How to clear the cache on Xbox Series X

Man holding Xbox Series X controller in the dark
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Miguel Lagoa)

You know what it’s like - you’re playing on your shiny Xbox Series X when suddenly things start to slow down dramatically. Changing apps suddenly feels like a chore, storage management becomes a bore, and checking your achievements becomes an achievement in patience.

While there’s always a range of potential causes for annoying system slow down, one of the usual suspects when it comes to subpar Xbox performance is that the console’s cache might need clearing. Of course, you can always perform a factory reset if you're really having issues. 

But for the uninitiated, what even is a cache? Well, it’s basically data that your drive stores over time to be useful and keep processes snappy - essentially reducing the need to constantly load elements over and over again. But these can build up over weeks or months to the point where the operating system is heaving under the weight of all this redundant data. If you’re at that stage, it’s probably time for a clean-up. 

It’s worth clearing your cache semi-regularly, then, as even though a cache is a useful tool, like any tech it can get a bit inefficient over time. 

Most modern consoles tend to provide an option to clear your cache, even if how to do so can be a little hard to find. So it’s a nice little tool to have in your console management arsenal, especially if juggling multiple use-cases for your console, or if you have lots of users in the family on the same box.

Think of clearing the cache as dusting down or tidying your storage (or your cleaning metaphor of choice). If you’ve ever cleared your cache on your computer, it’s exactly the same principle on Xbox. And fear not - it doesn’t wipe any of your valuable save data or software installations. 

Likewise, don’t worry too much about the idea of accidentally clearing anything in your cache that might be useful. It will repopulate quickly after some normal gaming or media consumption.

Here’s how to clear the cache on Xbox Series X. It’s worth noting that this method will also work on Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X too.

How to clear your Xbox Series X cache 

There are two options to clear the cache on Xbox Series X, both of which are relatively painless. 

One of them is via power cycling, and the other is via the system’s menus. There’s not much difference between them, but it’s always nice to have options. Option two is a bit more foolproof as opposed to the first option, as it doesn’t require any fiddly unplugging and replugging of your system. Of course, if your menu performance has slowed, you might want to avoid the operating software altogether, in which case, power cycling the console is your friend.

In short, take your pick - it’s hard to go too far wrong if you follow this guide.

Power cycling the Xbox console 

The first option is not quite turning it off and on again, but close. We’re going to do a full power cycle and restart.

Turn off your console and unplug it. Leave it for at least a couple of minutes, and then plug it back in. While it’s off, press and hold the power button and repeat a few times.

When you power it back on, your cache should be clear and your console’s performance should feel a lot zippier.

Clear the cache via the system menu

The second option is via the Xbox’s menus. Weirdly, there’s no real big red button entitled ‘clear cache’, but the below step-by-step guide will get you where you need to go. Here’s hoping for a more explicit option in the menus à la the Nintendo Switch in a future software update.

Until then, hit the main Xbox button on your controller and navigate to the main Settings menu. Look for 'Devices and Connections', find the 'Blu-Ray' sub-menu, and then click on 'Persistent Storage'. From there, hit the 'Clear' option.

And that should be that! You’ve now cleared your Xbox Series X cache and should have banished a few gremlins in the system that might have been causing any unnecessary slowdown. It’s worth getting in the habit of clearing your Xbox Series X cache every few months, but a notification will pop up should things start to get particularly cluttered.

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