These hidden cache files are bloating your Google Chrome

Google Chrome could be storing a hundred thousand cached files on your computer, and it doesn't give you a way to delete them.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

The other day I wrote about how it might be time to shift away from Google Chrome if you're finding that it's getting slow and sluggish. There are plenty of good browsers out there if Chrome isn't floating your boat anymore.

But a few people got in touch to say that the problem with Chrome is the caching. Specifically, the way it caches JavaScript files that it comes across while you're browsing. I was a bit skeptical about this since I've been regularly clearing my browser's cache, so this shouldn't be an issue.

However, I got talking to a few people and discovered something rather strange -- Chrome doesn't offer a simple way to delete these files.

This warranted investigation.

I dug around on both Windows and macOS and found the files in question. On Windows they live at C:\Users\<user-name>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Code Cache\Js, while on macOS they're at ~/Library/Caches/Google/Chrome/Default/Cache/Js.

I had a look-see into that folder, and there's a lot of files in there. On my main workhorse MacBook Pro there was a whopping 124,000 files. These files dated back to mid last year and range from a few hundred bytes to a few hundred kilobytes. The entire folder is about 600MB in total.

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The first thing I needed to test was whether it was true that clearing the cache didn't delete these files.

To cut a long story short, I tried and it doesn't. They're very persistent. (UPDATE; apparently choosing to delete your entire browsing cache for the time range "All time" does delete these files, but that feels somewhat drastic).


Do these files slow down Chrome? Well, there was only one way to find out, and that was to delete them. And sure enough, Chrome felt a lot snappier after getting rid of them. Hard to put a figure on how much faster, but I felt a noticeable improvement.

Having convinced myself that wiping these made a difference, I wanted to find out if there was a way to delete these files that didn't involve digging through the file system.

For all you Windows users out there, I found a way, but it's kludgy. It involves installing CCleaner Pro (which is not free), and installing a free third-party add-on called CCEnhancer and then using this to delete the cache.

For Mac users out there, I'm sorry but I've not come across anything that will clean this cache. For you folks the only tool is Finder.

Are there any downsides to wiping the cache?

I've not come across any negatives, but I urge caution. There may be unexpected issues. Also, whenever you go deleting files, there's a real danger that you delete the wrong thing and you end up in a world of hurt (doubly so if you don't have a backup).

So, there you have it. Google Chrome is caching files, and doesn't offer you an easy way to delete them. And it seems that wiping this cache does improve the performance of Chrome somewhat. 

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