How to Clear Cache & History in Chrome for Mac OS X

Feb 12, 2016 - 2 Comments

Chrome Like all web browsers, Google Chrome maintains cache and history of a user browsing habits so that frequently visited webpages are quicker to load again, and so that users can easily retrieve and return to sites they were visiting before. There are many occasions when Mac users may wish to clear out Chrome cache, web data, download history, cookies, and browsing history, often for development, troubleshooting, or privacy purposes, and thus knowing how to clear out this browser data within the Google Chrome and Chrome Canary web browsers of OS X is helpful.

How to Clear Chrome Cache, Browsing History, & Web Data from Google Chrome in Mac OS X

The simplest way to empty Chrome browser caches and web data is through the built-in clearing mechanism, this is easily accessible and customizable within the Chrome browsers on the Mac:

  1. Open Chrome if you haven’t done so already, then go to the “Chrome” menu
  2. Choose “Clear Browsing Data” from the menu list
  3. Clearing browser cache in Chrome

  4. At the “Clear browsing data” screen in Chrome, choose what web data and caches you wish to clear, and choose the time period to delete from: (Select “the beginning of time” if you wish to delete all data from all periods of Chrome usage)
    • Browsing history – this is the record of web pages and sites you have visited in Chrome
    • Download history – a record of files downloaded within Google Chrome
    • Cookies and other site and plugin data – cookies may include customizations and preferences for specific web pages, as well as usage data
    • Cached images and files – the locally stored cache files and media from web pages visited in Chrome (more on the exact locations of this data in a moment)
    • Passwords – any stored logins, usernames, authentication details
    • Autofill form data – any information chosen to keep in autofill, typically addresses
    • Hosted app data – browser based apps local data and preferences
    • Content licenses – usually for multimedia

    Chrome clear web data and browser cache

  5. Choose “Clear browsing data” to empty the caches, history, and web data from the period of time chosen (again, pick “the beginning of time” to delete all data from Chrome)

The Chrome settings based approach of removing browser caches is basically the same in all versions of the browser, whether in Mac OS X as covered here, or in Linux or Windows, even clearing cache and history in Chrome for iOS is largely the same, though accessing the settings menu is different on the mobile side of things compared to desktop versions.

Google Chrome Local Cache Location in Mac OS X

Another option is to manually delete Chrome cache and web data based through the file system on a Mac. This is similar to manually emptying cache in Safari for Mac, and is best reserved for more advanced users only.

Chrome cache files are stored in two primary locations within the user folder of OS X, these can be accessed directly from the user Library folder or with the Command+Shift+G Go To Folder command, the direct paths are as follows:

~/Library/Caches/Google/Chrome/

Google Chrome cache location 1

~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/Application Cache/

Google Chrome cache location in Mac OS X file system  2

If you are going to modify or delete Chrome cache files manually, be sure to quit the application before doing so.

Do not modify or delete cache files or folders manually unless you no longer want browser cache to be accessible for those pages.

Know any other helpful tricks for clearing cache and browser data in Chrome? Let us know in the comments.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

2 Comments

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  1. Walt Seng says:

    I use a free app called CCleaner (for MAc):
    http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner-mac

    Works great. Cleans all (user selected) Browser and System cache files. User can select via check boxes which browsers’ and system files to “clean.”

  2. UglyStuff says:

    The Command-Shift-Backspace will usually prompt the clearing dialogue to show up, on any OS X browser (except maybe Opera 12.xx, i don’t remember), same as it empties the Trash in the Finder.

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