How to Clear Cache and Cookies in Chrome

Although cache and cookies are designed to boost your user experience, they can lead to reduced browser performance when they start building up. No browser is going to offer to clear cache and cookies for you on its own. You’re going to have to do it yourself.

Knowing how to deal with cache and cookies is internet browsing 101. Seeing as how Chrome is one of the most popular browsers out there, knowing how to deal with cache and cookies on it is essential. Here’s how to clear cache and cookies in Chrome on various devices.

What Exactly Are Cache and Cookies?

Cache and cookies are commonly referred to as “browsing data.” For all intents and purposes, this is exactly what they are. But what does this actually mean?

We’re talking about temporary data storage that helps with your overall in-browser user experience and boosts the performance of online pages. To put it simply: browsing data stores some information on the device to decrease load times of certain pages and speed up data input situations.

But this doesn’t even begin to describe what these data pieces truly are. Seeing as how you’re likely planning on clearing this data, it wouldn’t hurt to know exactly what cache and cookies represent.

Cookies

While browsing the web, you’ve doubtlessly seen prompts asking you to allow the use of cookies on certain websites. But what are you doing by allowing this information on your computer? In the vast majority of cases, as long as a page is secure, allowing cookies will do nothing but good things for you.

Cookies are tiny files that contain certain data that’s useful to a particular website. This data includes preferences, passwords, IP addresses, browser info, visit date and time, etc. Essentially, after allowing cookies on a website, each time you try loading it again, Chrome will send the files to the server, to let it know of your activity.

An important thing to note here is that cookies have a lifespan, which is defined by the creator – they expire after that time period runs out.

So, cookies help you and the website that you’re visiting – they get data about your preferences, items that you’ve bought, visit times, clicked-on banners, and so on. In return, you get a more customized experience – as tailored as possible to your preferences.

Cache

Web or HTTP cache is a temporary storage of various web documents like images and HTML pages for quick access to the website. Cache reduces the server load, bandwidth usage, as well as lag. Overall, the cache makes your online experience smoother.

Every browser, including Chrome, has a web cache system that stores copies of data that pass through it. This is done so that any subsequent requests can be satisfied from the cache, instead of having to make requests from the web again, which would prove a significantly slower experience.

This is particularly helpful for websites with large videos and pictures that take some time to load. What cache does is let you instantly load up the images/videos the next time you try to go to the website.

Cookies vs. Cache

Cookies and cache are united under the banner of browsing data. Both data types are stored on the user’s computer (by the browser). However, they are different. For one, cookies track information about the user, thereby allowing the website to create a more user-tailored experience. On the other hand, the cache plainly saves data onto the user’s computer for faster load times.

Cookies will store data such as user preferences. Cache mostly pertains to video, audio, and flash files.

The biggest difference between the two, though, is probably the fact that cookies are set to automatically expire. In contrast, cache remains on the computer until removed manually.

How to Clear Cache and Cookies in Chrome on Windows 10

If you’re using a Windows PC, chances are that Chrome is your go-to browser. Windows PCs do need a lot of attention, which absolutely translates to web browsers, including Chrome. So, if your browser starts acting up all of a sudden, don’t uninstall it and try installing it immediately. Try clearing the browsing data first.

Clearing browsing data is not at all complicated and can be done very quickly. Bear in mind, though, that it is the browsing data that allows you to do automatic and quick logins, so you might want to consider this.

Click the three-dot menu icon

Open your Chrome browser. Navigate to the upper-right corner of the window and click the three-dot icon.




Click ‘More Tools’

A drop-down menu will appear. Navigate to More tools and hover over the entry.




Click ‘Clear Browsing Data’

Another submenu will appear. Find and click Clear browsing data in it.

This will take you to a new tab, the Settings tab, to be exact. We recommend using the Basic tab, but you can also to the Advanced tab for more selective deletion options.

By default, in the Basic tab, everything will be checked. This includes cookies and cached files, but also your browsing history. If you don’t wish to remove your browsing history, uncheck the box in front of the entry.

You’ll also get to select the time range. This will remove the cookies/cache obtained in the last hour, last 24 hours, last 7 days, last 4 weeks, or all of them. Once you’re done, select Clear data to clear cache in cookies in your Chrome browser.

