University of Wisconsin–Madison
Clearing history will remove related cookies and other website data

Tech Tip: What Does It Mean To Clear Your Cache?

Clearing your cache and cookies from time to time is good “tech hygiene,” and it can help you troubleshoot when your device is running slowly or you’re having trouble with an app.

When you use a browser (like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.), the browser saves some information from websites in its cookies and “cache”—the storage location that collects temporary data to help websites, browsers and apps load quickly.

Website slow to load? It could be your cache

So if you clear your browser’s cache and temporary internet files regularly, this helps your computer or device run optimally—and doing so can help fix certain problems, like a website loading slowly, or formatting issues on a web page.

Will clearing my cache delete my passwords?

Before you go ahead and clear your cache, you may wonder if this means you’ll lose the login credentials and passwords you may rely on to auto-complete for the websites you frequently visit. If you’re concerned about this, pay attention to which checkboxes you choose to select when you complete the cache-clearing process (the steps for which are different for each browser, and are outlined in the Clearing Browser Cache and Cookies KnowledgeBase guide).

For example: In Google Chrome, you can uncheck the “Passwords and other sign-in data” checkbox when you follow the steps outlined in the KB, and you will not lose your passwords.

How-to instructions by browser

And even though the DoIT Help Desk is always ready to help, you might even save yourself a support call or email if you try clearing your cache first. Use this KnowledgeBase guide to help you learn how to clear your cache and cookies in your desktop and mobile web browsers:

How To Clear Your Browser Cache and Cookies