How-To

How to Clear Google Chrome Cache, Cookies, and Browsing History

howto-delete-chrome-cache-cookies-browsing-history

Chrome does an excellent job of storing your browsing history, cache, and cookies to optimize the performance and usability of surfing the internet. That said, if you’re privacy-minded or just like to run a tight ship, clearing away old browser data is a good practice to do on a regular basis.

You can quickly access sites you’ve previously visited because the web content is cached and quick to load. Websites store cookies on your computer that contain information such as site preferences and login status. Every site you visit is stored in your browser history unless you’re using private browsing mode.

Although Chrome allows you to automatically clear your cookies each time you close the browser, clearing your history and cache need to be done manually. Fortunately, the process is simple, but for those of you who’ve never done it before, simply follow the steps below.

Sometimes a fresh start is necessary, especially if you’re experiencing problems with the browser.

How to Delete Google Chrome Cache, Cookies, and Browsing History

To delete the browsing history, cache, and cookies using Chrome’s settings, go to the Chrome menu and select Settings.

Select Settings in Chrome

Click Privacy and security on the left. Then, click Clear browsing data on the right.

Clear Clear browsing data in Chrome settings

The Clear browsing data dialog displays.

There are a few other ways to access this dialog:

  • Go to More tools > Clear browsing data on the Chrome menu.
  • Type: chrome://settings/clearBrowserData in the address bar and press Enter.
  • Use a keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + Del (Windows) or Shift + Command + Del (macOS).

Select the Time range for deleting your browsing data. You can choose Last hour, Last 24 hours, Last 7 days, Last 4 weeks, or All time.

There are two tabs on the dialog: Basic and Advanced. The Basic tab allows you to clear the Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, and Cached images and files. The Advanced tab has some additional options you can choose to clear. Click the tab you want and then check what you want to clear and uncheck what you don’t want to clear.

Then, click Clear data.

Basic tab on Clear browsing data dialog in Chrome

How to Disable the Cache Using the Developer Tools

If you don’t want cache stored on your computer, you can disable the cache in the Developer Tools.

NOTE: You can also use Incognito mode to prevent cache from being saved.

Go to More tools > Developer Tools on the Chrome menu. You can also use the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + I (Windows) or Shift + Command + I (macOS), or press F12.

Go to More tools > Developer tools in Chrome

The Developer Tools pane opens on the right. Click the Network tab and then check the Disable cache box.

NOTE: The cache is only disabled while the Developer Tools pane is open.

Click the X in the upper-right corner of the pane to close it.

Select Disable cache in Chrome's Developer tools

How to Clear Chrome Cache Using a Hidden Method

When the Developer Tools pane is open, there are three options available on the Reload this page button.

Right-click the Reload this page button and select one of the following options:

  • Normal Reload – This functions the same as the Reload this page button does when the Developer Tools pane isn’t open. Chrome reloads the page using the cached data. The browser also checks the website’s server for any updated files and fetches them, if available.
  • Hard Reload – This reloads the page without using any cached data. All files for the web page are downloaded again. This might not always ignore the cached data from earlier. For example, any elements that start to load after the website has loaded, like JavaScript elements, may get loaded from the cache. You can also use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl + Shift + R (Windows) or Shift + Command + R (macOS), to do a hard reload.
  • Empty Cache and Hard Reload – This is the best option for wiping the cache clean and reloading the web page, downloading all the updated files. You’ll get a freshly loaded web page and the browser caches the files again, assuming you haven’t disabled the cache in the Developer Tools. This option only affects the web page on the current tab. Any web pages open on other tabs are not affected.

Reload options in Chrome

How to Clear Chrome Cookies and Cache For the Current Site Only

You can clear cookies and cache for a single website, which is useful if you don’t want to get logged out of other sites.

NOTE: This method does not clear cached data across subdomains or related sites. For example, if you clear the cache and cookies for Gmail (mail.google.com), cache and cookies are not cleared for Google Photos (photos.google.com). To clear data across all subdomains or related sites, see the next method.

Go to the website for which you want to clear the data and click the lock icon on the left side of the address bar. If you’re not on a secure connection, a Not secure label displays instead of the lock icon. Click that instead.

Select Site settings.

Select Site settings on the lock icon in Chrome

Chrome opens the Privacy and security section of the Settings on a new tab. Under Usage, click Clear data.

Click Clear data under Usage in the Privacy and security settings in Chrome

Click Clear on the confirmation dialog to clear the cache and cookies for the current site.

Clear site data confirmation dialog in Chrome

Refresh the website (press F5) to start loading fresh data for the site.

How to Clear All Cookies or Individual Cookies For One Site Only

To delete all cookies and site data for one site, including its subdomains, open the Chrome menu and go to Settings > Privacy and security and click Cookies and other site data.

Click Cookies and site data in Privacy and security settings in Chrome

Click See all cookies and site data.

Click See all cookies and site data in Chrome's settings

Scroll through the list of cookies for visited websites and click the trash icon to remove all cookies for a site.

You will not see a confirmation dialog.

Delete cookies for one site in Chrome

To delete individual cookies for a website, click the site in the All cookies and site data list.

Click on a site to see its cookies in Chrome's settings

Click the X to the right of the specific cookies you want to delete.

Again, you will not see a confirmation dialog.

Delete an individual cookie in Chrome's settings

Keep a Clean Browser

Now your Google Chrome cache and history should be purged! Google has followed Firefox’s example in making it easy to clear the cache.

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