The Advanced tab allows you to manually select which cookies/cache you want to delete and which pieces of data you want to keep. This includes passwords and sign-in data, images and files, autofill data, site settings, hosted app data, and so on.

How to Clear Cache and Cookies in Chrome on a Mac

Although the Mac Chrome app used to differ from the PC Chrome app at some point, it’s identical now. This means that if you want to clear cache and cookies on a Mac PC, all you need to do is run the Chrome browser, and follow the PC instructions outlined above.

How to Clear Cache and Cookies in Chrome on an iOS Device

If you are an Apple iPhone or iPad user, you’re probably used to using Safari as your main browser. However, using Chrome has its own benefits. For one, there are many PC users who are iOS users as well. If they prefer Chrome on their PCs, they might want to import the settings and everything else to their iOS device.

Clearing the browser data inside an iOS Chrome app is easy and doesn’t lack in any options that it’s Android counterpart has. To clear cookies and cache in Chrome on iOS:

Click on the three-dot menu icon

Run the app and go to the three-dot icon in the bottom-right corner.




Tap on ‘History’

Navigate to History.




Tap ‘Clear Browsing Data’

In the window that pops up, select Clear Browsing Data.




Select the items to delete

In the next screen, you will get to choose which browsing data you want to delete. If you want to delete only cookies and cache, deselect the Autofill Data and Browsing History options, and make sure that the Saved Passwords option is also unchecked. Then, make sure that the Cookies, Site Data, and Cached Images and Files options are selected.




Tap the time range

Select the time range for deletion. The options you have are the same options that you get on the desktop version.




Tap ‘Clear Browsing Data’

Finish off by tapping Clear Browsing Data at the bottom of the screen.


How to Clear Cache and Cookies in Chrome on an Android Device

Clearing the browsing data on Android phones and tablets works pretty much the same as on iOS. There are some slight differences. For instance, the three-dot More option is located in the top-right corner of the screen, rather than at the bottom left.

Tap the three-dot menu

Tap ‘Settings’ then tap ‘Privacy’

Tap ‘Clear Browsing Data’

From there, it’s all fairly straight-forward. Select the data that you want to remove, and finalize by tapping Clear data.

Additional FAQ

Will my browser still have all my user names and passwords?

This depends on what browser history you choose to delete. By default, whether you use the Basic or Advanced browser data clearing mode, saved passwords, along with usernames, aren’t selected. If you clear cookies and cache only, you might end up signed out of certain websites, but your saved usernames and passwords will still be there. However, delete the saved passwords during browser data clearing, and you’ll have to input them all over again.

Will my computer still remember my visited websites?

When you enter the clear browser data menu on Chrome, regardless of what device you’re using, the browsing history option will be selected by default. If you don’t pay attention and jump straight to clearing the data, you may end up deleting your browser history as well. So, if you do delete the browser data, your device won’t remember your previously visited sites and pages.

If you want to prevent this from happening, be sure to uncheck the box next to Browsing History, whichever device you might be using. Do this, clear the browsing data, and your device will still remember which sites/pages you’ve visited.

Is the data really gone? What exactly happens to it?

The browser data, including the cookies and cache, isn’t particularly relevant in the vast majority of cases. There isn’t a way to automatically have the data backed up every time you choose to delete it. However, you can backup/export your browser data. Chrome, unfortunately, doesn’t offer this option. This is because, in most situations, browser data isn’t overly important.

There are, however, pieces of third-party software available out there that will help you export and backup your browsing data, if you really need it. Some of these tools are available as extensions, while others work as standalone apps.

You can also access this data manually. It’s located under your user name, in \AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default. However, to use these files, you’ll have to mess around the Windows folder system. The same goes for Mac PCs. On mobile and tablet devices, there’s no easy way to manually backup the cookie/cache data.

Clearing Browser Data in Chrome

Whichever device you’re using Chrome on, clearing the browsing data is definitely a possibility. In fact, it is advised that you clear cache and cookies every once in a while, just to make sure that things are running as smoothly as possible on your device. With that said, be careful when clearing it. If you leave the browsing history or saved passwords selected, you may find yourself in a world of new problems. Don’t rush it, though, and you’re all good!

Have you managed to successfully clear cache and cookies in Chrome? Is your app working better now? Feel free to hit the comments section below and add your two cents on the subject. Do you prefer doing complete browsing data cleanups, or do you prefer to delete specific pieces of data? Discuss!

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