How to clear app cache on Android

You might come across a variety of opinions when reading up on whether you should or shouldn’t clear your app cache. Most people insist you leave it to the Android operating system to handle it, while others choose to clean up their app cache occasionally to free up disk space and reduce the risk of crashes. Some people assume clearing the app cache only helps entry-level devices and is not meant for high-end smartphones like the Samsung S23 Ultra, but there are benefits to all types of Android phones.



So what is the right thing to do? Well, your smartphone usage experience won’t be spoiled if you don’t wipe your app cache occasionally, but it does have its advantages. Clearing your app cache on Android clears up disk space and can make your phone run smoother. Excluding the best Android apps, there are many dodgy applications that can quickly fill up your onboard memory if you don’t monitor the app cache. So let’s go ahead and understand what the app cache is, how it works, and how to clear it.

Android app cache explained

Samsung, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi phones running apps in floating window

Literally every Android phone lets us open apps in smaller window like this — except the Pixel. 

The app cache is a temporary storage area where an app can store frequently accessed data like images, CSS files, HTML files, JavaScript files, and more. Using the app cache lets developers improve the performance and responsiveness of their apps by reducing the need to fetch data from servers every time it is required.

When an Android app utilizes the app cache, it downloads and stores data locally on the device (cue using up of internal storage). This data can then be quickly accessed by the app without the need for network requests, resulting in faster UI performance and reduced data usage. Once your final clip is ready, you can delete the cache and retrieve all the space the app took up.

Clearing your app cache on Android clears up disk space and can make your phone run smoother.

In recent times, however, developers have been encouraged to use Android Jetpack’s DataStore or Room libraries instead of the app cache. The advantages include better security and data synchronization, along with improved compatibility. But it’s a possibility that app developers aren’t really following the guidelines and still continuing to use the app cache, sometimes inefficiently. This is why clearing your app cache makes sense, even today.

App cache vs app data: What’s the difference?

Your Android smartphone lets you delete both app cache and app data. But what’s the difference between the two? Here’s a table that highlights what each of these does.

App cacheApp data
  • App cache is the temporary storage area where an application can store frequently accessed resources such as HTML, JS, CSS files, and more
  • App data is the persistent storage used by an app to store data like user preferences, app settings, databases, files, etc.
  • Primarily used to improve app performance by reducing the need to fetch data from remote servers repeatedly, and is deleted by the app when required
  • App data is intended for long-term storage and is not automatically cleared or invalidated by the system
  • The app cache is typically stored in a specific directory on the device’s internal storage or SD card and its contents are managed by the app itself
  • App data is typically stored in the app’s private data directory within the device’s internal storage, and it is not accessible by other apps or users unless explicitly shared

What this means for you, as an end user, is that it’s best to leave the app data alone, especially if you want to continue using the app without any issues. The only time you should delete the app data is when the app is acting up (crashing or buggy behavior) or you’re facing issues logging in. Another reason to delete app data is if it’s taking up too much disk space, or if you want to simply reset the app.

How to clear your app cache or app data on Android

Now that you know everything about app cache and app data, here’s how you can get clear the app cache on an Android smartphone.

  1. Open up the Settings app on your Android device.
  2. Navigate to Apps or Applications (the exact label may differ depending on your smartphone model and the version of Android it’s running).
  3. Find the app for which you want to clear the cache and tap on it.
  4. Within the app settings, look for the Storage or Storage & cache option.
  5. Tap on Clear cache to delete the app’s cache data.
  6. You will also see the Clear storage or Delete app data options here. Keep in mind that clearing the app cache removes temporary data stored by the app, and clearing app data will delete any essential app data or personal files associated with the app.

And that’s how easy it is to delete your app cache on an Android smartphone! If you’re really struggling with a shortage of disk space, you might want to use an app like Files by Google to help weed out junk files, delete unused apps, remove duplicate files and old downloads, and more. The best part is, it doesn’t add malware or show you ads like all third-party “disk-cleaner” apps do.