How to Clear Internet Cache in Every Major Browser

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

How to Clear Internet Cache
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A cache is a collection of snapshots and data from web pages you've visited in the past. The information is stored to make your internet experience run more smoothly and revisited web pages load faster. In time, the cache may take up a big chunk of your computer's memory.

In most browsers, you can clear the cache in either the settings or options menu. The keyboard combinations Ctrl+Shift+Del (Windows) or Command+Shift+Delete (Mac) bring up the necessary deletion screen in most browsers as well.

While the keyboard shortcut works in most nonmobile browsers, the exact steps involved in clearing your browser's cache depend on the web browser you're using.

What Exactly Is Cache?

Your browser's cache, pronounced cash, is a collection of web pages stored on your hard drive or in your phone storage. The cache includes the text, images, and most other media contained on web pages that you have visited.

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

Why Do You Have to Clear Cache?

You don't have to clear the cache as a regular part of computer or smartphone maintenance. However, good reasons to clear cache include:

  • 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're experiencing issues such as 404 errors or 502 errors (among others) that may indicate your browser's cache is corrupted.
  • Malware is another reason to delete the browser cache. It can be dropped in the cache without you knowing or alongside program installations, so clearing the entire cache can delete malicious files. (It also helps to have anti-virus software.)
  • Another reason to delete browser cache data is to free up space on your hard drive. Over time, the cache can grow to a huge size; clearing it can recover some of that previously used space.

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

Chrome: Clear Browsing Data

Assuming you use a keyboard, the quickest way to the Clear browsing data window in Google Chrome is by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Del (Windows) or Command+Shift+Delete (Mac) to go directly to the Clear browsing data screen.

Screenshot of the Clear Browsing Data window in Chrome

If you aren't into keyboard shortcuts, here's how to clear the Chrome browser cache on your computer:

  1. Tap or click the 3-dot Menu in the upper-right corner of Chrome and select Settings in the drop-down menu.

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the Settings screen and select Advanced to expand the options.

  3. In the Privacy and security section, choose Clear browsing data.

  4. Check the box next to Cached images and files

  5. Click or tap Clear data.

The Google Chrome website has more details on clearing browsing data in Chrome.

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

Clear Cache in Chrome Mobile App

In Chrome's mobile app:

  1. Open the Chrome app and tap the three-dot Menu icon at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Tap Settings in the menu.

  3. Tap Privacy.

    Chrome app Settings path and screen
  4. Choose Clear Browsing Data.

  5. Tap Cached images and files to place a check mark next to it and press Clear Browsing Data.

  6. Confirm by tapping Clear Browsing Data in the pop-up window.

    Chrome app clear browsing data screens

Internet Explorer: Delete Browsing History

In Microsoft Internet Explorer, the browser that comes installed on most Windows computers, you clear the cache in the Delete Browsing History screen.

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

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

Another option is:

  1. Open the Tools icon, which resembles a gear.

  2. Choose Safety.

  3. Select Delete browsing history.

  4. Place a check next to Temporary Internet files and website files.

  5. Click or tap Delete.

See more information on clearing the cache in Internet Explorer.

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

Firefox: Clear Recent History

In Mozilla's Firefox browser, you clear the cache from the Clear Recent History area.

Screenshot showing how to clear the Firefox cache in Windows 10

The Ctrl+Shift+Del (Windows) or Command+Shift+Delete (Mac) keyboard shortcut is the fastest way to open the Clear Recent History screen.

You can also access it by:

  1. In Firefox's Menu button (the three-lined hamburger icon) select Options.

  2. Choose Privacy & Security.

  3. Select Clear History in the History area.

  4. In the Clear Recent History screen that opens, select Cache and click or tap Clear Now.

See a complete tutorial on clearing the cache in Firefox.

Don't forget to choose Everything from the Time range to clear options, assuming that's your intent.

Clear Cache in Firefox Mobile App

To clean the cache in the Firefox mobile app:

  1. Tap the three-line Menu icon at the bottom of the app screen and choose Settings in the menu.

  2. Select Data Management.

  3. Move the slider next to Cache to the On position tap Clear Private Data.

    Firefox app path to clearing cache

Safari: Empty Caches

In Apple's Safari browser on a Mac, clearing the cache is done via the Develop menu. Just tap or click Develop in the Safari menu bar and select Empty Caches.

Safari window showing Develop > Empty Caches

You can also clear the cache in Safari on a Mac using the Option+Command+E keyboard shortcut.

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

Clear Cache in Safari Mobile App

Clearing the browser cache from mobile Safari on your iPhone or iPad is accomplished in a different app.

  1. On your mobile device, open the Settings app and tap Safari.

  2. Scroll down and tap Clear History and Website Data.

  3. Tap Clear History and Data to confirm.

    iPhone screens showing path to clear history and data

Opera: Clear Browsing Data

In Opera, clearing the cache is done via the Clear browsing data section that's part of Settings.

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 (Windows) or Command+Shift+Delete (Mac) keyboard shortcut.

Otherwise:

  1. Click or tap the main menu button, which is the Opera logo in the upper-left side of the browser.

  2. Select Settings > Advanced > Privacy & security.

  3. Choose Clear browsing data.

  4. Place a check in front of Cached images and files and then press Clear data.

See detailed instructions on how to clear the cache in Opera here.

Be sure to choose All time at the top to erase everything.

Clear Cache in Opera Touch Mobile Browser

You can clear the cache from the Opera Touch mobile app, too.

  1. Tap the three-dot Menu icon at the top of the app and select Settings from the drop-down menu.

  2. Choose Clear browsing data.

  3. Tap Cached Images and Files to place a check next to it.

  4. Choose Clear at the top of the screen.

    Three Opera Touch screens showing path to clear cache

If you're using the Opera Mini app, tap the Settings icon in the Opera menu, go to Clear browsing data, choose Clear cookies and data, and then tap OK.

Edge: Clear Browsing Data

In Microsoft's Edge browser, which is included in Windows 10, clearing the cache is done via the Clear browsing data menu.

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:

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser and tap or click the 3-dot Settings and more button at the top of the screen.

  2. Select Settings and then Choose what to clear under the Clear browsing data heading.

  3. Select Cached data and files and then tap or click Clear.

See how to clear the cache in Microsoft Edge 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.

Clear Cache in Edge Mobile Browser

To delete cache files from the Edge mobile app:

  1. Open the Edge app and tap the three-dotted Menu button.

  2. Choose Settings.

  3. Select Privacy in the Settings menu.

    Microsoft Edge mobile app settings
  4. Tap Clear browsing data.

  5. Tap Cache to place a check mark next to it and select any other categories you want to remove.

  6. Tap Clear browsing data.

  7. In the confirmation pop-up, tap Clear.

    Edge mobile app clear browsing data screen

Vivaldi: Delete Browsing Data

Clear the cache in Vivaldi via the Delete Browsing Data area.

  1. Click or tap Tools in the Vivaldi menu bar and select Delete Browsing Data.

    Tools options in Vivaldi web browser
  2. Select Cache (and any other categories you want to clear)

  3. Change the time in the field next to Delete Data from Past Hour to All Time.

  4. Tap or click Delete.

    Delete Browsing Data screen in Vivaldi web browser

As with most browsers, the Ctrl+Shift+Del (Windows) or Command+Shift+Delete (Mac) keyboard shortcut brings up this menu, too.

There is no Vivaldi app for Android or iOS mobile devices.

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 uts cache.

Some browsers let you choose to automatically clear the cache and other data that might contain private information every time you close the browser window.

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