How to clear your iPhone cache in Safari, Chrome and Firefox

If your iPhone is running slowly, it’s worth trying to clear the cache to speed it up.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Your iPhone is at its best when it’s snapping from app to app and whipping open internet tabs. But sometimes the shortcuts it uses to stay fast can slow things down over time. Clearing your cache is a quick way to speed things up again.

Typically, visiting a website requires your phone to download information like photos, banners and other data. To help speed up that process, most internet browsers will store some of that data in a cache so it’s easier to retrieve. Think about it like storing a 24-pack of beverages in your fridge so you don’t have to trek to the grocery store every time you want a drink. In small doses, it’s convenient. 

Things become less convenient when your browser’s cache gets outdated, and the data being retrieved no longer matches the data actually being used on the website. The result? Slower load speeds and wonky website formatting. That’s why clearing your cache can help: It gives sites a fresh start in your browser and frees up some space in your storage. 

Note that clearing your cache will sign you out of sites you’re currently logged into. Still, it’s generally worth that mild inconvenience every now and then to keep things moving quickly. 

Here are step-by-step guides on how to clear your cache on your iPhone, based on which browser you use. 

Read more: 16 iPhone settings you’ll wonder why you didn’t change sooner

How to clear your iPhone cache in Safari

Safari is the default browser on iPhones, and you can clear your cache in a few short steps. Note that, starting with iOS 11, following this process will affect all devices signed into your iCloud account. As a result all your devices’ caches will be cleared, and you’ll need to sign into everything the next time you use them. Here’s what to do:

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

2. Select Safari from the list of apps.

3. Scroll down and select Clear History and Website Data.

4. Confirm your selection in the popup box.

Then you’re set!

Read more: Best iPhone 2021: We looked at all 7 models Apple sells to decide which is best 

How to clear your iPhone cache in Chrome

Google Chrome internet browser

It’s easy to clear the cache on your iPhone in Chrome.

James Martin/CNET

Chrome is another popular browser for iPhone users. The overall process for clearing your Chrome cache requires a few more steps, and you’ll need to do things through the Chrome browser itself. Here’s how. 

1. Open the Chrome app.

2. Select the three dots in the bottom right to open more options.

3. Scroll down and select Settings.

4. Select Privacy in the next menu.

5. Then select Clear Browsing Data to open up one last menu.

6. Select the intended time range at the top of the menu (anywhere from Last Hour to All Time).

7. Make sure that Cookies, Site Data is selected, along with Cached Images and Files. Finally, hit Clear Browsing Data at the bottom of the screen.

Read more: iOS 14.5 can stop apps from tracking you. Here’s how to get started

How to clear your iPhone cache in Firefox

If you’re a Firefox devotee, don’t worry. Clearing the cache on your iPhone is pretty straightforward. Just follow these steps. 

1. Click the hamburger menu in the bottom right corner to open up more options.

2. Select Privacy in the next menu.

3. Select Settings at the bottom of that menu.

4. Select Data Management.

5. You can select Website Data to clear data for individual sites, or select Clear Private Data at the bottom of the screen to clear data from all selected fields.

Read more: Slow Wi-Fi could mean your provider is throttling your internet. Here’s how to tell

What happens when you clear the cache? 

Clearing your cache removes the website data your phone stored locally to prevent having to download that data upon each new visit. The data in your cache builds over time and can end up slowing things down if it becomes too bulky. (My phone had about 150 MB of data stored in Chrome when I checked.) Clearing that data gives sites a fresh start, which may fix some loading errors and speed up your browser. However, clearing your cache also signs you out of pages, so be prepared to sign into everything again. 

How often do I need to clear my cache?

Most people don’t need to clear their caches more than once every month or two. That’s generally the point where your browser will build up a cache large enough to start slowing things down. If you frequent a large number of sites, you should err on the side of clearing your cache more often. 

For more, check out how to FaceTime between an iPhone and Android, how to download iOS 15 on your iPhone right now, and 5 creative, fun photo projects to try with your phone at home.

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