Getting a brand new iPhone, Samsung, Google Phone, or Android device is exciting. But does it already feel like it's working a little bit more slowly than it should? It might be because your cached data is overflowing.
What is a cache, how does it fill up, and how can you clear your phone's cache? Here's everything you need to know.
How To Clear Cache: Step-by-Step
Clearing your cache on your Android phone is easy, and this simple step can help with performance issues to help speed up your phone's response times. Android cache clearing doesn't require special permissions, and you can do it anytime.
- Go to "Storage" in the Settings app by clicking the three-dot icon at the top-right corner of your screen.
- Select Apps and notifications.
- Choose the app whose cache you want to clear. Sort by Size to find which apps occupy the most space.
- Then, on the app's info page, tap Clear Cache.
Remember that if you choose "Clear Storage" instead of "Clear Cache," you'll delete all data from the app. This essentially resets the app to a fresh state, like you just installed it from the Play Store.
You only want to do this if you need to clear storage on your phone or if the app is seriously acting weird.
What Does it Mean To Clear a Cache?
Your phone is a tiny computer, and computing devices temporarily store data in something called a cache (pronounced "cash"). This lets your phone quickly recall information when you open up an application.
For instance, a music software might cache a song you're listening to so that when you open the app, the previous song you were listening to is still there, and you don't need to locate it again manually.
You can think of a cache as a smaller version of an existing file. It retains a small amount of information, so you can quickly get back to an app from wherever you left.
Note that a cache file only applies to the associated program — so Spotify would never need to use Twitter's cache and vice versa.
When you have multiple applications running simultaneously, you'll have several cached data clogging up your phone's CPU. This can lead to performance issues and fill up storage space on your phone.
Clearing app caches removes temporary files from app data to restore phone storage and performance problems. It can help enhance the functionality of your device and make Android apps run more smoothly.
With that said, clearing your cache too often can be counter-productive. This is because cache files serve the purpose of speeding up access to content you use regularly. Many Android devices already have built-in mechanisms that clean out unused files regularly.
You probably don't need to clear them out manually except in the following circumstances:
- The files are corrupted
- You want to delete files containing personal information
- You're running out of storage and don't want to delete photos, videos, or apps
What Happens After You Clear Your Android's Cache?
While you regain some storage space and apps will continue to function normally, you'll notice that apps will load more slowly. This is because the app doesn't have any previous data stored, so it needs to "reboot" upon start-up.
But don't worry — apps will build up cache over time as you start to use them again.
Clearing cache doesn't log you out of apps or cause significant changes. So you don't need to worry about losing game progress or browser bookmarks in Google Chrome and Firefox.
While clearing your web browser cache does clear browsing data, you can opt to save things like cookies and history.
What Are the Benefits of Clearing Cache on Android?
There are a few reasons why regularly clearing your cache is an important, simple step. The main benefits are that it:
- Helps save storage
- Can solve performance issues
- Enhances cybersecurity
Helps Save Storage
Clearing the cache can give you a temporary fix if you're running out of memory on your device. The keyword here is temporary because while you'll be able to clear files right away, app caches will build up again over time as you continue to use other apps.
If your device is so low on space that you need to clear your cache daily, it might be time to delete some apps or upgrade to a new device.
Can Solve Performance Issues
Having many apps open simultaneously also means that plenty of them use cached data. This can make your phone perform sub-optimally. Clearing the cache wipes the slate clean and can improve your phone's speed.
Also, if browsers or apps refuse to fetch the latest version of a page, clearing the cache can force the software to update. Often, updates to existing software work to improve the user experience.
Old cache files can risk your privacy and security because web pages in your browser contain essential, sensitive information. If someone ever steals your phone or laptop, they can use site data and browsing history to access passwords or log in to your personal accounts.
Clearing the cache can eliminate this threat and make it harder for unauthorized individuals to obtain private details.
Should You Use an App To Clear Your Cache?
Many third-party apps on the Google Play Store claim to clear cached images, videos, app info, and files. These are called "cleaner apps" and are often popular downloads. With that said, you might not necessarily need them.
One of the primary reasons is that these apps take up storage on your phone. The amount of memory they take up is more detrimental to your phone's performance than the cache files themselves, so downloading them doesn't make much sense unless you have tons of storage space.
Additionally, these apps often carry a high risk of spam, full of predatory in-app purchases, and are often super glitchy. There's not much of a reason to get them when you can manually clear your cache and delete junk files without them.
Cached data holds information that you regularly use on your device. It allows you to quickly access apps and information after closing apps without needing to log back in or re-do whatever you'd started.
While caching data is valuable, running too many apps simultaneously can bog down your phone's performance.
You can clear the cache on your Android device quickly — you just open Settings, and from there, it’s just a few clicks. This easy fix can improve performance, enhance cybersecurity, and even manage your storage.
Just be wary of apps on the play store that claim to clear unused data for you, as these are often filled with spam ads and usually take up more storage space than they're able to save.
Clearing your cache can improve your productivity by lessening distractions, but you can also enhance your focus by putting all of your business needs in one place.