How to Clear iPhone Cache

Get your phone running faster, right now

deleting apps from iPhone

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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 what's called a "cache." Since 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?

As mentioned, the iPhone creates tons of small, hidden files whenever you use it. These files are created your apps and contain data the apps need when they run. These files are stored in a temporary area of your iPhone's memory called a cache.

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 — including the iPhone's operating system — also have caches.

This article is designed for iPhones running iOS 12. Devices running iOS 11 will have virtually identical steps for all of the tips here. If you're running iOS 10 or earlier, the steps may not be identical, but they'll be similar enough that this should provide a useful guide.

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'd want to clear your iPhone cache.

First, those tiny files can 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 (especially from the mysterious "Other" data category you sometimes see in iTunes), clearing cache can be 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 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 enough.

There are many different kinds of cache on the iPhone. There's not a single step you can take to clear all types of cache. This article describes a number of different methods to clear different caches.

How to Clear Safari Cache on iPhone and iPad

screenshot clearing safari cache on iphone

Maybe the most commonly cleared cache on any device is the web browser cache. This is full of saved images and webpages, cookies and other files. Here's how to clear it in Safari:

The web browser cache is tricky. It's designed to speed up your browser by saving files you might need later so that you don't have to download them again. Sometimes it's necessary to clear your browser cache, but — unlike other caches in this article — clearing it might actually slow your browser down. Still, if your browser is acting up, it's a pretty common solution to a lot of browser woes.

  1. Tap Settings.

  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).

How to Clear App Store Cache on iPhone and iPad

screenshot of iphone app store

The App Store app that comes pre-loaded on all iOS devices also has a cache. The App Store cache generally influence how you use your iPhone, but a problem with it can sometimes prevent you from updating apps. If you're having that issue, follow these steps to clear the App Store cache:

  1. Tap the App Store app to open it.

  2. Tap any of the buttons in the row along the bottom of the app 10 times in a row.

  3. After this is done, the App Store app should automatically restart. When it does, your App Store cache has been cleared.

How to Clear Cache and Temporary Files on iPhone and iPad

The two sections of this article so far have explained how to clear the cache in two specific apps that come pre-installed on the iPhone. The next two explain how to clear cache from other apps.

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 instance — 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 Reset Any Model of iPhone.

How to Clear Cache From Third-Party Apps on iPhone and iPad

screenshot of clearing app cache on iphone

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

If the developer has given you a cache-clearing option, it's probably in the app's settings. You may find that in a settings menu within the app or in the Settings app that comes with the iPhone. If there's no option in either place, you can't clear the cache from this app manually. In that case, your best bet is to delete and reinstall the app as described in the next section.

To get really detailed about how you clear cache from apps, you may want to try to a third-party cleaner program. There are lots of choices for these sorts of apps. they run on macOS or Windows computers, rather than directly on your iPhone.

Reinstall Apps to Delete Temporary Files on iPhone and iPad

screenshot of iphone app data use

If an app doesn't let you clear cache manually, you can still clear out the app's temporary files. In that case, your best bet is to delete the app and reinstall it. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Start by figuring out which apps iPhone are taking up the most space on your. To do that, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage.

  2. This screen lists all of the apps installed on your iPhone and how much space they use. Tap an app to learn more about it.

  3. On the screen for that app, look at the Documents & Data line. This tells you how much space the app uses for the files you have created using it and for the cached files it needs to run.

  4. Once you've found an app you want to delete, follow the normal steps for deleting an app.

    Be careful about deleting the app from the iPhone Storage screen from step 3. This will delete all of the files created by the app. You may want this, since it clears the cache. But if you want to hold onto files you've created with the app — text files, ringtones, etc. — it will delete them, too.

  5. The iPhone will offer you the option to hold onto documents and data from the app. Delete those files if they're things you can download again (like podcast episodes or other content stored in the cloud). If not, you'll want to hold onto them.