“Cache” is a term which you may come across pretty often when exploring maintenance methods for your Mac. But what does “cache” really mean, and is it good or bad for your computer?
What is a Cache?
Basically, cache is a place on the hard drive of your Mac where Mac OS, browsers, and applications keep part of data they’ve downloaded to perform certain operations. Temporary data is stored to speed up processes and applications on your Mac. It means that, for example, when you open some web page, Safari will send images from it into the cache. Next time you visit this page, the browser will address the cache, avoiding the necessity to download same media files again and thus, open the link faster.
Cache sounds like a smart way to save your time, yet – not the storage space on your Mac. Despite being called “temporary,” cache files don’t disappear from the computer for a very long time. Over months and years, they build up, taking more space; as a result, they might start to slow down your Mac. Hence, clearing cache from time to time is quite essential for the proper MacOS performance.
If you ask yourself "When should I clear cache on Mac?", this post provides you the answer. Moreover, you will discover the best ways to do it as fast and effortlessly as it only gets.
Reasons to clean cache
When Do You Need to Clear Cache?
Before you start, it is worth noting that clearing cache is not a task you are obliged to perform every day. You only want to trash temporary files if they start taking too much space on your Mac, slowing down its work drastically or causing bugs in some apps. Originally, sending temporary data into the cache is a function created to help out in Mac’s performance, and if you don’t have solid reasons to delete cache, then just don’t. However, if you are one of many users who face problems caused by piled cache files, you should learn the ways to clear them out.
In this guide, we will tell how to manually delete user, system and app cache.
Deleting user cache manually
The majority of junk on your Mac is made up by user cache. A thorough cleanup of user cache may free gigabytes of hard drive space on your Mac and speed up the computer's work significantly.
To clean user cache on your Mac, follow these steps:
Note: before you delete anything, a good thing to do is to back up your Mac or all caches into another folder. If clearing caches causes bugs, you’ll be able to restore them. If all is fine, you can delete these duplicates any moment.
Once finished, make sure to empty Mac’s Trash. Hit “Empty Trash” after Control-clicking on the Trash icon in the Dock. Finally, restart your Mac.
Eliminating system & app cache manually
System cache files are usually created by applications running on your Mac. App cache is a bulk of media files downloaded to speed up the work of an app; it takes up quite a bit of disk space.
To delete app cache, you should go to ~/Library/Caches, just like when you did when deleting user cache. Clean the insides of the folders with the app names.
Caution! Clearing app cache is not always safe for your Mac, as some developers store important user information in these cache folders. That’s why backing up a folder before you delete it, is something you definitely should do.
In the end, this method will let you clean up to 10% of potential hard drive space.
To make the process of cleaning cache go smoothly and not cause any complications, you can use a reliable third-party cleaning utility (e.g., MacProCleaner). With its help, you will save yourself time and drastically decrease the risk of a mistake.