If your iPhone storage has nearly filled up, cache could be to blame. As you use more apps, they require more space on your phone to store information.
Luckily, you can clear cache in your iPhone or iPad easily. We’ll take a look at how to clear cache on your iPhone, and what clearing cache does.
What Is Cache?
Cache is a term for temporary data stored by apps and websites so they can work more efficiently in the future.
For example, if you visit a website with a large banner graphic, your browser will cache that so you don’t have to download it again next time you open that page. When you stream on Apple Music, it caches your most-played tracks so that you can change songs faster.
Cache is a normal part of modern phones and computers. Without it, your phone would work much less efficiently. Thus, the storage space that cache uses is worthwhile.
Though your phone will recreate cache even after you clear it, it’s still a helpful step for troubleshooting. It can also free up storage space temporarily, especially if you haven’t cleared the cache in a while.
How to Clear Safari Cache on iPhone
Browser cache is often the biggest user of storage, so it makes sense to start with clearing your browser cache.
To do so, head to the Settings app. Scroll down through the list of installed apps, and tap Safari. You’ll see all sorts of Safari settings, but we’re interested in an option near the bottom. Select Clear History and Website Data.
You’ll see a confirmation prompt; tap Clear History and Data again to confirm.
Note that doing this will delete cache as well as history, cookies, and more from all websites. This will log you out of anywhere you’re signed in. It also erases this information for all devices that use your iCloud account.
If you’d prefer, you can manually clear cache for specific websites instead of erasing it all. Do this by choosing Advanced from Safari’s options, then selecting Website Data. You’ll see a list of all sites that have saved data on your iPhone or iPad.
Tap Edit in the top-right, then hit the Delete symbol to the left of each entry you want to erase.
When you’re finished, tap Done. Use the Show All Sites link at the bottom of the list to see more, or search using the bar at the top. The list sorts from most to least space used.
Thinking of moving away from Safari? Check out our comparison of iPhone browsers to see which would be best for you.
How to Clear App Cache on iPhone
Unlike Safari, clearing cache for other apps depends on what the developer allows. Some apps have an option to clear cache, while others don’t provide this.
To check, dead to Settings and scroll down the list until you see your installed apps. Tap each one to view its specific settings. You may see a Reset Cache on Next Launch or similar option; the only app we saw this for is Slack, though.
You should also check individual app settings for clearing cache. For example, you can clear Spotify’s cache by opening its Settings menu and choosing Storage. Hit the Delete Cache button to clear Spotify’s cache. We’ve showed how to clear Google Maps’s cache too.
If you want to clear an app’s cache that doesn’t have an option to do so, like Facebook or Instagram, you’ll need to uninstall and reinstall it. You may want to visit Settings > General > iPhone Storage to see which apps take up the most space on your phone. This can help you prioritize what cache to clear.
Select an app here and check the size of the Documents & Data field (you can’t help the App Size). If it’s fairly large, tap Delete App and confirm the action. Then head back to the App Store to reinstall a fresh copy.
You can also remove apps using the classic method: lightly press and hold any app on your home screen until they all start shaking. Tap the X icon on an app and you’ll see a prompt to delete it.
Don’t Forget to Restart Your iPhone
While not necessarily related to clearing cache, don’t forget that a simple restart of your iPhone can clear up some simple issues. If performance feels sluggish, just press and hold the Power button on your iPhone and slide to turn it off.
We’ve also covered how to force restart your iPhone, for a slightly more drastic method.
What About iPhone Cleaner Apps?
When researching this process, you may have come across programs like iMyFone that tout powerful cache cleaning functionality. In almost every case, you should avoid these.
The “free” versions of these apps do very little and only serve to entice you to pay for them. Due to iOS’s restrictions, these apps can’t do much more than you can already do on your iPhone. You’re much better off taking a few minutes to clear iPhone cache using the methods above than to pay $20 or more for one of these tools.
Your iPhone Cache, Now All Cleared Out
Now you’ve cleared your iPhone’s browser cache and app cache. Remember, though, that clearing cache isn’t something you should do regularly. After you erase it, Safari and other apps will recreate cache as needed, so any storage savings you gain will eventually disappear. Plus, when you clear cache, apps won’t run as smoothly.
If you have a severe lack of storage, then clearing cache can help temporarily. But you really should free up iPhone storage in other ways; photos are one of the biggest storage hogs.
And it’s always good idea to keep your content organized; here are some tips for managing your iPad web content.