IT Asset Lifecycle
January 11, 2019
Domain Hosting and Email options
February 14, 2019

How to clear your browser cache

In most browsers, you can clear the cache from the Privacy or History area in the Settings or Options menu, depending on the browser, of course. Ctrl+Shift+Del (or Cmd-Shift-Del on a Mac) works with most browsers as well.

What is this Cache you speak of?

I had a customer say to me several months ago “The only cash I know is the type I spend”. That is one type of cash, the other type spelled cache but pronounced just like the kind you spend, is all the words, text, images, logos, and most other media contained on a website, that is stored on your computer’s (or phone) hard drive.

Why store all this stuff on my hard drive?

Websites load faster when they don’t have to download the same thing over and over again. Since most media and words on websites do not change very often, your subsequent visits to the same websites become faster because most of what you need to see is actually stored on your computer. Website “caching” as we call it, makes every website load faster.

They why do I need to clear it?

You never have to, but sometimes you want to retrieve a current copy of a website. Usually something on the website changes, and you want to see it now, rather than wait on your cache to expire (when your computer automatically downloads a new copy). Sometimes, your computer never downloads a new copy and you’ll never see changes made to a website (cache corruption).

Its also a good idea to clear the cache if you experience any website errors on one computer or browser, but that website works fine on another computer. Clearing the cache also frees up hard drive space, which is a non-issue for computers, but still a concern for smartphones.

Chrome: Clearing the cache

In Google Chrome, clearing the browser cache is done via the Clear browsing dataarea in Settings. From there, check Cached images and files (as well as anything else you want to remove) and then tap or click the CLEAR DATA button.

chrome clear cache

Assuming you’re using a keyboard, the quickest way to Clear browsing data is via the Ctrl+Shift+Del keyboard shortcut.

Without a keyboard, tap or click the Menu button (the icon with three stacked lines) followed by More tools and finally Clear browsing data….

See How to Clear the Cache in Chrome [] for more details.

Tip: Choose all time towards the top to make sure you get everything.

Internet Explorer: Clearing the cache

In Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, clearing the cache is done from the Delete Browsing History area. From here, check Temporary Internet files and website files and then click or tap Delete.

Like with other popular browsers, the fastest way to the Delete Browsing Historysettings is via the Ctrl+Shift+Del keyboard shortcut.

Another option is via the Tools button (the gear icon), followed by Safety and then Delete browsing history.

See How to Clear the Cache in Internet Explorer for a full set of instructions.

Tip: Internet Explorer calls the cache “temporary internet files”.

Firefox: Clear the Cache

In Mozilla’s Firefox browser, you clear the cache from the Clear Recent History area in the browser’s Options. Once there, check Cache and then tap or click Clear Now.

The Ctrl+Shift+Del keyboard shortcut is probably the fastest way to open this tool. It’s also available from Firefox’s Menu button (the three-lined hamburger icon) via Options, then Privacy & Security, and finally the clear your recent history link from the History area.

See How to Clear the Cache in Firefox for a complete tutorial.

Tip: make sure you select everything in the time range at the top.

Safari: Clear the Cache

In Apple’s Safari browser, clearing the cache is done via the Develop menu. Just tap or click Develop and then Empty Caches.

With a keyboard, clearing the cache in Safari is very simple with an Option-Command-E shortcut.

Tip: If you don’t see Develop on your Safari menu bar, enable it via SafariPreferences, then Advanced, followed by selecting the Show Develop menu in menu bar option.

Microsoft Edge: Clear the Cache

In Microsoft’s Edge browser, included in Windows 10, clearing the cache is done via the Clear browsing data menu. Once open, check Cached data and files and then tap or click Clear.

The fastest way to get to the Clear browsing data menu is the Ctrl+Shift+Del keyboard shortcut.

Another option is via the Settings and more button (that little icon with three horizontal dots), followed by Settings and then the Choose what to clear button under the Clear browsing data heading.

See How to Clear the Cache in Microsoft Edge [] for more extensive help.