Clearing the cache on the Mac and reclaiming storage space

You’ve probably heard about the cache on Macs (and other computers), but do you really know what it is?

Cache files are basically temporary data that computers save to speed up certain processes. For example, browsers save static files of the web pages you visit so that you don’t have to download them again if you go back to that site, and some applications save other types of information in an attempt to be more agile.

Clearing the cache on the Mac and reclaiming storage space
Clearing the cache on the Mac and reclaiming storage space

In principle the idea of cache files is very good, the problem is that these files accumulate and can take up a lot of storage space on hard disks or SSDs , which can cause slowdowns on a Mac instead of the effect they should have.

Solving this problem is as simple as performing regular maintenance on the computers and periodically clearing the cache .

There are three different types of cache that can become a space problem on any Mac: user cache, system cache, and browser cache.

In the following lines we are going to explain two ways to clean all these types of caches: one in an almost automatic way using a cleaning software such as CleanMyMac X and another completely manual.

Clean the Mac cache quickly and easily with CleanMyMac X

Using CleanMyMac X to clean out a Mac’s cache is a great idea, because you’ll get a lot of storage space back and you won’t waste a lot of time doing endless manual cleaning steps.

The steps to clear the cache on a Mac with this application are

  1. Download, install and run CleanMyMac X on your Mac.
  2. Click on the System Trash option and start the process by clicking on Analyze.
  3. Click on the Clean button.

That’s it, after these three steps the software will take care of removing all cache files and other unnecessary items that take up storage space on the computer . Depending on the use of the computer and the time that a clean is not performed the space that can be recovered can be very important (more than 12 GB on my Mac at the time of writing this lines as you can see in the screenshot of CleanMyMac X, but on computers where a clean has never been done before I have seen figures of more than 120 GB).

Clearing User and Application Caches on Macs Manually

The user cache takes up the most space on Mac drives. It’s not uncommon to free up several gigabytes, and this improves overall system speed.

To clear the user and application cache manually you must do the following:

  1. Open a Finder window and click on Go – Go to folder.
  2. Type ~/Library/Caches and press enter to access it. Optionally you can copy all the content to another folder in case something happens when you perform the following steps, in some cases app developers keep important information inside the cache folder and having a backup can solve possible problems in the future.
  3. Enter each of the folders and delete its contents (it is not advisable to delete the folders directly, only its contents).

Repeat the previous steps, but in the second step type in the path /Library/Caches .

When all the steps have been completed, empties the Recycle Bin to actually recover the storage space . It is also advisable to restart the Mac so that macOS can start creating the cache correctly again.

Clearing the Browser Cache

In order to make the experience of surfing the Internet more satisfactory, browsers save information in cache to, in theory, accelerate the loading of web pages.

This information is useful on sites you visit regularly , but not on sites you accessed once looking for something specific and never returned. All that information is stored on the Mac’s storage drive, taking up space and causing the whole system to suffer.

In addition, for privacy reasons it is also advisable to delete the browsing history along with the cache, after all nobody likes other people to be able to see the pages they have accessed from their computer.

The way to clear the cache in each browser is different, so below we explain the steps to clean it in the main ones: Safari, Chrome and Firefox.

Delete cache files in Safari

Clearing the cache in Safari is as simple as clicking on the menu History and choosing the option Clear History . The problem is that this option won’t just clear the cache, it will clear the history as well, and although recommended, you may not want to do that.

To be able to empty the Safari cache and not delete the history you must do the following:

  1. Click on Safari – Preferences in the menu bar.
  2. Go to the Advanced tab and select the Show Development Menu check box on the menu bar.
  3. Now click on Development in the menu bar and click on Empty Cache.

Delete cache files in Chrome

Chrome has a powerful option to delete temporary files, history, cookies, and other temporary information generated by the browser. Thanks to this option you can choose what you want to delete and what you want to keep easily .

The steps you must follow to clear the history are as follows:

  1. Click on the icon with the three vertical dots in the upper right corner and choose the option Settings.
  2. Click on the option Show advanced settings at the bottom of the window.
  3. Click on the Clear Navigation Data button.
  4. Check the contents you want to delete (Files and images cached if you only want to clear the cache) and click on Clear browsing data.

