Is It Safe to Delete Caches on Mac?

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It’s totally safe to delete cache files on your Mac. Like other computers, Macs save information in caches to optimize performance. But, there are some benefits to deleting cache files. 

Here’s how to safely delete cache files on a Mac.

Why Remove Cache Files?

Your cache is made up of temporary files that help your computer remember your browsing preferences, decreasing loading time on many apps and websites. 

However, periodically deleting cache files can help:

  • Reduce lag. Too much cache can slow your Mac down.
  • Increase security. Deleting cache in your browser removes things like passwords and credit card information.
  • Clear disk space. Over time, cache files can take up a lot of space on your computer.
  • Improve computer performance. Corrupt cache files affect your Mac’s performance.

How Safe is Deleting Cache Files?

Before we go into how safe deleting cache files is, you need to know the three different types of cache on Macs:

  • App cache
  • Browser cache
  • System cache

It’s important to get familiar with these terms before you start deleting any cache files.

App Cache

App cache, also called user cache, is the trickiest of the three. Depending on the app you use, it might include:

  • Photos or videos
  • Preferences
  • Documents and files

If you don’t use an app often or don’t save important information within it, it’s probably safe to delete.

But if you use the app regularly, back up your most important information before deleting anything.

Browser Cache

Browser cache is generally safe to delete. If anything, the risks of keeping this type of cache outweigh the risks of deleting it!

You might get logged out of certain websites and need to change your preferences the next time you visit them. But, keeping browser cache puts your personal information at risk if anyone ever hacks your Mac.

System Cache

System cache helps your Mac boot up and load applications faster. It is safe to delete these files, but doing so could cause your computer to run slower until it recreates the most important cache files.

If you want to clear space or make your computer run faster, clearing the system cache probably isn’t the best way. Your Mac will just recreate the files. 

How to Safely Clear Cache Data on Mac

Now that you know the benefits and risks of clearing cache from your Mac, we’ll go over the proper ways to do it.

Always follow the correct steps while clearing cache data — if you don’t do it right, you could lose some important files.

Clear Your App Cache

Here’s how you can delete your Mac’s app cache:

  1. Open a Finder window.
  2. Select “Go” from the top menu, then select “Go to Folder…
  3. Type in ~/Library/Caches.
  4. Find and select the app you want to clear in the ~/Library/Caches folder.
  5. Drag all the files in the folder into your Trash.
  6. Empty your Trash.

Remember to back up any important files within the app to a flash drive or external hard drive before clearing your app cache.

Clear Your Browser Cache

Deleting the browser cache from your Mac is a little bit different. You have to clear the cache in the browser itself, and each web browser has a different way of doing it.

Here’s how to clear your Safari cache:

  1. Open Safari and select “Safari” in the top menu bar.
  2. Click “Preferences.”
  3. Select “Advanced,” then check the “Show Develop menu in menu bar” option.
  4. Select the new “Develop” menu at the top, then press “Empty Cache.”

Follow these steps to clear your browser cache on Google Chrome:

  1. Open a Google Chrome window and select the three vertical dots in the top-right corner.
  2. Press “Settings” at the bottom of the list.
  3. Select “Privacy and Security” from the left-side menu.
  4. Press “Clear Browsing Data.”
  5. Check only “Cached images and files,” then press “Clear Data.”

And here’s how you can delete cached data on Firefox:

  1. Open a Firefox window and press the three horizontal lines in the top-right corner.
  2. Select “Settings.”
  3. Press “Privacy & Security,” then scroll down to “Cookies and Site Data.”
  4. Press “Clear Data…
  5. Make sure only “Cached Web Content” is checked, then press “Clear.”

Clear Your System Cache

There are a few ways of deleting the system cache on your Mac. You could:

  • Perform a Safe Boot
  • Use a cleaner software
  • Delete the files manually

Cleaner software is the most thorough, but it also takes a while and isn’t always free. If you do use a cleaner software, make sure it’s from a reputable brand. Otherwise, you risk opening your data to hackers.

Most Apple users prefer to clear their system cache through a Safe Boot. Here’s how to do it on an Intel-based Mac:

  1. Press Apple > Restart from your Mac’s top menu bar.
  2. Immediately press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard. Hold it until you see the login screen.
  3. Log into your computer. You might need to do this twice.
  4. Once you log in, you’ll see “Safe Boot” in the top-right corner. Restart your computer again to clear your system cache.

You can also manually clear your system cache following the steps below:

  1. Open a Finder window.
  2. Select Go > Go to Folder…
  3. Type in /Library/Caches.
  4. Open each folder and drag the contents into the Trash.
  5. Empty your trash bin.

This process is similar to the one you use to delete your app cache. 

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