How To Clear Cache on a Mac.
Web browsers, native apps, third-party programs, and system services are constantly creating file caches on your Mac. These caches do take up storage space, but they also help speed things up. For example, the next time you go to Switch to Mac, your browser will load it much faster due to the cached site data. Likewise, this applies to pretty much everything you do on your Mac.
Cached files are also typically cleaned up and updated by the programs and services that create them. Regardless, you will still encounter a fair amount of outdated, corrupted or bloated caches that lead to crashes, slowdowns, and a host of other issues. In such a case, you need to manually clear the cache on your Mac.
Browsers have built-in cache clearing mechanisms that make the whole process quick and painless. Clearing the app and system caches does take some work, however.
If your goal is to free up storage, you should consider deleting cached files only after you have completed all the other disk cleanup options.
How to clear browser cache on Mac
If websites are not loading or not working as expected, clearing your browser cache is often the first thing you should do to fix the problem. Here’s how to clear browser cache in Safari and Google Chrome.
Clear browser cache in Safari
By default, Safari does not display an option to clear browser cache. So, first you have to show it.
1. Launch Safari. Then open the Safari menu and choose Preferences.
2. Click the Advanced tab and select the Show development menu on menu bar check box.
3. Open the Develop menu (which you should now see in the menu bar), and then select Clear Caches.
Clear browser cache in Chrome
If you’re using Chrome instead of Safari, clearing your browser cache is relatively easy.
1. Open a new Chrome tab and press Shift + Command + Delete to open the Clear Browsing Data screen.
2. Select the Cached Images and Files option, set the Time Range to All Time, and then select Clear Data.
Optional – flush DNS cache
The DNS (Domain Name Service) cache on your Mac helps browsers quickly find and connect to web addresses. If Safari or Chrome still won’t load websites, an outdated DNS cache might be causing the problem. In this case, clearing it will force your Mac to get the most recent DNS data.
1. Press Command + Space to open Spotlight Search. Then enter “Terminal” and press “Enter”.
2. Enter the following command in the Terminal window and press Enter.
sudo killall -UP mDNSResponder
3. Enter the administrator password and press Enter to clear the DNS cache.
How to Clear Application Cache on Mac
Clearing the application cache on your Mac can fix problems with programs and native system components (Mail, Messages, Maps, etc.). While it’s perfectly safe to do so, we still recommend that you back up your Mac before proceeding. After that, you should be able to restore it if something goes wrong.
1. Close all open applications. Then open Finder and press Command + Shift + G to open the Go to Folder window.
2. Enter ~ / Library / Caches (don’t forget the tilde at the beginning) and click Go to open the application cache.
3. Press Command + A to select all files and folders, then right-click and select “Move to Trash” to delete the entire application cache.
Then restart your Mac. Then right-click the trash can icon in the dock and select Empty Trash to free up space associated with deleted files.
How to clear the system cache on Mac
Clearing the application cache allows you to get rid of a large number of files associated with your own applications and system components. If problems still occur, you can remove additional operating system-related files by visiting two locations as shown below. Remember to back up your Mac (if you haven’t already) before proceeding.
1. Open Finder and press Shift + Command + G.
2. Enter / Library / Caches (no tilde at the beginning) in the Go to folder field.
3. Press Command + A to select all files. Then right-click and select “Move to Trash”.
4. Enter the administrator password and click OK to delete the items. If your Mac won’t let you clean up a particular file or folder, just leave that.
5. Repeat steps 1-4, but instead use the path to the / System / Library / Caches folder in step 2. You can delete all items in this folder except for the com.apple.kext.caches subfolder.
6. Restart your Mac in Safe Mode. It helps to reset various system caches that cannot be manually removed. To do this, restart your Mac and hold down the Shift key immediately after the startup beep. When the Apple logo appears, release the button.
After your Mac finishes booting in Safe Mode, just restart it normally. If everything is ok, you can empty the trash.
How to use Onyx to clear cache on Mac
You can also use a third-party cleaning tool to clear the browser, application and system cache on your Mac. Not only does this make things easier, but the cleanup tool can also dig deep and remove things (especially system related) that are otherwise difficult and unsafe to get rid of by hand.
We recommend Onyx for Mac, an excellent (and free) tool that’s been around for years. Just remember to back up your Mac before using it to clear your app and system caches.
After installing Onyx, open it and go to the Maintenance tab. After that, you should see all the cache deletion options (system, applications and internet) listed next to the “Cleanup” section.
You can also use the Options button to select different subcategories of cached data. However, it’s best to stick with the defaults unless you have major problems with your Mac.
When you have decided what you want to delete, click on “Run Tasks”. Onyx also comes with a ton of other tools you can try.
Stay clear, unless you need to
Contrary to what most people think, you don’t need to regularly clear out cached files in the hopes of optimizing your Mac. This will only slow things down. You should delete your browser, app and system cache for troubleshooting purposes only. Otherwise, leave your Mac as it is and it should manage cached data normally.