Remove Firefox Cache

In the case of Firefox the steps to follow are the following:

  1. Click on the History menu and choose the option Clear Recent History.
  2. In the new window, choose the option All from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click on details and leave only the cache option checked.
  4. Click on the Clean up button now.

That’s it, with these steps you will remove the cache of the main browsers. If you are a user of other browsers the steps to follow will be similar to one of these three, but if you don’t find it you can leave a comment and we’ll try to help you out.

Finally, in all cases it is advisable to close and open the browser so that the process is completed at 100% and then avoid any problems.

Free removable space

In addition to the cache and the temporary files of the first point, Macs also generate other types of files that can be deleted without consequences , but that the system keeps until the free space of the disk or SSD memory is very little.

The problem is that doing it this way can have certain negative consequences and one of them is that it is not released when you need it, so being able to delete these files manually is an advantage.

To do this you need to use specialized software and once again the best option, at least for my taste, is CleanMyMac X.

To release the removable space you must do the following:

  1. Runs CleanMyMac and accesses the Maintenance function.
  2. Select the option Free Removable Space and click on the Run button.

After these steps, the software will start working and after a few minutes (it will take more or less depending on the amount of data to be cleaned) it will inform you that the process is over and the space is free on your Mac. As you can see in the screenshot above, in my case I was able to free up a little more than 7GB , but minutes before I had freed up a little more than 30GB (look at the last run date at the bottom of the screenshot).

Another great way to reclaim Mac storage space that few people know about.

Manual or automatic cleaning with the help of software?

Here everyone will have their say and will perform this task as important as they prefer. Personally, I’m sticking with the option of using CleanMyMac X, because I manage to save a lot of time and use it to do other more satisfying things . In addition, the software has other useful features for everyday use such as an uninstaller and an application updater.

What about you? Do you prefer the manual or the automatic route?

You might also be interested in : How to improve the performance of a Mac

  • alex 15 june, 2017 at 8:43 am very good post, thank you very much …Reply
  • Gnnn 3 June, 2018 at 6:46 am Geniaaaal, has served me a lot, especially because you explain how to do it manually, since all the blogs I read said that it was necessary to download a software, and in my case I did not want! So Responder
  • alazne August 1, 2018 at 9:47 pm Good:I manually deleted the caches, I downloaded the app, I did everything you explain and I still have 55gb of “OTHERS”. also delete all the apps that I don’t use, in downloads folder delete everything that is not necessary. empty trash and reboot computer. I don’t know what else to do.

  • Paco 13 January, 2019 at 12:54 pm I had cleanmymac. The truth is that there are 594737 applications that do the same thing. But not bad. It doesn’t consume many resources and it goes fast. It is intuitive and has a simple tutorial that helps those who know nothing about basic maintenance. That if you have 3 viruses, that if your mac accumulates pages of dirt … seriously ended up sick. I have blocked in safari their dns and even so from time to time ia window of the sites. They are with the typical rude neighbor who enters your house without calling just that these, also, look to see what there is to eat. And, as if the neighbor left the repellent nephew in your house. The application, by default and each time you start it, leaves the menu on the bar and loaded pal login. Now let’s see if I can find an app to protect myself from this app. 3 virus says, yes, your company’s board of directors…ReplyManu Iglesias January 14, 2019 at 9:19 am Hello Paco, did CleanMyMac tell you that you have 3 viruses? I guess you haven’t installed the right software… CleanMyMac has no anti-virus, only anti-malware and at no time do they use the word virus and even less are they constantly issuing notifications. It is true that the icon remains in the menu bar and that it is monitoring in the background, something completely logical considering the usefulness of the tool… And it is also true that from time to time it gets some notifications (when you uninstall an application in a wrong way or when in the Recycle Bin there is a lot of GB that can be deleted to recover disk space) but from there to say that it is annoying…Answer
  • Ramses Figueroa 29 March, 2019 at 12:34 am Very good post, very useful.Respond
  • Anna January 8, 2020 at 12:45 am Hello, I would like to know what I can download as “cleanmymac” for a macbookpro with mac osierra that no longer supports updates. I have a virus on the Internet (slowness, advertising, strange things …) and do not know what to do to solve it. Thank you very much in advanceResponder
  • Similar Posts