How to Clear Cache in Every Major Browser

Clear the cache in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, IE, Safari, and more

Photo of a delete button on a keyboard
Filograph / Getty Images

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.

While that hotkey combo works in most non-mobile browsers, the exact steps involved in clearing your browser's cache depend entirely on what web browser you're using.

Below you'll find some browser and device specific instructions, as well as links to more expansive tutorials if you need them.

What Exactly Is Cache?

Your browser's cache, pronounced like cash, is a collection of web pages, including the text, images, and most other media contained on them, that is stored on your hard drive or phone storage.

Having a local copy of a web page makes for very quick loading on your next visit because your computer or device doesn't have to download from the internet all of that same information again.

Cached data in the browser sounds great, so why do you ever have to clear it?

Why Do You Have to Clear Cache?

You certainly don't have to, not as a regular part of computer or smartphone maintenance, anyway. However, a few good reasons to clear cache come to mind...

Clearing your cache forces your browser to retrieve the newest copy available from the website, something that should happen automatically but sometimes does not.

You might also want to clear the cache if you're experiencing issues like 404 errors or 502 errors (among others), sometimes indications that your browser's cache is corrupted.

Another reason to delete browser cache data is to free up space on your hard drive. Over time, the cache can grow to a really large size, and so clearing it out can recover some of that previously used space.

Regardless of why you might want to do it, clearing your cache is really easy to do in all the popular browsers in use today.

Chrome: Clear Browsing Data

In Google Chrome, clearing the browser cache is done via the Clear browsing data area 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.

Screenshot of the Clear Browsing Data window in Chrome

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 [support.google.com] for more details.

Choose All time from the Time range option at the top of the Clear browsing data window to make sure you get everything.

In Chrome's mobile browser, go to Settings from the three-dotted menu at the bottom, and then Privacy. From there, choose Clear Browsing Data. In this menu, check Cached Images and Files and press the Clear Browsing Data button once, and then again for confirmation.

Internet Explorer: Delete Browsing History

In Microsoft Internet Explorer, the browser that comes pre-installed on most Windows computers, 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.

Screenshot showing how to clear the cache in Internet Explorer in Windows 10

Like with other popular browsers, the fastest way to the Delete Browsing History settings 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.

Internet Explorer often refers to the browser cache as temporary internet files but they're one in the same.

Firefox: Clear Recent History

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.

Screenshot showing how to clear the Firefox cache in Windows 10

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.

Don't forget to choose Everything from the Time range to clear set of options, assuming that's the time frame you want to clear the cache over.

If you're using Firefox's mobile app, tap the menu from the bottom right and then choose Settings from that menu. Find the PRIVACY section and tap Clear Private Data. Make sure Cache is chosen and then tap Clear Private Data. Confirm with an OK.

Firefox Focus is another mobile browser from Firefox that you can clear the cache from using the ERASE button on the top right of the app.

Safari: Empty Caches

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

Screenshot of the Empty Caches option in Safari

With a keyboard, clearing the cache in Safari is super easy with the Option-Command-E shortcut.

If you don't see Develop on your Safari menu bar, enable it via Safari > Preferences, then Advanced, followed by selecting the Show Develop menu in menu bar option.

See How to Clear the Cache in Safari [help.apple.com] if you need more help.

Screenshot of Safari preferences in iOS showing Clear History and Website Data

Clearing the browser cache from mobile Safari, like the one on your iPad or iPhone, is accomplished in a different app. From your device, open the Settings app and then find the Safari section. In there, scroll toward the bottom and tap Clear History and Website Data. Tap Clear History and Data to confirm.

Opera: Clear Browsing Data

In Opera, clearing the cache is done via the Clear browsing data section that's part of Settings. Once open, check Cached images and files and then click or tap Clear browsing data.

Screenshot of the Clear Browsing Data screen in the Opera browser

The fastest way to bring up the Clear browsing data window is via the Ctrl+Shift+Del keyboard shortcut.

Without a keyboard, click or tap the main menu button (the Opera logo from the upper-left hand side of the browser), then Settings, Privacy & security, and finally the Clear browsing data button. Check the Cached images and files option and then press Clear browsing data.

See How to Clear the Cache in Opera [help.opera.com] for detailed instructions.

Be sure to choose the beginning of time option at the top so you're sure to erase everything!

You can clear the cache from the mobile Opera browser, too. Tap the Opera icon from the bottom menu and then navigate to Settings > Clear to choose what to delete: saved passwords, browsing history, cookies and data, or all of it.

Edge: Clear Browsing Data

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.

Screenshot showing how to clear the Edge cache in Windows 10

The fastest way to the Clear browsing data menu is via 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 [support.microsoft.com] for more extensive help.

Tap or click Show more while in the Clear browsing data menu for additional items you can erase while clearing cached files and images.

To delete cache files from the Edge mobile browser, go into the menu using button on the right side of the menu, and choose Settings. Go to Privacy > Clear browsing data and choose what you want removed; you can pick cache, passwords, form data, cookies, and more.

Vivaldi: Clear Private Data

You clear the cache in Vivaldi via the Clear Private Data area. From there, check Cache, choose All Time from the top menu (if that's what you want to do), and then tap or click Clear Browsing Data.

Screenshot of the Clear Private Data window in the Vivaldi browser

To get there, tap or click the Vivaldi button (the V logo icon) followed by Tools and finally Clear Private Data.

Like with most browsers, the Ctrl+Shift+Del keyboard shortcut brings up this menu, too.

You can change the Delete Data for option to delete cached items from longer ago than just the last hour.

More About Clearing Caches in Web Browsers

Most browsers have at least basic cache management settings where, at a minimum, you can choose how much space you'd like the browser to use for cached website data.

Some browsers even let you choose to automatically clear cache, as well as other data that might contain private information, every single time you close the browser window.

Check out the links to the more detailed information I provided in most of the browser-specific sections above if you're interested in learning about how to do any of these more advanced things with your browser's caching system.

In most browsers, you can overwrite a web page's stored cache without deleting all the cache collected by the browser. In essence, this will erase and replenish the cache for that specific page only. In most browsers and operating systems, you can bypass the cache by holding down Shift or Ctrl as you refresh.