How to Clear iPhone Cache

Get your phone running faster, right now

deleting apps from iPhone

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These instructions apply to iPhones (and iPads) running iOS 12. Devices running iOS 11 have virtually identical steps.

The iPhone is full of tiny, hidden files that might be slowing it down. Those files are created during the day-to-day operation of your iPhone and are stored in a temporary area of your iPhone's memory called a cache. Because these files are created automatically, it's normal to have them, but knowing how to clear your iPhone cache can free up storage space and, in some cases, speed up your iPhone.

What Is the iPhone Cache and What Is It Used For?

The iPhone creates a cache whenever you use it. The files are created by apps and contain data the apps use when they run.

You may have heard of a cache for your web browser that contains temporary files. That's one common kind of cache, but all sorts of apps and the iPhone's operating system also have caches.

Why Would You Clear the iPhone Cache?

The cache is an important and useful part of your iPhone. It contains files that you need and, in some cases, can speed up your phone. There are two primary reasons that you might want to clear your iPhone cache.

First, the files take up storage space on your iPhone and, over time, they can add up to a big chunk of storage. If you want to free up storage space on your iPhone, clearing the cache is one way to do it. Some of this is done automatically by the system, but if it hasn't done it, you can do it manually.

The other reason to clear the iPhone cache is that cached files can sometimes slow down your phone or cause operations to behave in ways you don't want if you don't clear them regularly.

There are several different kinds of caches on the iPhone. There's not a single step you can take to clear all types of cache.

How to Clear the Safari Cache on an iPhone

Maybe the most commonly cleared cache on any device is the web browser cache. This is full of saved images and web pages, cookies, and other files.

The web browser cache is designed to speed up your browser by saving files it might need later so you don't have to download them again. Clearing Safari's cache might slow down your browser as it downloads previously cached data. However, it is a common solution to a lot of browser woes.

Here's how to clear the cache in Safari:

  1. Tap the Settings app on the iPhone home screen.

  2. Tap Safari.

  3. Tap Clear History and Website Data.

  4. In the pop-up menu, tap Clear History and Data (or tap Cancel if you've changed your mind).

    Safari, Clear History and Website Data, Clear History and Data buttons in iOS Settings

How to Clear Cache and Temporary Files on iPhone

Restarting your iPhone is an excellent way to clear its cache. This won't clear every kind of cache — the Safari browser cache and some third-party apps won't be cleared, for example — but it's a great way to delete temporary files to free up storage or solve problems. Get instructions for all models in How to Restart Any Model of iPhone.

How to Clear Cache From Third-Party Apps on iPhone

Third-party apps (that is, any app you install from the App Store) may or may not allow you to clear their caches. It depends on whether that's a feature that the app's developer offers.

The settings to clear caches for some third-party apps are located in the iPhone's Settings app. For example, you clear the cache of the Accuweather app by:

  1. Tapping the iPhone's Settings app.

  2. Scroll down and tap the AcuWeather app listing.

  3. Move the slider next to Reset cached content to the On/green position.

    Settings icon, AcuWeather, and toggle to reset cached content in iOS

Sometimes the cache-cleaning settings are located in the app's settings, usually in a Settings menu within the app. The Chrome browser app is one of the apps that includes its cache settings within the app. In this case:

  1. Open the Chrome browser and tap the three-dot menu icon at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Tap Settings in the pop-up window.

  3. Select Privacy.

  4. Choose Clear Browsing Data.

    Settings, Privacy, Clear Browsing Data buttons in Chrome for iOS

If there's no option to clear the cache in either the app or the phone's settings, you can't do it. In that case, your best bet is to delete and reinstall the app.

Reinstall Apps to Delete Temporary Files on iPhone

If an app doesn't let you clear the cache manually, you can still clear out the app's temporary files. The solution is to delete the app from the iPhone and immediately reinstall it.

  1. Start by figuring out which apps on the iPhone are taking up the most space on your device or might be causing a specific problem. To do that, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage.

  2. Tap an app in the iPhone Storage screen, which lists all the apps installed on your iPhone and how much space they use beginning with those that use the most space.

  3. Look at the Documents & Data line for the app. This tells you how much space the documents and data for the app take up on your device.

  4. When you locate an app you want to delete, tap Delete app.

    iPhone Storage, Starbucks App, Delete App buttons in iOS Settings

Tapping Delete app permanently deletes all the files created by the app. The app can be redownloaded, but the files are gone.

If you want to hold on to files you've created with the app — text files, game scores, and ringtones, for example, select Offload app instead. The iPhone saves the documents and data from the app and removes the app from your iPhone. If you decide later to redownload the app, your saved files are available for your use.