iOS/iPadOS Tutorials
Last updated: October 26, 2023
Clear Cache on iPhone

How to Clear Cache on iPhone

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Is your iPhone acting a little sluggish lately? Have you recently encountered the Storage Almost Full alert? The chances are that your caches, temporary storage areas where frequently accessed data are stored, have ballooned out of control, gobbling up precious storage space and making your phone behave like it’s just rolled out of bed.

In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to walk you through the ins and outs of how to clear cache on an iPhone regardless of whether it’s been created by Safari, Chrome, YouTube, or some other app.

What Is iPhone Cache and Where Is It Located?

Before covering the “how,” let’s discuss the “what” a bit more. Caches are, in essence, small bits of stored information that help your iPhone run more efficiently by acting as the phone’s short-term memory. Here’s a quick overview of the main iPhone caches:

  • 🌐 Browser caches: Whether you use Safari, Chrome, or another browser, it will save pieces of websites, such as images or HTML files, so they can be quickly accessed later.
  • 🧰 App caches: Each app you use creates its own cache. For instance, Instagram saves images you’ve viewed, and Spotify keeps snippets of songs, so they load faster the next time.
  • ⚙️ System caches: This cache is maintained by your iPhone’s system itself to speed up system processes.

While caches speed up tasks and enhance your user experience, they also cost a considerable amount of storage space. That’s why it’s a good practice to delete cache on iPhone from time to time in order to free up storage space.

The problem is that you won’t find a cache folder that you can simply empty in the Files app on your iPhone. Apple doesn’t allow direct access to these caches because they’re located in places like the /Library/Caches directory, which are not accessible to users.

That’s why each type of cache requires a specific procedure to clean, which might involve going through the settings of each app or the iPhone itself, and we explain the exact steps you need to follow in the next section of this article.

How to Clear Browser Caches on iPhone?

Whether you’re a Safari or Chrome user, you’ve probably accumulated a hefty collection of stored website data, so learning how to clear browser caches on iPhone is a great start.

While clearing your browser cache might cause websites to load a tad slower initially, the amount of storage space that you can free up is considerable, and the process itself is straightforward, so the trade-off is well worth it.

Note: To help you quickly identify which cache-clearing method is best for you, we’ve evaluated each one based on their ease of implementation (how simple the method is to carry out), performance impact (the likelihood of short-term slowdowns), and potential storage savings (how much storage space you could potentially reclaim).

Safari

Ease of Implementation Performance Impact Potential Storage Savings
Very Easy Minor slowdown on the first visit Moderate

If there’s one cache on iPhone that you should definitely clear, it’s the Safari cache. This cache is often quite extensive because it stores elements from every website you visit using the Safari web browser, the default web browser on iOS, so the potential storage savings are substantial.

To clear the Safari cache on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down until you see the Safari section and open it.safari settings category highlighted purple
  3. Scroll down until you see the Clear history and Website Data option and tap it.clear history and website data highlighted purple
  4. Choose to clear All history. Of course, you can also choose a different timeframe.
  5. Tap the Clear History button at the bottom to confirm your decision to clear the Safari cache on iPhone.clear history confirmation highlighted purple

Chrome

Ease of Implementation Performance Impact Potential Storage Savings
Very Easy Minor slowdown on the first visit Moderate

Even though all web browsers on iOS are just reskins of Safari, they each have their own separate cache. For Chrome users, the process to clear cache on iPhone is a little different, but the amount of storage space that you can potentially save is the same.

To clear the Chrome cache on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Chrome web browser.
  2. Tap the three horizontal dots in the bottom-right corner.chrome more menu button
  3. Tap the Clear browsing data option.clear browsing data chrome highlighted purple
  4. Use the Time range option to specify how far back you’d like to delete the cached data.
  5. Make sure the box next to Cached Images and Files is checked.
  6. Tap Clear Browsing Data at the bottom to initiate the process.clear browsing data chrome

How to Clear App Caches on iPhone?

Just like browser caches, app caches save little fragments of data to make sure apps run smoothly. This is especially true when it comes to instant messaging apps like Telegram or streaming apps like YouTube, which store attachments and media files locally on your device for quicker access.

Clearing app caches is particularly efficient at freeing up storage space on your iPhone because it offers immediate, significant results without requiring a device restart. You also can choose exactly what data is removed.

