A Comprehensive Guide to Clearing Cache on Your Android Device

Do you find your Android phone slowing down and acting glitchy lately? One easy fix is to wipe the temporary cached data that builds up over time. Clearing this unneeded clutter can give your device a speed and storage boost!

In this step-by-step guide, I’ll explain exactly what cache is, when to clear it, and how to easily delete it on any Android device. By the end, you’ll have an insider’s view into cache maintenance. Let’s get started!

What is “Cache” on Android?

Simply put, cache is temporary data generated by the apps and processes running on your Android phone. Over time as you use apps, browse websites, play media files, and conduct searches, helper data gets cached in the background to optimize performance.

This cached data sits dormant in your storage once the app is closed. According to Android Authority, cache can build up rather quickly, taking up as much as 20% of available storage space!

Here’s an overview of what may get cached based on how you use your device:

UsageTypes of Cached Data
Browsing websites, social media apps, news feedsImages, embedded videos, page layout files
Streaming music, video, podcastsAudio files, offline media content
Using maps/navigation, food delivery or ridesharing appsMap tiles, location data
GamingGame graphics, level/user data

Over time, all that inactive cache clutter can really slow things down by hogging your phone‘s resources. This makes clearing it out vital for optimal performance!

When Should You Clear Cache on Your Device?

As a general rule of thumb, aim to wipe your Android cache every month or so. But watch for these signs indicating it‘s definitely time for some cache cleansing:

  • Device feels slower and apps are laggy
  • Low storage space warnings
  • Increased app freezing/crashing
  • Problems updating or installing new apps
  • Buggy performance after a major OS update

Luckily, removing built-up cache junk takes just a few quick taps. Let‘s look at how to clear it from your Android device…

Step 1: Access Your Phone’s Storage Settings

Open the Settings app on your Android‘s home screen or app drawer:

Android Settings app icon

Next, select the Storage option, which manages the total and available space on your phone:

Android Storage settings menu

On some Android skins like Samsung, this may be called Storage Manager or Memory and Storage instead.

Step 2: Review Storage Details

You should now see a breakdown of storage usage by type – tap your device‘s main storage for options:

Breakdown of used and free space on Android

Take a look at how much space is being used by various types of files vs what‘s still free. Make note of any unusually high usage categories.

We want to select the cached data next since cached app files can be safely deleted whenever needed.

Step 3: Clear Built-Up Cache

Under the storage usage details, find and tap the Cache category then tap the button to clear it:

Button to wipe Android cache

And that‘s it! All the accumulated cached junk gets removed freeing up space and clearing out temporary glitches.

Pro Tip

You’ll also see options to Clear Data or Clear Storage under app info—but avoid these unless you want to delete personal files and uninstall apps completely. Clearing only Cache is safest!

Now let‘s go over how to remove cache on a per-app basis…

Selectively Clearing Cache for Individual Apps

Instead of removing all cached data globally, you can also clear cache for specific problematic apps only:

  1. Open Settings > Apps & notifications
  2. Select the misbehaving app
  3. Tap Storage & cache > Clear Cache

This leaves all other apps‘ cache intact while isolating issues to just what you selected.

For example, clear just Chrome‘s cache if web pages aren‘t loading right or wipe the Facebook cache if your feed looks wonky. This pinpoint fix often resolves odd app behavior quickly!

Key Differences: Cache vs Data vs Storage

On Android‘s app info screen, you’ll notice three options—it’s important to understand the differences:

OptionWhat Gets DeletedRisk of Losing Data
Clear CacheTemp files apps generate to optimize performanceNone
Clear DataApp settings, credentials, preferences—returned to out-of-box stateHigh
Clear StorageALL cache, data plus installed app components and files—requires full re-downloadHighest

As you can see, tapping Clear Cache is the safest maintenance route! Now let‘s clear up a common concern…

Does Removing Cache Delete Any Personal Data?

Rest assured that wiping your cached data will never affect personal files like:

  • Photos/videos: All media stays intact in your device Photos app or cloud backups.

  • Messages: Texts or chat histories don‘t rely on cache so they remain unchanged.

  • Downloads: Music, PDFs, Microsoft Office docs and any other downloads or user files avoid getting touched by cache deletion.

So you don’t have to fret about accidentally losing any documents or precious memories when optimizing your phone’s performance this way!

Clearing Cache on iPhone vs Android

Managing your cache works quite similarly across iOS and Android. But here are some platform-specific differences to note:


  • Clear cache system-wide under Storage settings
  • More cached junk accumulates due to open app architecture
  • Access by tapping App info > Storage > Clear cache


  • Need to manage cache per app
  • Limited background processes reduce cache buildup
  • Access via Settings > General > iPhone Storage > App > Offload App

Now let’s explore exactly when cache maintenance makes the biggest impact…

Optimal Times to Clear Cache Based on Usage Patterns

You don’t have to overthink when exactly to schedule clearing your device’s cache. But some instances that especially warrant a cache wipe include:

OS Upgrades: Major Android OS updates like jumping from 11 to 12 can sometimes cause temporary quirks. Quickly wiping cache after upgrades often irons out issues.

New App Installs: Similarly, freshly installed apps may act buggy at first. Clearing cache gives them a clean slate improving stability.

Storage Space Running Low: Cache eats up chunks of storage over time. Removing it frees up room for taking more photos or downloading files.

Exceeding Cellular Data Limits: Cache can contain hefty media files cached from the web while on WiFi. Clearing it keeps cellular data needs lower.

International Travel: Some destinations charge roaming fees for mobile data. Minimizing cached files lightens downloads while traveling.

Selling or Gifting Your Device: Wiping cache safeguards privacy by removing logged-in website cookies, app usage histories and residual temporary files.

No matter when or why you choose to remove built-up cache junk, just remember the process only takes seconds while the performance boost lasts for weeks!

Let’s Recap: Key Takeaways

  • Cache refers to inactive background helper files generated by Android apps
  • Clearing cache every month frees up storage, speeds operations and can fix glitches
  • Access cache wipe options under Settings > Storage on your device
  • Only cached data gets deleted – photos, texts and other user files stay intact
  • Watch for sluggishness after OS updates or installing new apps as signs to clear cache
  • You can clear cache for all apps at once or target individual troubled apps

Hopefully you now have an insider’s overview into cached data – that hidden performance hog! Let me know if any other questions come up. Stay tuned for even more tips on optimizing your Android device.

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