Need to know how to clear your cache? Or maybe you're wondering what a web browser cache even is and why you'd need to clear it.
Not only should you consider clearing your cookies for your internet browser cache, but you should clear your web browser history from time to time. Why? Not because you should hide anything (unless it's a gift for someone), but because:
- It's a good way to keep your computer hard drive neat and tidy.
- Clearing temporary internet files can improve your computer's performance.
- When you clear the cache, it means you'll get the latest version of a website rather than an older, stored version.
In other words, think of clearing web browser cache files as a reset button of sorts.
How do you go about clearing the cache, including cookies, history, and temporary files? Good news: I'm going to show you how to delete browser history in multiple programs with a step-by-step guide.
In This Guide
How Do I Clear My Browser History?
There are several ways to delete browser history, but it's all dependent on the device you use. Let's begin with how to clear iPhone caches.
How to Clear Browser History on iPhone
The iPhone naturally relies on the Safari browser. To delete browser history in Safari:
1. Tap "Settings".
2. Tap on "Safari".
3. Press on "Clear History and Website Data".
Like with cookies, clearing your history from the Safari browser won't change your AutoFill information.
Related: Buyer's Guide to the iPhone
How to Clear Browser History on Android
Deleting your browser history on Android is easy. There used to be a stock browser, but for many Android devices, the browser has been phased out and replaced with browsers such as Google Chrome and Samsung Internet. For now, let's just go over the Samsung Internet browser:
1. Open the Internet browser.
2. Tap the "MORE" button.
3. Tap on "Settings"
4. Select "Privacy".
5. Tap on "Delete personal data".
6. Choose "Browsing history".
7. Finally, select "DELETE".
Related: Buyer's Guide to the Samsung Galaxy
How to Clear Google History
According to Gizmodo, Google Chrome became the most popular web browser as of May 2016, pulling ahead of Microsoft's Internet Explorer/Edge browser. In May of 2016, Chrome controlled 41.66 percent of the market, whereas Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge together pulled in 41.35 percent.
Since then, more users (including myself) have welcomed Google as their browser overlords. So you should know how to clear your browser history with the number one browser. Here's how you do it for your computer, Android device, and iPhone:
How to Clear All of Your History on Computer
1. Open Chrome.
2. At the top right, click "More" (the three vertical dots).
3. Hover Over "History" in the drop-down menu, then click on "History".
4. Over to the left, click on "Clear browsing data".
5. From there, you can click on the drop-down menu to select how far back you'd like to delete your browsing history.
6. Check the box for "browsing history".
7. Finally, click on "Clear browsing data".
How to Delete Your Browsing History on iPhone
- On your iPhone or iPad, open up the Chrome app.
- On the top right, you'll notice the "More" button, with three vertical dots; tap on that.
- Choose "History" in the drop-down list.
- On the bottom, you'll see "Clear Browsing Data"; tap on that.
- Tap the checkbox of "Browsing history" if it is not already checked.
- Tap "Clear Browsing Data".
- Again, confirm by tapping "Clear Browsing Data".
- Finally, tap "Done," and you should then be good to go.
How to Clear Your Browser History on Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge is a recent addition to the browser family and is meant to replace Internet Explorer. This browser comes packed into Windows 10, Windows Phone, and more! Since it falls just behind Google Chrome in terms of market hold, I figured it would be a good idea to go over the process of clearing your browser history with Edge.
Your browser history, which includes the information you've previously entered into sites, forms, and more, can be cleared by doing the following:
1. Select the "Hub" menu, which has three vertical menu bars.
2. Click on "History".
3. Choose "Clear all history".
4. Select what you'd like to remove from your PC (in this case, "Browsing History"), then finally click on "Clear".
However, do note that if you're using Cortana and would like to clear the browsing history that happens to be stored in the cloud, choose "Change what Microsoft Edge knows about me in the cloud," then select "Clear browsing history".
How to Clear Browser History on Firefox
1. Click on the Menu button, located in the upper-right corner with the three vertical menu bars.
2. Click on Clear Recent History in the drop-down list.
3. Select 'Everything' within the 'Time Range to Clear'.
4. Check off Browsing Data & Download History, then click Clear Now.
Why Clear Browser Caches?
Your browser's cache is a collection of temporary files stored on your computer hard drive or in your phone's storage space, including web pages, images, text, and other media you might encounter while surfing the web. Your cache might sound like just another thing that slows your computer down, but having cached data in your browser is actually quite helpful. A local copy of a webpage allows for quick loading the next time you visit your favorite sites.
Normally, your computer or device will have to download this information from the Internet in order to display it. Cached data shortens this time and allows you to continue surfing without interruption.
Just like browser history and Internet cookies, it's important to clear your cache files every now and then. Clearing caches forces your browser to retrieve the newest copy available from the website. A corrupted internet browser cache may also lead to 404 or 502 errors, so clearing the cache is a good idea when you find yourself having an issue with your computer or device.
How to Clear Cache on Mac
1. Open a Finder window and select "Go to Folder" in the Go menu.
2. Type in ~/Library/Caches and hit enter to proceed to this folder.
Optional step: You can highlight and copy everything to a different folder just in case something goes wrong.
3. Go into each of the folders and clean out everything.
Note: We recommend that you remove the insides of these folders, but not the folders themselves.
How to Clear Cache in Chrome
1. Open Chrome.
2. On your browser toolbar, click More, which is the button with the three dots.
3. Head over to More tools, and then click Clear browsing data.
4. In the "Clear browsing data" dialog box, click the checkboxes for Cookies and other site and plug-in data and Cached images and files.
5. Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Choose 'beginning of time' in the pop-up window to delete everything, or pick another time range.
6. Click Clear browsing data.
How to Clear Cache on iPhone
1. To clear the iPhone cache, head to Settings, then click on Safari.
2. Scroll down to Clear History and Website Data.
3. Tap Clear History and Data.
How to Clear the App Cache on Android
Just as it's a good idea to clear browser caches now and then, it's also wise to do so on your mobile device. The app cache stores little bits of information about your apps, which ideally should help these programs run faster.
On occasion, however, the app cache gets bogged down and you may even experience errors. When you clear recent history in the cache folder, you'll get the latest version of your apps. Bonus: you'll free up storage space on your device.
Clearing caches on Android devices are ridiculously simple:
- Open the Settings gear icon.
- Scroll to Storage.
- Tap on Cached data.
- Tap Delete in the dialog box that appears.
That's all there is to it! Now you know how to clear the cache on Android.
How to Clear Cache in Firefox
1. Go to Tools or the Menu button located in the upper-right corner.
2. Tap the Options gear symbol in the pop-up window.
3. Go to the Advanced Tab, then hit Network.
4. Hit Clear Now under 'Cached Web Content.'
There you have it! Now you know how to clear your cache and history on virtually any platform. There's more: you can always clear your browser history with third-party programs, such as Piriform's CCleaner.
Of course, you should not just delete browser history and temporary internet files from your cache folder, but also your cookies from time to time. They may conflict with updated websites and, at times, contain your personal information.
Also, it's a good idea to back up your files, just in case they are wiped or lost thanks to some hardware (or software) malfunction, so be sure to check out our buyer's guide to online backup software.