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Friendly Reminder: Clear Your iPhone's Cache

Give your iPhone a fresh start by clearing your browser cache.

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Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
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Adam Benjamin
Zachary McAuliffe
4 min read
A person using an iPhone

A clear cache keeps your browsing snappy.

Zhang Peng/Getty Images

Your iPhone is a little handheld miracle, granting you on-the-go access to the internet and your favorite apps. It helps you wake up on time and reminds you of important events. In exchange, you probably just move it around your home, your car and everywhere else you go. Maybe you clean it sometimes. But you probably forget to clear your browser cache.

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Just like every other piece of tech, your iPhone needs a little maintenance every now and then, especially if your browsing starts to feel sluggish over time. Keep your iPhone 15 or 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max or any other model moving as fast as possible by clearing your browser cache every month -- it takes only a few seconds. 

Your cache acts as a sort of digital mini-fridge, storing information about sites so it doesn't have to reload from scratch. When it works, it means you can take a quick trip to your mini-fridge instead of walking all the way out to the kitchen. The problem is that the contents of that mini-fridge can wind up expired -- you go to grab a snack and notice that something that used to be green is now a putrid brown. In browser terms, the cached data might load slowly or entirely incorrectly, leading to wonky-looking websites. Clearing your cache is like cleaning your mini-fridge and letting it stock up with fresh data.

Whether you use Chrome, Safari or other browsers on your iPhone, your cache builds up that digital clutter over time. Clearing your cache gives the browser a new start, which can speed up your web surfing, even on iOS 17. (And if you're trying to get your phone to run faster, try managing your iPhone's storage.)

Website cookies are similar, except they store information about user data, rather than data on the website itself. Clearing your cookies gives you a chance to reset those preferences, which could improve your browsing experience. Note that clearing your cache and cookies will log you out of sites, which means you'll have to log into them again and reset any preferences. But the upfront investment of that time can lead to a smoother experience down the road, and it can be a useful fix if you've recently changed settings that aren't being applied properly.

Here are step-by-step guides on how to clear your cache on your iPhone based on the browser you use

How to clear your iPhone cache in Safari

Safari is the default browser on iPhones, and you can clear your Safari cache in a few short steps. Starting with iOS 11, following this process will affect all devices signed in to your iCloud account. As a result, all your devices' caches will be cleared, and you'll need to sign in to everything the next time you use them. Here's what to do.

1.Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

2. Select Safari from the list of apps.

3. Go to Clear History and Website Data.

4. Choose Clear History and Data in the pop-up box.

Then you're set!

Read more:Best iPhone in 2024: Which Apple Phone Should You Buy?

How to clear your iPhone cache in Chrome

Google Chrome internet browser logo

It's easy to clear your iPhone cache in Chrome.

James Martin/CNET

Chrome is another popular browser for iPhone users. Thankfully, Google has simplified the process for clearing your Chrome cache, making it much faster to clear your data. 

1. Open the Chrome app.

2. Select the three dots in the bottom right to open more options.

3. Choose Clear Browsing Data to open up another menu.

4. Select the intended time range at the top of the menu (anywhere from Last Hour to All Time).

5.Make sure that Cookies, Site Data is selected, along with Cached Images and Files. Finally, hit Clear Browsing Data at the bottom of the screen.

Read more: This iPhone Setting Stops Ads From Following You Across the Web

How to clear your iPhone cache in Firefox

If you're a Firefox devotee, don't worry. Clearing the cache on your iPhone is pretty straightforward. Just follow these steps. 

1. Click the hamburger menu in the bottom right corner to open up options.

2. Choose Settings at the bottom of the menu.

3. Select Data Management in the Privacy section.

4. You can select Website Data to clear data for individual sites, or select Clear Private Data at the bottom of the screen to clear data from all selected fields.

Read more: Experiencing Slow Wi-Fi? It Could Be Caused by Internet Throttling. Here's How to Tell

What happens when you clear the cache? 

Clearing your cache removes the website data your phone stored locally to prevent having to download that data upon each new visit. The data in your cache builds over time and can end up slowing things down if it becomes too bulky or out of date. (My phone had about 150MB of data stored in Chrome when I checked.) Clearing that data gives sites a fresh start, which may fix some loading errors and speed up your browser. However, clearing your cache also signs you out of pages, so be prepared to sign in to everything again. 

How often do I need to clear my cache?

Most people only need to clear their caches once every month or two. That's generally the point when your browser will build up a cache large enough to start slowing things down. If you frequent a large number of sites, you should err on the side of clearing your cache more often.