Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


How to clear the cache on your iPhone (and why you should)

Cache and cookies can clog your browser and slow down your iPhone's performance. Here's a good way to get it back up to speed.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer on
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
Scrolling through iPhone

iPhone moving at snail pace? This may help.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

How many tabs are open on your mobile browser right now? Go ahead, check -- you might be surprised by what you find.

Americans spend over five hours a day on their smartphones. That's over five hours of your phone potentially accessing, retrieving, and saving cache and cookies, which can negatively impact your iPhone's storage space.

What is cache?

Cache is the temporary storage of some data, like parts of a website from the last time you visited it, for example. Browser cache is content from a website that is stored on your phone during a browser session to help the browser perform faster the next time you visit that page.

Also: How to clear Google search cache on Android

Cache data can slow down your phone's browsing performance since it takes up storage space in your device, so it's good to clear it out regularly.

How to clear cache on iPhone

What you'll need: All you will need to clear browser cache is within the iPhone's settings app, so you'll only need your iPhone to do this.

Important: Clearing the cache will clear private data as it closes all open tabs in Safari, which means doing this will likely log you out of any websites, prompting you to sign in again next time you open them. 

1. Go to your iPhone's Settings app

In order to delete the cached data from Safari, you'll have to open the Settings app on your iPhone.

iPhone's Settings

Tap Settings to begin clearing iPhone cache.

Maria Diaz/ZDNet

2. Select Safari from the list

Within Settings, scroll down until Safari comes up, then tap on it to select it.

Select Safari

Find Safari on the list.

Maria Diaz/ZDNet

3. Find a button for Clear History and Website Data

To clear the app cache, scroll down through the Safari options, until you find a button for Clear History and Website Data. Tap on it to get started clearing the browser cache.

Clear History and Website Data

Tap on the option highlighted above.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

4. Confirm you want to clear the browser cache

A pop-up will appear, press Clear History and Data to confirm you want to clear browsing data within Safari.

After confirming, the browser cache and cookies in Safari are deleted from your iPhone, but your autofill information should still be on your device. Cached images and browser history are also deleted, and you'll be logged out of any websites you were previously logged into. 

Press Clear History and Data

Tap on this again to confirm.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET


How do I clear the cache from Chrome on iPhone?

If Google Chrome is your preferred browser, it may have a substantial amount of data stored on your device, which could also slow down performance. 

To clear the cache in Chrome, you must open the Google Chrome app and follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Go to Privacy and Security
  3. Select Clear Browsing Data
  4. Select the time to delete the data from, if you want to delete all your browsing history, choose All Time.
  5. Go through the items you'd like to delete, like your Browsing History, Cookies and Site Data, Cached Images and Files, any Saved Passwords and Autofill Data.
  6. Confirm by tapping Clear Browsing Data at the bottom of the screen
  7. Tap Done when you've deleted the Chrome cache

Also: Is your iPhone charging slower? Turn off this default power setting now

It seems that clearing the browsing and cache data in Google Chrome doesn't close all open tabs, but it will refresh each tab and log you out of websites. Once you tap on one of the tabs you want to access, you'll have to log back in.

How can I browse on Safari without history?

If you want to learn how to clear cache on iPhone, you may wonder if there's a way to use Safari without saving any browsing history. You can turn on Private Browsing by following these steps:

  1. Open Safari
  2. Tap on Tabs
  3. Choose Private

How do I clear my app cache on iPhone?

To clear app cache from your iPhone Settings app, you can either delete the app and reinstall it, offload it, or try to clear the cache from within the app. Unfortunately, iOS apps don't have consistent settings across the board that would allow you to clear the cache of every app.

Also: How to find and remove spyware from your phone

Apps like TikTok and CapCut, for example, have options to Clear Cache within their respective settings. Amazon lets users delete their browsing history, while the Reddit app can clear local history. It all depends on what the app's settings let the user do. 

Is clearing cache the same as offloading?

Not exactly, though offloading can help if your phone is slowed down by low storage. Offloading uninstalls an app without deleting any documents or data associated with them. 

Also: The best browsers for privacy in 2023

To offload an app, go to Settings, then General, choose iPhone Storage and select the app to offload, then tap Offload App. If you ever download it again, you just pick up where you left off on that app. 

Are cookies and cache the same thing?

Cookies and cache are not the same. Cookies are tiny pieces of data that websites send to your phone, including things like saved passwords to keep you logged into an account or even the website preferences from the previous time you visited. 

Also: How to delete yourself from internet search results and hide your identity online

Though they do sound harmless, cookies can also track how you browse the internet. They monitor patterns in your browsing and search history, even seeing what you clicked on or what your mouse hovered over. Ever made an innocuous search on Amazon only to find ads for it on all the apps you use?

Can I block cookies on iPhone?

While you can block cookies on Safari, the ranks are divided on whether you should. Blocking cookies entirely means that websites won't be able to get information from you, but it also means that some websites may not even work correctly on your browser. A lot of users actually enjoy a more personalized browsing experience, so cookies are a good thing for them.

 If you'd like to block the cookies on Safari, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings and select Safari
  2. Tap on the toggle next to Block All Cookies

There are also third-party extensions that help you block cookies and trackers in Google Chrome, like Ghostery and Disconnect.

How do I check iPhone storage?

On an iPhone, Settings can show you what's taking up most of your media storage, like photos, videos and music. You can also see what each particular app's storage consumption is, which includes temporary data. To view the details of your iPhone's storage space, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the iPhone Settings
  2. Tap on General
  3. Select iPhone Storage
  4. Scroll through to find the app you're looking for
  5. Tap on the app to view storage status and options

Unfortunately, you can't clear your iPhone cache for third-party apps by going into your Settings app, but this gives you a visual of your iPhone's storage and the option to delete or offload apps.

Also: How to free up gigabytes of storage space on your iPhone

When you look at the device's storage space, you'll probably see recommended steps you can take to optimize your iPhone's storage, like offloading unused apps.

Editorial standards