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Is It Safe to Delete Caches on Mac?

Last Updated Jun 4, 2022
Macs and a graphics tablet

Like many other computers, Macs save information in caches to optimize performance. They save information that is often needed to make work faster, as you won’t need to load the data again. This begs the question, is it safe to delete these files to make space available for other things?

You can delete cache files on your Mac without having to worry about it acting up. This is because the important files will just load back when needed. However, you have to be careful not to delete files that are important for running your system.

Here, we will look at the reasons for deleting cache files. Also, we’ll look at how to clear these files safely. Is the seat belt fastened?

Why Delete Cache Files?

Despite how helpful they are to the regular operations of your Mac, sometimes the situation warrants you to remove them. Some of these reasons are:

  • Cache growing too large and making your Mac lag is highly unlikely, but it can happen with the older Macs with less running memory.
  • Cache taking up disk space: This is another reason to delete cache files as they can grow very large to take up the needed disk space. However, there is no assurance that so much space will be freed up because your Mac will probably recreate many of the deleted files.
  • Cache files being corrupted: Corrupt cache files can also affect the performance of your computer.
  • Cache files containing confidential information: This is relevant for cache-saved browsers. Many of them can contain things like passwords or credit card information that can pose a security risk if retrieved by malicious actors.

In any of these cases, the solution would be to delete the erring files. However, is it safe to do so?

How Safe Is Deleting Cache Files?

If you fall into the situation of having to clear your cache files, you need to follow the correct procedure so that you won’t lose important files. It’s normal to wonder if deleting these files might have consequences.

There are three types of cache on Macs: app cache, browser cache, and system cache.

System Cache

These are files that are needed for the family running of your computer. You can delete files like this because your Mac will probably return the important files.

App Cache

This is the type of cache you have to be most careful with. This is because deleting them can make you lose important app data. You can delete the cache for apps you don’t use often or those you don’t have important files. However, if you have to delete cache files for an app you use regularly, you should do a backup before deleting anything so you will be able to retrieve files if they turn out to be deleted with the cache.

Browser Cache

These are generally safe to delete as the potential downsides of deleting them aren’t as much as the risks posed by keeping them. These risks include someone getting in and getting private information like passwords and browsing history.

How to Safely Clear Cache Data on Mac

If you have to delete your cache from your Mac, you must do it properly so you won’t lose personal files or files that are crucial to the running of your system.

System Cache

There are two ways of deleting the system cache: manually or by using cleaner software. Cleaners are more rigorous and easier, but without them cleaning manually will be fine too.

To clean them, go to your Finder’s Go menu and find the folder /Library/Caches.

App Cache

As mentioned previously, you have to be very careful in deleting these types of files. You delete them by following a process similar to that of system caches. After opening the Library/Caches folder, find the folder for the app you want to clear its cache. Go into the folder and use Command + A to select all the files and move them into the trash. To ensure that you get rid of them totally, empty your trash afterward.

However, it can’t be overstated enough that you can’t just indiscriminately delete app caches because you can lose important app data as a result. For this reason, if you have to delete app data for apps, you use regularly, do a backup first. Otherwise, you could use an app cleaner to be on the safe side.

Browser Cache

Unlike the previous types of cache, deleting the browser cache is not as easy. You have to clear the cache in the browser itself, and each browser has a different way of doing it.

  • On Safari: In the top menu, click Safari and go to “Preferences.” Go to the Advanced tab and allow develop men in the menu bar. Afterward, go to the develop menu and empty caches.
  • On Chrome: In Chrome settings, go to “Privacy and Security” and click on “Clear browsing history.” Select only “Cached images and files,” choose All time and clear the data.
  • On Firefox: In the Preference tab, go to “Privacy and Security.” Then, click clear data in Cookies and Site data. Afterward, check “Cached web data” and confirm.

Following the above, you can safely clear cached data for any of these three web browsers.

Conclusion

Certain concerns can make you want to delete cache files on your Mac, and you can wonder if you can do so without having effects. You can delete the cache without fear if you follow the correct way.

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