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How To Clear Your Safari Browser Cache on Mac

Your Safari browser contains a folder where certain items that have been downloaded are stored for future use. Items like graphic images, photos, and entire web pages are examples of items that have been saved or “cached.” Every so often this needs to be cleared out. Let’s take a look at how to easily clear out your Safari browser cache.

When you visit a website, your Safari browser checks if a copy of the files on the page is already in the cache. If they are, it saves the visitor some download time and the webpage will load faster. Browsers refer to its cache as “Temporary Internet Files.”

There are some cases though that you will run into where bypassing your Safari browser’s cache will be preferred. In most cases, clicking the refresh button will not get you the result you need because this is just reloading the page while still using the same old files from the cache.

Clearing your browser cache in Safari on a Mac is actually a pretty straightforward process. So whether you are looking to perform some regular maintenance, or trying to solve some issues within your Safari browsing, clearing the cache should not be difficult for you to do.

What Are Cookies?

When you hear the term “cookies” being thrown around, we are not talking about the kind you eat. Instead, in this instance, cookies are actually a small piece of data that is stored in your browser while you’re on a website. Every time you go back to that same website, the browser sends the cookie back to the said website with all the info from the last visit.

Cookies can be very helpful, as they store content like usernames and preferences for certain websites you visit. Most times, a browser will overwrite a cookie after you reach a certain limit, but will keep information on your browser history until you clear it out. These can bog your browser down over time and lead to a number of issues.

This is another reason you want to clear the Safari cache periodically and start fresh.

Below are step-by-step instructions for clearing your Safari browser’s cache on a Mac and forcing it to load all the freshest and latest data from a website.

Why You Need To Clear Your Safari Browser Cache on Mac

Any website you visit is actually made up of hundreds, and oftentimes thousands of files. Even the websites that are highly optimized for speed will usually load a lot of files in order to display the content properly in your browser.

Your Safari browser does its part to speed up the loading process by saving pieces of the website the first time you visit. Once those pieces are saved the Safari browser can display the files stored in its cache much faster than it can pull fresh files from a server. Therefore, next time you visit that site, the load time will be much faster because the Safari browser will serve up the files stored in the browser cache.

For instance, common images that do not change over time are stored on your computer. This way, the website doesn’t have to spend time uploading the image to you. Your device simply pulls it out of the cache, which drastically cuts down processing time.

With that being said, caching files can have several disadvantages over time. It is a great idea to clear your Safari browser cache every so often for the following reasons:

Maximize Speed and Performance

Even if you don’t spend a lot of time online over time you will build up a very large cache. For those of you who do spend a lot of time online for work or surfing the web your cache will build up even faster. This can affect the speed and performance of your computer. Clearing the Safari browser cache frees up some space and may help speed things back up again.

Viewing Most Recent Pages

Every time you revisit a website your Safari browser cache is supposed to check to see if the site has changed in any way so that it can serve you the most up-to-date pages. This doesn’t always work and sometimes the cache will serve you up old page versions. Clearing the cache from time-to-time will force the browser to start over. This ensures that you are viewing the most up-to-date pages and information on that and other websites you visit often.

Maintaining Security

This will come in particularly handy if you are using a shared or public computer. Clearing the cache after using the computer will help maintain your privacy by clearing out any personal data you may have used while browsing. It also clears out any personal data that the websites you have visited keep.

Fixes Browser Errors

There are situations sometimes when your cache can cause problems when you are using your Safari browser. Some good examples of this would include:

  • Certain websites are slow to load.
  • Certain websites will not load at all.
  • You will receive error messages.
  • Get hung up at certain spots on the website.

In most cases, all of those problems and others can be fixed by clearing the cache. After that, restart the browser and you should be all set.

What Happens to Saved Passwords When You Clear Your Cache?

Yes, clearing your Safari browser cache will clear out all of your saved passwords. This means you will need to re-enter them once when you visit any site you have passwords saved for. Not only will this clear saved passwords, but it will also automatically log you out of any websites you were auto-logged into.

This isn’t a huge deal most times, as you can simply re-enter passwords once. However, there is a solution for this from Apple. If you use iCloud, simply check the box for Safari and all of your passwords and logins will be retained even after you clear your Safari browser cache.

Clear Your Safari Browser Cache on Mac

Follow the steps below and you will be all set. Remember, clearing your Safari browser cache is not the same as clearing a search history, though they are similar.

First, click on “Safari” in the menu bar, and then click on “Preferences.”

Click the safari tab then click preferences to clear Safari browser cache

Click on the “Privacy” tab and then click on the “Manage Website Data” button.

Click on the privacy tab and then click the manage website data button

Select “Remove All,” or clear it according to the settings you prefer.

Click on the remove all button

Force Safari Refresh

The Safari browser also offers a “force refresh” option. Oftentimes this may be enough. You can force refresh your browser by using the following key combination on your Mac: CMD + R. This is an option you can use down the line instead of using the steps above.

However, if you find this simply isn’t working for you, then go ahead and clear your safari browser cache using the steps above.

Congratulations, the Safari browser cache is now empty.

Note: Don’t forget to close out the browser and restart it after you have performed the steps above.

Final Thoughts

The Safari browser offers Mac users a fantastic browser filled with a ton of tools, options, and settings. However, just like any other browser, the cache should be cleared periodically to ensure that the browser is operating at its best.

Clearing the cache on your Safari browser is something that should be done periodically, no matter what. Not only will this help speed up your browser, but it will also maximize performance. Furthermore it helps maintain the security of the browser, and fixes certain browser errors that you come across.

It is not difficult at all to do this. A few clicks of a button within your Safari browser menu will get you to the point where you can easily clear the cache. This will ensure everything is refreshed and running smoothly.

You can also clear your Safari browser on a PC as well.

Author: Jeremy Holcombe

Growing up in Hawaii, Jeremy started his freelance writing career doing resumes, business plans, article writing, and everything in between. He now specializes in online marketing and content writing and is part of the Content Marketing Team at GreenGeeks.

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