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How to clear your Android cache, whether you should, and top alternatives

How to clear your Android cache to free up storage space

How to clear cache on Android
(Image: © Future)

Quick steps

  • Open your settings app
  • Head to the Apps menu and find the app in question
  • Find the storage options and press 'Clear Cache'

You should clear your Android cache if you want to free up some system storage, which is useful for if you have an older phone or a mobile that's getting slow.

The cache is files stored in the system memory that have been created by an app or web page, that the phone can draw upon when it opens said app or page to save it loading the app up in its entirety every time you need access.

However this storage can come at a cost: since it's saved on your phone, it can use up valuable storage space. So you might want to clear your Android phone cache to grab a few more valuable MBs. And here's how to do just that.


Tools and Requirements

Your Android phone

Clearing the cache of a particular app is easy - however it's a slightly different process depending on which brand of Android phone you've got. We'll give you the general directions, but the particular names of options might vary slightly.

  • Open the Settings app which is easy to recognize as its icon is a little cog. Use your phone's app search function if you can't find it.
  • Head over to the Apps list which will be denoted by just that name - you might alternatively have to select 'Manage Apps' or 'App Management' or similar to find the full list.
  • In this list find the app you want to clear the cache of, and thanks to the list being in alphabetical order, this shouldn't be too hard. On some Android user interfaces, you can also filter by storage size, so you know which apps have a large cache.
  • In the app listing, find the Storage usage metric, which will tell you how much phone space the app is using up. This isn't all cache, as it'll include the actual install space of the app and any updates too. Select storage usage.
  • Here you'll see more information about the app storage, including cache space. Select Clear cache and your phone should easily wipe away any stored information. Nice! You're done. Now do this with all the other apps which are causing you grief.

Should you clear your Android cache?

There's a reason why smartphone apps use cached data - it's faster than having to load up pages of information every time you use the app. So we wouldn't recommend clearing the cache if you don't have a good reason.

However, depending on what apps you have, there might be 1GB or more of cached data stored on your phone - this all adds up. So if your smartphone is packed to the gills with data and you need more space, or you just like running a clean operation, you might consider a little spring cleaning.

If you're out of space then buying one of the best microSD cards could be another option if your phone has space for one, or one of the best cloud storage platforms could be a good home for your beloved photos and videos to stop them clogging up your phone space.

But sometimes you just need an extra iota of space, and so clearing your cache is a good final option.

Tom Bedford
Tom Bedford

Tom's role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.