How to Clear Your Browser Cache

PC Browsers

* IMPORTANT NOTE: ALWAYS CLOSE YOUR BROWSER AFTER CLEARING CACHE, THEN REOPEN TO CONTINUE. 

Google Chrome
Go to the three-dot menu at the upper-right of Chrome to select Settings > Show advanced settings > Clear browsing data (or in the omnibar type "chrome://settings/clearBrowserData" without the quotation marks). This takes you directly to the dialog box to delete not only the history of your browsing, but also your download history (it won't delete the actual downloaded files), all your cookies, cached images and files (which help load pages faster when you revisit), saved passwords and more. Better yet, you can delete only the info from the last hour, day, week, month, or all of it to "the beginning of time."

Chrome doesn't give you the option to not collect your browser history, or set a window for how much it should hold. It just collects and collects until you go in and delete it.

What's more, if you have a Google account and are signed into it with Chrome, your history is likely being synced to Google My Activity. While it should be secured behind your Google account (use a password manager and two-factor authentication for the best protection), if you truly wish to be rid of history, go here, select the hamburger/three-dot menu up top > Activity Controls to turn off the inclusion of Chrome browser activity (from desktops and handhelds), as well as delete any activity synced with the service.

Opera
Under the main menu in Opera, go to Settings > Privacy & Security. You'll see a Clear browsing data button that offers almost identical settings as Chrome, right down to the "beginning of time" option. (You can also type "opera://settings/clearBrowserData" into the address bar.) It's similar because Opera is built with the engine from the Chromium Project, the same that underlies Chrome. Opera offers a little extra to those who want to go around the Web safely however—a built-in VPN option courtesy of SurfEasy, also found in the Privacy & Security settings.

Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer
Go to the three-dot menu in Microsoft Edge and select settings; in the fly-out menu, click the button under Clear browsing data that reads "Choose what to clear." Get rid of browsing and download history, cookies, cached data, stored form data, and stored passwords; click Show more and you can delete things like sites you've given permission to show pop-ups.

You can't delete just one chunk of data from a time period like a day or week, but there is the option to "Always clear this [data] when I close the browser." That ensures you have no browser history stored, as long as you close the browser regularly. Pick more data types and you'll have next to nothing stored—which is fine until you're entering the same passwords and 2FA logins over and over (the price of freedom, people).

edgebrowser clear

Like Google, Microsoft is keeping some of your history online. Click Change what Microsoft Edge knows about me in the cloud to visit a page for your Microsoft account where you can delete that synced browsing history. You can also delete search history at Bing.com, stored location data showing where you've logged in, and stuff you've stored in Cortana's notebook.

Internet Explorer

Still using Internet Explorer (IE)? You're not alone. To wipe the history in IE11 and 10, go to the Gear icon at upper left and select Internet Options. On the General tab, you can check a box next to Delete browsing history on exit, or click the Delete button to instantly get rid of history, passwords, cookies, cached data (called Temporary Internet files and website files), and more. If you instead click Settings, you go to a History tab and ensure your history is only collected for a specific number of days, automatically deleting anything older.

You have the option to get rid of your browsing history using the Favorites Menu. Click the star on the top-right > History tab. There, you can see websites you visited on specific dates (Today, Last Week, 3 Weeks Ago, etc.) Right-click to delete everything from a specific time period, or click to view and delete specific websites. If you're using an older version of IE, there are instructions online for deleting the history.

Safari
On macOS, Safari rules. Clearing your website visit history is simple: click Clear History in the main menu. Then in the pop-up, pick a timeframe for how far back you want to erase. This is doing a lot more than deleting the browser history, however—it also takes out your cookies and data cache.

You can instead click History > Show History to get a pop-up displaying every site you've visited, then take out sites individually, without losing the cookies and cache. You can zap cookies by going into Preferences > Privacy; delete your cache by going to the Develop menu and picking Empty Caches. If you don't have a Develop menu in Safari, go to Preferences > Advanced and check Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar at bottom.

Mozilla Firefox
The latest version of Firefox likes to use sidebars for accessing preferences, much like Microsoft Edge. Access them at the hamburger menu (at upper right) and you can go right to History. It'll show all your visited sites and a Clear Recent History option (or hit Ctrl+Shift+Del for the same effect). If you select Options in that sidebar, you can go into preference for either remember history, never remember, or do some custom settings, such as always go into private browsing mode, or never store history or cookies, or to clear the history when closing Firefox.

Check the Sync tab while you're in here—if you've signed on with a Mozilla Firefox account—your history (plus bookmarks, tabs, passwords, and preferences) may be synced with your other PCs and devices using Firefox, even on smartphones.

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  • 26-Aug-2018
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