(Pocket-lint) - If you've got a problem with your browser then clearing your cache can be a quick and easy way to fix it, with some minor drawbacks.
You can clear your cache in all browsers, whether on a desktop machine, Mac or laptop or even your phone. This logic applies to Chrome, Edge, Firefox and more.
In the following guide, we'll explain how to clear your cache and remove cookies to alleviate any problems you might have been having.
What happens when you clear your cache and delete cookies
When you visit a website your browser will automatically save certain information. If you visit a site regularly, this can be useful as this caching can help the site load quickly and give you a better user experience. Images, videos and certain parts of a site may be cached to help with load speeds.
At the same time cookies save your particular user data, which can be helpful if you're using a site which allows you to log into an account. Cookies are also used to help show you relevant adverts and tailor your experience on the site you're on and across the web.
If you clear your cache and delete your cookies then this information is deleted and this can have knock-on effects. Sites you've previously visited may now load more slowly and you'll also need to re-enter login information even on sites that previously remembered you.
Force refresh your browser
As an alternative to clearing your cache, if you're having problems with a particular page you're browsing then there's a much easier thing to try first.
This is essentially forcing a hard refresh of the page you're looking at. You already know that you can reload the page you're on by clicking the reload button on the browser bar. This likely won't solve your problem though. So what you need is a hard refresh. This completely refreshes the page you're on, including clearing the cache for that particular page.
This is not sitewide, so it will only help with one page and not an entire site if there's a bigger problem but in most cases it works perfectly
There are various ways to do this:
- On Windows - if you're using a Windows machine, press CTRL and click the reload button or press CTRL+F5 at the same time. If that doesn't work press CTRL+SHIFT+R.
- On Mac - when using Safari on a Mac click SHIFT and the reload button or for other browsers press CMD+SHIFT+R
How to clear your Chrome cache
If you're using Chrome it's really easy to clear your browser cache in seconds. The quickest way to do that is by clicking CTRL+SHIFT+DEL at the same time. This will take you straight to the settings you need to delete your cache and cookies.
Otherwise, you can access the cache settings from the Chrome menu:
- Click the three dots menu icon on the top right of the screen
- Look for the option marked "more tools"
- Open that and click "clear browsing data"
- Then you have access to the tools you need to clear the cache
From these settings, you can clear various things in a specific time range. It defaults to 24 hours, but you can also select to clear the last seven days or four weeks of browsing history or all time. You can also choose just to clear your browsing history or just the cookies or just cached images and files or all of the above.
If you need to clean more aggressively, then click on the advanced tab to delete other things like auto-fill form data, site settings and more.
It's worth noting that if you use your account to sync data across multiple browsers and machines this process will delete those too. So you'll need to sign out of your account on Chrome first before you do this.
How to clear your Firefox cache
Clearing your cache on Firefox is fairly similar to doing it with Chrome. The option to clear your cache is in the browser's settings.
To access these settings:
- First click the burger menu on the browser and click on settings
- Look for "Privacy & Security" on the left hand side menu
- Then look for the section marked "cookies and site data"
- Click on "clear data" then select what you want to clear
- Click "Clear"
You can also set Firefox to automatically delete your cache every time you close it. The settings for this are under "privacy & security" and then under "history". Select that and you won't have any history saved.
How to clear your Microsoft Edge cache
Clearing your cache in Edge is a bit different as it is buried a bit behind other settings. To find it:
- Click the three dots menu button on the top right
- Click on "history"
- Then click the three dots menu in the new history window
- Then click "clear browsing data"
- You then have the option to clear various things
As with Chrome, this browser gives you the ability to choose different time frames including the last hour, last 24 hours, last seven days, last four weeks and all time.
You can then select to clear your cache, cookies, browsing history, passwords and more. Select what you want to delete and then click "clear now".