Generally, app caches on your iPhone can be emptied in two different ways. For some apps, you can empty the cache directly within the app’s settings. Alternatively, if an app doesn’t offer an option to clear the cache manually, you can simply delete the app and then reinstall it.

In-App Settings

Ease of Implementation Performance Impact Potential Storage Savings
Moderate Media files may take longer to load Significant

Let’s use Telegram as an example to walk you through how to clear app cache on iPhone. In Telegram, you can go to the app’s settings and find an option to delete cache:

  1. Launch the Telegram app on your iPhone.
  2. Navigate to the Settings section.
  3. Scroll down and go to the Data and Storage section.data and storage telegram
  4. Tap the Storage Usage button at the top.storage usage telegram
  5. Use the Clear Entire Cache option to do exactly what the option says.clear entire cache telegram

App Deletion

Ease of Implementation Performance Impact Potential Storage Savings
Very Easy Not Applicable Significant

For apps that don’t offer an easy cache-clearing option, deleting the app is the way to go. The potential storage savings are significant since you’re removing not just the cache but all app data. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that this route comes with a high performance impact since reinstalling an uninstalled app can take a long time. Let’s consider YouTube to clarify this approach. To clear YouTube cache on iPhone by deleting the app:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to General -> iPhone Storage.iphone storage highlighted purple
  3. Go through the list of installed app until you find YouTube. Tap on it.
  4. Tap the Delete App button and confirm your decision to uninstall the app.youtube delete app highlighted purple

How to Clean the System Cache on iPhone?

Ease of Implementation Performance Impact Potential Storage Savings
Very Easy Minimal Limited

Last but not least, let’s talk about the system cache. Unlike browser or app caches, the system cache is maintained by iOS itself to ensure your iPhone runs as smoothly as possible, so you usually don’t have to worry about it.

If you feel that there’s a need to remove cache on iPhone for system files manually, then you can simply reboot your iPhone. Just know that system cache cleaning doesn’t result in a massive increase in free storage space, but it can result in smoother performance.

To restart your iPhone you need to:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Navigate to the General section.iphone settings general section highlighted purple
  3. Tap the Shut Down option at the bottom.shut down option highlighted purple
  4. Slide the power icon to power off your device.slide to power off ios
  5. Use the physics power button in its side to turn it on again.

Pros & Cons of Clearing Cache on iPhone

Clearing or deleting cache on iPhone comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The following table outlines the pros and cons of cache clearing:

✅ Pros of Clearing Cache ❌ Cons of Clearing Cache
  • Frees up storage space
  • Potentially speeds up your device
  • Fixes issues with websites and apps not loading correctly
  • Can resolve errors related to outdated or corrupt data
  • Reduces the chances of experiencing software glitches
  • May slow down app performance initially
  • Loss of offline data, like maps or saved articles
  • Time-consuming if done manually for multiple apps

As you can see from the table, the pros of clearing cache on your iPhone generally outnumber the cons. While there are some trade-offs, such as the initial slowdown in app performance and the loss of offline data, these are often short-term inconveniences. Over the long term, the benefits—like freeing up storage space, improving device speed, and resolving software glitches—tend to make cache cleaning a worthwhile endeavor.

In conclusion, given the overall advantages, it’s generally a good idea to consider clearing or deleting cache on your iPhone as a part of your regular digital maintenance.

FAQ

The need to clear the cache on your iPhone can depend on several factors, such as device performance, available storage space, and specific issues you may be experiencing with apps or websites.
System cache on the iPhone often gets managed automatically, meaning it will be cleared over time by the operating system. However, many other types of caches, like those created by individual apps, do not get cleared automatically and must be manually deleted.
For many apps, you can clear the cache without deleting the app by using the in-app cache delete option available in the app’s settings.
Typically, you may consider clearing your iPhone cache when running out of storage space or experiencing slowdowns of apps or the system itself.

Conclusion

Cache management is an often overlooked but important part of maintaining optimal performance and storage health on your iPhone. As we’ve explored in this guide, various types of caches exist on your device, and each type requires you to follow specific steps for effective clean-up.

David Morelo is a tech-focused content writer with the ability to turn complex topics into easily digestible pieces of information. When he’s not writing for onMac, he spends his time creating content for SMBs and enterprises across the IT sector, focusing primarily on data backup and disaster recovery, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things.
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