If you have ever been on a call with tech support or have visited tech forums for help with browser or disk space-related issues, you might find the word cache making its rounds in these discussions.

But what exactly are cache files?

Cache files are temporary data stored locally on your Mac as a result of an earlier processing or accessing of data elsewhere. This is so that if there’s a need to retrieve that data later, it can be made available faster. When you visit a webpage, for example, your browser will download the images into the cache. The next time you decide to check in on that website, your browser won’t have to download the images again and they will be ready with very little to no delay.

What Are The Types Of Cache That Can Be Cleaned On A Mac?

These are the 3 types of caches that you can sweep up:

1. User cache

These are the cache files that are generated by the apps installed on your Mac. This includes both third-party software and the ones that came with your macOS.

2. System cache

The built-in macOS system services that keep your Mac running is responsible for creating this type of cache file.

3. Browser cache

The browser cache keeps tons of your browsing data. With the help of some of the cache’s kin members, such as cookies and trackers, details of your website visits and other actions you perform on a site can be collected by your browser. So it’s not really happenstance when you see an item that you were eyeing on a shopping website last week pop up on ads on other sites. While cache data can make it convenient for you to stay logged in to your favorite web applications, it can also make it easier for advertisers to tread on your heels around the internet.

What Are The Benefits Of Clearing The Cache?

1. Improved application and system performance

If you have a significant amount of cache data, it could hamper the performance of your Mac. Deleting cache data will enhance your Mac’s speed and performance.

2. A fresh version of webpages is loaded

The stored/cached version of a webpage can become stale and may not reflect recent changes made to the webpage. Clearing the cache ensures that you are viewing a fresh version of the page.

3. Reduced privacy threats

The cache can store personal and/or sensitive information. If you are using a shared computer, you could run the risk of unwittingly granting others access to that information. If privacy is important to you, clearing the cache should be at the top of your list.

How Does One Clear Cache On A Macbook Pro or Air?

You can do it manually with patience, time, and heaping amounts of caution and care. But if you find yourself unable to expend any of those resources, you can download CleanMyMac and delete cache files with just a few clicks. We’ll show you both methods so you can choose one or the other as you see fit.

Deleting the user, system, and app cache manually

1. Launch the Finder and select “Go to Folder” from the Go menu.

2. Type in ~/Library/Caches and hit Return to get to the Caches folder

Tip: You can copy the contents of the folder to a different location/folder as a precautionary step just in case something goes awry.

3. Open the folders in that location and remove the contents of the folders, but not the actual folders themselves.

You can delete the app cache by performing the next steps but please observe caution before moving on as not all app cache can be safely deleted. You may find the tip in step 2 helpful in averting accidents.

4. We’ll follow steps 1 to 3 but this time we’ll replace ~/Library/Caches in step 2 with/Library/Caches.

5. After clearing out the cache, empty out your Trash by clicking on the Trash icon in the dock and selecting “Empty Trash”.

6. Restart your Mac so that it can generate fresh cache files.

To mitigate the risk of deleting files that are not supposed to be deleted, you can consider…

Clearing the cache with a one-button option

  1. Open CleanMyMac X.
  2. Click “Smart Scan” in the left menu.
  3. Choose “Scan” and then click “Clean”.

It’s that easy!

Clearing browser cache manually

Each browser requires different methods and you’d have to go into each and every single one of them to clear the cache.

Safari

  1. Open up Safari.
  2. Select “Preferences”.
  3. Go to the “Advanced” tab and enable “Show Develop menu in menu bar”.
  4. Proceed to the “Develop” menu option.
  5. Select “Empty Caches”.
  6. Close Safari and reopen it after clearing the cache

Chrome

  1. Click the three-dot icon at the top right corner of Google Chrome.
  2. Select “Settings”.
  3. Go to the bottom and choose “Advanced”.
  4. Select “Clear browsing data.”
  5. Uncheck all except for “Cached images and files”.
  6. In the “Time Range” dropdown box, pick “All time”.
  7. Click “Clear Data”.

Firefox

  1. Click the hamburger icon (the one with 3 horizontal lines) at the top right corner and then click “Options”.
  2. From the left-hand side, click “Privacy & Security”.
  3. Scroll to the section that says, “Cookies and Site Data”.
  4. Click “Clear Data”.
  5. Tick “Cached Web Content” and click “Clear”.
  6. Close and reopen Firefox.

Clearing browsing data all at once

By clearing the browsing data with the CleanMyMac X, you save yourself a few clicks and time.

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X and select “Privacy”.
  2. Select the browser of your choice.
  3. Pick the cache and privacy tracks that you want to remove.
  4. Click “Remove”.

Final Words

Ridding your Mac of cache and junk does not have to be rocket science. As long as the manual steps are followed to a T, you are good to go. You can also make it easier and avoid slip-ups by having CleanMyMac X do the job for you. If you’d like to know more about it, you may read up on SoftwareFavorite’s CleanMyMac X comprehensive review.