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How to clear your cache on Safari on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad to make it run faster

Business Insider logo Business Insider 2/24/2021 insider@insider.com (Laura McCamy)
a close up of a person: Clear your cache on Safari to free up storage space and help your device run more efficiently. K303/Shutterstock © K303/Shutterstock Clear your cache on Safari to free up storage space and help your device run more efficiently. K303/Shutterstock
  • You can clear your cache on Safari in just a few steps on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad.
  • When you clear cache on Safari, it can free up storage space and help your system run faster.  
  • In addition to cache, you may also want to clear cookies and browsing history on Safari.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

A cache is a store of data. When you visit a website on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, the Safari browser keeps a snapshot of the pages you view.

If you go back to that website, Safari loads the cached page in an instant, instead of taking the time to retrieve the page from the internet again. 

But an overloaded cache can take up storage space and cause your device to run inefficiently - and it could use a periodic clearing. 

Quick tip: Along with cache, clearing cookies and browsing history on Safari may help resolve performance issues. 

Here's what you need to know to clear your cache on Safari, as well as your cookies and browsing history.

How to clear cache on Safari on a Mac

  1. Click on the "Safari" tab at the top left of your screen and choose "Preferences..." from the dropdown menu.

    graphical user interface, application: Navigate to the Preferences section. Laura McCamy/Business Insider © Laura McCamy/Business Insider Navigate to the Preferences section. Laura McCamy/Business Insider
  2. Click the "Advanced" tab of the menu that pops up.
  3. At the end of the tab, select the "Show Develop menu in menu bar" box and close the Preferences menu. 

    graphical user interface, text, application, email: Make sure this box is checked. Laura McCamy/Business Insider © Laura McCamy/Business Insider Make sure this box is checked. Laura McCamy/Business Insider
  4. Click the "Develop" tab from the Safari menu at the top of the page.
  5. Click "Empty Caches" from the dropdown menu. 
graphical user interface, text, application: Click "Empty Caches" from the Develop tab. Laura McCamy/Business Insider © Laura McCamy/Business Insider Click "Empty Caches" from the Develop tab. Laura McCamy/Business Insider

How to clear history on Safari on a Mac

You may also want to clear your browsing history in addition to emptying your cache. Here's how to do that.

  1. Choose the "History" tab at the top of your screen.

    graphical user interface, text, application: Find History on the top of your screen. Will Fischer/Insider © Will Fischer/Insider Find History on the top of your screen. Will Fischer/Insider
  2. At the very bottom of the dropdown menu, choose "Clear History..."

  3. A box pops up with a choice to clear the last hour, today, today and yesterday, or all history. Choose your time frame and click the "Clear History" button.

    graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message: You can always come back and clear more history later. Laura McCamy/Business Insider © Laura McCamy/Business Insider You can always come back and clear more history later. Laura McCamy/Business Insider

How to clear Safari cache and history on iPhone or iPad 

To clear your cache and browsing history:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap "Safari."
  3. Tap "Clear History and Website Data."

    graphical user interface, text, application: Tap "Clear History and Website Data" under the Safari tab in the Settings app. Laura McCamy/Business Insider © Laura McCamy/Business Insider Tap "Clear History and Website Data" under the Safari tab in the Settings app. Laura McCamy/Business Insider
  4. On the screen that pops up, choose "Clear History and Data." 

    graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message: When you clear your cache on your iPhone or iPad, it will clear your history on your connected devices and computers as well. Laura McCamy/Business Insider © Laura McCamy/Business Insider When you clear your cache on your iPhone or iPad, it will clear your history on your connected devices and computers as well. Laura McCamy/Business Insider

How to clear cookies on Safari on iPhone or iPad

To clear your cookies but not your browsing history:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Safari.
  3. Tap "Advanced."
  4. Tap "Website Data."

    graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message: Tap "Website Data." Laura McCamy/Business Insider © Laura McCamy/Business Insider Tap "Website Data." Laura McCamy/Business Insider
  5. Choose "Remove All Website Data."

    graphical user interface, table: Before you do this, you might want to check your iCloud settings to make sure you preserve your passwords. Laura McCamy/Business Insider © Laura McCamy/Business Insider Before you do this, you might want to check your iCloud settings to make sure you preserve your passwords. Laura McCamy/Business Insider

What happens to saved passwords when you clear your cache

You may have had the experience of clearing your browsing history and cache and then discovering that your browser logged you out of your favorite websites.

If you saved passwords in your browser so you could automatically log in to certain sites, clearing your cache can clear your passwords as well.

Happily, Apple has a solution to this problem. If you use iCloud, check your iCloud settings on your phone or computer.

Make sure that you've checked the box for Safari. As long as this box is checked, any passwords you save through your browser will stay safe in your keychain.

graphical user interface, application: Make sure the Safari box is on under iCloud to retain your passwords in your keychain. Laura McCamy/Business Insider © Laura McCamy/Business Insider Make sure the Safari box is on under iCloud to retain your passwords in your keychain. Laura McCamy/Business Insider How to clear the cache on your iPhone to free up storage space and help it run fasterHow to clear the cache on your Mac computer to make it run more efficientlyHow to clear the cache on a Google Chrome browser to make it run more efficientlyHow to clear the cache on a Windows 10 computer in 3 ways to help it run more efficiently 
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