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How to Clear Browser Cache and Cookies

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How to Force Refresh a Single Page

Before you go straight to clearing your entire browser cache, one trick you can try is something called a “force" or "hard refresh.” Typically, when you refresh a page, your browser still serves up the cached version of the page rather than downloading all of the assets again. You can bypass the cache and force a complete refresh by using some simple hotkeys:

  • Windows and Linux browsers: CTRL + F5
  • Apple Safari: SHIFT + Reload toolbar button
  • Chrome and Firefox for Mac: CMD + SHIFT + R

This method only bypasses the cache for the specific page that you’re on. The rest of your browser cache remains untouched. This option is great when experiencing issues with just a single page. But if you want to completely reset across an entire site, clear the entire browser cache.

 

Skip to the section you need, to learn more about clearing the cache from a specific browser:

How do I clear my cache in Google Chrome?

1) Press the keys [Ctrl], [Shift] and [Del].
2) A new window will open: Clear browsing data.
3) In the dropdown box – select Last hour for your time range. If this isn't sufficient, select a longer time frame.
4) Check the box in front of Cached Images and Files and Cookies and other site data.
5) Submit your selection by clicking the Clear Data button.
6) Close your web browser completely to finalize.

 

 

You can also navigate by clicking the Three Dots icon in the top right of your browser window. Then, find and select the Clear browsing data…:

 

 

Most browsers store more advanced data within the cache that usually doesn’t get cleared with the primary tool. These are usually more critical data items that you might not want to eliminate from the cache.

 

However, many situations warrant the clearing of all cache data. In Chrome, select the Advanced tab in the Clear browsing data window.

Now, you’ll see additional browsing data checkboxes such as:

  • Passwords and other sign-in data.
  • Autofill form data.
  • Site Settings.
  • Hosted app data.

Feel free to mark whichever data items you want to be removed. Just know that these are usually essential for improving your overall user experience.

 

Click on the Clear Data button once you’re done.

 

 

How do I clear my cache in Safari?

Safari has a few options to empty the cache, though it may require some additional set-up. If you're ok with removing the entire browsing history, which includes cookies and website data, the most straightforward approach is to go to SafariClear History:

 

 

This includes a pop-up option for selecting how far back in history the cache should be cleared:

 

 

For a more autonomous way to manage the cache:

 

1) Select Preferences

 

 

2) Click the General tab and select Remove history items to automate how requently the system should clear out old items:

 

 

The Privacy tab also provides an area to manage cookies and website data individually. Checking the box to Block All Cookies tells Safari to never cache those cookies in the first place:

 

 

To get a list of websites currently storing data, click Manage Website Data..., and you can either remove them individually (or use a Remove All option).


3) If the desire is to only empty Safari's browser cache (unlike the 1st option that also includes cookies and site data), this requires the Develop menu. Open Preferences and click the Advanced tab and select Show Develop Menu in menu bar:

 


Then select the new Develop drop down menu and click Empty Caches:

 


Close your web browser completely to finalize.

 

How do I clear my cache in MS Edge?

1) Press the keys [Ctrl], [Shift] and [Del].
2) A side window will open that says Clear browsing data.
3) Select Cookies and other saved data and Cached images and files and then press the Clear Now button.
4) Close your web browser completely to finalize.

 

To use the navigation option, click the Three Dots icon in the top right and choose History:

 

 

This loads a specific History menu, which includes another Three Dots icon; click that and choose Clear Browsing Data.

 

 

Now opens a Clear Browsing Data window. Check off the following items to include with your deletion:

  • Browsing history.
  • Download history.
  • Cookies and other site data.
  • Cached images and files.

Microsoft Edge displays quantitive information (like the number of browsing history items that will be deleted) when you clear the cache. You can also see how much space is freed up from the cache clearing.

 

 

This is a scrollable list, so continue down to see which options aren't checked by default, and choose to mark those you want to clean up, such as passwords, autofill form data, and site permissions:

 

 

For more specific clearing, select the Three Dots icon in the upper right corner and choose Settings:

 

 

Select the Privacy, Search, and Services tab, in which the first option is to Clear browsing data now. It's an alternate path to the same Clear browsing data above:

 

 

To set up automation around what is cleared when you close the browser, select Choose what to clear every time you close the browser to see a list of options available. This will clear out unnecessary items each time Edge is closed.

 

There is a long list of items to toggle on/off for adding/removing specific cache data to purge:

 

 

To focus in on removing cookies from the cache (or managing those you want), select Cookies and Site Permissions from the Settings page:

 

 

This provides options to Block Third-party Cookies, Preload Pages for Faster Browsing and Searching, and  See All Cookies and Site Data.

 

You can also add specifics sites to the Block or Allow lists, identifying which situations where the cache doesn't need as much monitoring as others.

 

 

How do I clear my cache in Firefox?

1) Press the keys [Ctrl], [Shift] and [Del].
2) A new window will open: “Clear Recent History”.
3) In the dropdown box – select ‘Last Hour’ for your date range.
4) Check the box for "Cookies" and "Cache".
5) Submit your selection by clicking the “OK’ button.
6) Close your web browser completely to finalize.

 

 

If navigating to this function, click the Hamburger icon in the top right and select History:

 

 

In the History menu, select Clear Recent History...:

 

 

This results in the same option as above. To find a few extra browser cache settings, select the Hamburger menu and choose Settings:

 

 

Choose Privacy and Security, then scroll down to use the Clear Data button under the Cookies and Site Data section:

 

 

This option only asks about cookies, site data, and cached web content, but it displays how much storage space is freed up after deleting:

 

 

On the Privacy and Security page, you’ll also see the following options:

  • Manage Data
  • Manage Exceptions
  • Delete Cookies and Site Data When Firefox is Closed

The Manage Data button examines each stored data item (to delete them one by one, potentially). You can also go into the Manage Exceptions area if you’d like to exclude some sites from having their cookies or site data deleted from automated processes. Finally, the Delete Cookies and Site Data When Firefox is Closed checkbox automates clearing your browser cache, but only when you completely shut down Firefox.

 

 

One last item from the Privacy and Security area, which is another History section like from the Hamburger menu icon. The Clear History button here allows you to select what to delete. Or set it up so the history isn't stored in the first place.

 

 

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