time you visited it, for example. Browser cache is content from a website that is stored on your phone during a browser session to help the browser execute faster the next time you visit that page.

Also: How to clear Google search cache on Android

Cache data can slow down your phone’s overall browsing performance, however, since it takes up storage space on your device, so it’s good to clear it out regularly. In this article, we mainly focus on clearing web browser cache on an iPhone, but you should know that other types of cache include mobile app cache and CPU cache.

How to clear cache on iPhone

What you’ll need: Everything you need to clear your browser cache is within the iPhone’s settings app or the Safari app, so grab your iPhone to get started.

Keep in mind that clearing the cache can clear private data, which can close all open tabs in Safari. This is also likely to log you out of all your websites, prompting you to sign in again the next time you open them. 

To delete Safari’s cached data, open the Settings app on your iPhone. You can also do this directly in the Safari app, but we’ll show the process of getting an empty browser cache through iPhone Settings because this gives you more options.

Tap Settings to begin clearing the iPhone cache.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Within Settings, scroll down the list of options and apps until Safari comes up, then tap on it to access its settings.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

To clear the app cache, scroll down through the Safari options, until you find an option for Clear History and Website Data. Tap on it to get started clearing Safari’s cache.

Tap on the option highlighted above.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

A pop-up will appear; tap Clear History to confirm you want to delete Safari’s browsing history and cache.

After confirming, the browser cache and cookies in Safari will be deleted from your iPhone, but your autofill information should still be on your device. Cached images and browser history will also be deleted, and you’ll be logged out of any websites you were previously logged into. 

Your iPhone gives you the option to close all your open tabs or keep them open for when you reopen Safari, a feature that wasn’t available until recently. 

Tap on this again to confirm.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET


How do I clear the cache from Chrome on iPhone?

If Google Chrome is your preferred browser, it may have a substantial amount of data stored on your device, which could also slow down performance. 

To clear the cache in Chrome, open the Google Chrome app and follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Go to Privacy and Security.
  3. Select Clear Browsing Data.
  4. Select the time from which to delete the data (if you want to delete all your browsing history, choose All Time).
  5. Go through the items you’d like to delete, like your Browsing History, Cookies and Site Data, Cached Images and Files, Saved Passwords, and Autofill Data.
  6. Confirm by tapping Clear Browsing Data at the bottom of the screen.
  7. Tap Done when you’ve deleted the Chrome cache.

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Clearing the browsing and cache data in Google Chrome doesn’t close all open tabs, but it will refresh each tab and log you out of websites. Once you tap on one of the tabs you want to access, you’ll have to log back in.

How can I browse on Safari without history?

If you’re learning how to clear cache on an iPhone, you may also be wondering if there’s a way to use Safari without saving any browsing history. You can turn on Private Browsing by following these steps:

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Tap on Tabs.
  3. Choose Private.

You can also enable private browsing by going to your iPhone Settings, finding Safari, and toggling on the private option. 

How do I clear my app cache on my iPhone?

To clear the app cache from your iPhone Settings app, you can either delete the app and reinstall it, offload it, or try to clear the cache from within the app. Unfortunately, iOS apps don’t have consistent settings across the board that would allow you to clear the cache of every app.

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Apps like TikTok and CapCut, for example, have options to Clear Cache within their respective settings. Amazon lets users delete their browsing history, while the Reddit app can clear local history. It all depends on what the app’s settings let you do. 

Is “clear cache” the same as offloading?

Not exactly, though app offloading can help if your phone is slowed down by low storage. To offload an app means to uninstall an app without deleting any documents or data associated with it. 

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To offload an app, go to Settings, then General, choose iPhone Storage and select the app to offload, then tap Offload App. If you ever download it again, you’ll pick up where you left off for that app.

Are cookies and cache the same thing?

Cookies and cache are not the same. Cookies are data files that websites send to your phone, including things like saved passwords to keep you logged into an account or even the website preferences from the previous time you visited. 

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Though they do sound harmless, cookies can also track how you browse the internet. They monitor patterns in your browsing and search history, even seeing what you clicked on or what your mouse hovered over. Ever made an innocuous search on Amazon only to find ads for it on all the apps you use? Cookies likely made that possible.

Can I block cookies on my iPhone?

While you can block cookies on Safari, the ranks are divided on whether you should. Blocking cookies entirely means that websites won’t be able to get information from you, but it also means that some websites may not even work correctly on your browser. A lot of users actually enjoy a more personalized browsing experience, so cookies are a good thing for them.

 If you’d like to block cookies in Safari, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings and select Safari.
  2. Tap on the toggle next to Block All Cookies.

There are also third-party extensions that help you block cookies and trackers in Google Chrome, like Ghostery and Disconnect.

How do I check iPhone storage?

On an iPhone, Settings can show you what’s taking up most of your media storage, like photos, videos, and music. You can also see what each particular app’s storage consumption is, which includes temporary data. To view the details of your iPhone’s storage space, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the iPhone Settings.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Select iPhone Storage.
  4. Scroll through to find the app you’re looking for.
  5. Tap on the app to view storage status and options.

Unfortunately, you can’t clear your iPhone cache for third-party apps by going into your Settings app, but this gives you a visual of your iPhone’s storage and the option to delete or offload apps.

Also: Here’s the fastest way to declutter your iPhone and free up Gigabytes of space

When you look at your device’s storage space, you’ll probably see recommended steps you can take to optimize your iPhone’s storage, like offloading unused apps.

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