Clear Cookies, Cache, History

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Clear Cookies, Cache, History

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When you browse the internet, your web browser will keep a record of the sites you visit in your Browser History. If you've got cookies enabled, you'll also pick up various "cookie" files which websites place on your computer which can be used to track your activity online.

 

Your web browser will also keep copies of the files it's downloaded to show you the various websites you've seen (eg. the images, text and code for a website). Because your computer already has a copy of these files, it means that it's much quicker to load the site when you return the next time.

Click on an icon for a guide to clearing each:

Why should I clear my cookies, history and cache?

Normally, there's no real reason to need to clear these things. Most browsers will hold on to the files for a set time (usually a few weeks) so that when you return to a site, it doesn't have to re-download all the files again.

To fix problems

Sometimes a website might have some kind of problem with it, and because your computer keeps a copy of the code on itself (in the cache), even when the problem with the website is fixed you still encounter it. Clearing your cache and cookies is a good way to "reset" your browser so that you try everything fresh again.

 

To enhance your privacy

Occasionally, you want to clear what you've been looking at the internet on your computer; perhaps you're buying someone a birthday present and you don't want them to see what you were looking at for them. Or perhaps you've used a shared public or library computer and you don't want the next user to see all the URLs you were looking at.

 

Remember: it's not a complete privacy solution

Remember, that clearing your cookies, history and cache only affects the computer you're on at the time. It's still possible for anyone responsible for providing you with your internet connection to snoop on what you've been looking at: this can include your ISP, the Wifi point you've accessed, or your Work's internet. Using a VPN is one way of helping prevent other people snooping on your online activities.

 

What gets deleted when I clear my cache?

Most browsers give you a good level of control of what will be deleted from your computer when you refresh your browser. There is usually a list of options about what will and won't be deleted (Safari on iOS is the only one that just blanket deletes everything). So you have control over what will be deleted - you might just want to clear your cache but keep your cookies - you might want to do the opposite! It's up to you.

If someone is helping you solve a problem you're having, the chances are they'll want you to clear both your cache and your cookies to be safe.

Unless you really want to, it might be a good idea to hold on to some other things which make browsing more convenient - things like the data you've entered into forms (to save you from re-typing it each time), saved passwords, site permissions and so on.

When you delete your cookies, you'll need to re-login to websites that you use. When you delete your cache, your browser will need to re-fetch all the files it needs to display websites when you visit them.

Any files you've downloaded yourself won't be deleted; this operation is more about deleting the files that your browser has automatically downloaded as a part of its normal operation.

Enabling Cookies

Cookies are small text files which web servers can place on your computer when you visit their website. Cookies are typically used to help websites remember that you've logged in, or perhaps to store your personal preferences for that website.

Cookies can also be used to track your behaviour (and particularly to track your behaviour across a number of different websites). Third-party cookies are often used to do this, and a lot of web users choose to disable third party cookies to help prevent them being tracked. You need to make your own decision about what kinds of Cookies you want to allow.

Clear Cache, Cookies and History in Chrome

The controls to clear your Cookies, Browsing history, cache and other data in Chrome are all stored in the same screen. To get to these controls and choose what you want to clear, follow these instructions.

  1. Click the Chrome menu buttonIn the top-right corner of the Chrome window you'll see the Customise menu icon - it looks like three little black dots on top of each other - click it.The location of the Customize and Control menu buttonA menu will be displayed when you click the "three dots" button.
  2. Hover your mouse on the "More tools" menu itemThe button that opens the main Chrome menuA sub-menu will appear containing more tools you can use. One of those tools is the "Clear browsing data..." option.
  3. Click "Clear browsing data..."In the sub-menu which has appeared, click Clear browsing data...Screenshot of the More Tools menu, showing the Clear browsing data option
  4. Choose what to clearYou are now presented with a choice of what to clear from Chrome.Click the various checkboxes on the left of the window to select or deselect the items in the list of what to clear.

  5. Basic or AdvancedIf you just want the standard or basic options, then you can check or uncheck the three options you are given on the Basic screen:
    • Browsing history
    • Cookies and other site data
    • Cached images and files

    Screenshot of the Basic Clear History screen

    Those three options are usually the ones you most regularly want to clear.

Clear Cache, Cookies and History in Chrome on Mobile

The controls to clear your Cookies, Browsing history, cache and other data in Chrome on mobile devices (iPhone, Android, etc) are all stored in the same screen. To get to these controls and choose what you want to clear, follow these instructions.

These screenshots are taken in Chrome on iOS but the process is identical on Android.

 

  1. Tap the Options buttonThe options menu looks like three dots next to each other; they are located in the bottom right-hand corner.You may have to scroll right to the top of the website you're on for these three little dots to appear. You need to have at least one tab for them to appear.

    The Chrome menu at the bottom of the screen

  2. Tap "Settings"Depending on the screen size of your device you may have to scroll the Options menu down a little bit in order to see the "Settings" item at the bottom of the list.The Chrome menu, showing the Settings item
  3. Tap the "Privacy" menu itemScroll down the menu screen until you see the Privacy menu item. Tap it.The Settings menu, showing the Privacy item

    The privacy section holds some options regarding your personal privacy on your device while using Chrome.

  4. Tap "Clear Browsing Data"You will see the Clear Browsing Data menu item in the Privacy section; tap it.The Privacy menu, showing the Clear Browsing Data item

    This will take you to a screen where you can choose the different things you want to clear from Chrome.

  5. Choose what to ClearYou will see a list of what can be cleared: Browsing historyCookies, Site DataCached Images & FilesSaved Passwords and Auto-fill Data.The various things you can choose to clear

    Tap on each of these items to choose whether or not it will be cleared. You will see a blue tick symbol appear if it is about to be cleared...

  6. Choosing the time rangeYou can also select a time range for when to clear the data for. If you want to clear just your recent browsing history, you can use the Last Hour option. If you tap the Time Range item you'll be able to choose from Last HourLast 24 HoursLast 7 daysLast 4 Weeks, or All time. If you choose All time then all your browsing history for Chrome will be cleared.
  7. Tap the "Clear Browsing Data" itemWhen you have chosen what you want to clear and to keep, tap the red "Clear Browsing Data" item at the bottom - and then confirm your decision in the little pop-up which appears.The Clear Browsing Data button, which will actually delete what you have selected to be deleted

    Whatever you have chosen to be cleared will now be cleared by Chrome.

  8. Tap "Done" in the top right hand corner to finish.Once you have successfully cleared your Browsing Data, simply tap the Done button in the top right corner to finish.The Done button at the top of the screen

    You will return to the web page you were looking at when you first tapped the Options menu.

Clear Cache, Cookies and History in Firefox

The controls to clear your Cookies, Browsing history, cache and other data in Firefox are all stored in the same screen. To get to these controls and choose what you want to clear, follow these instructions.

These screenshots are taken in Firefox on Windows but the process is identical on Mac and Linux computers.

 

  1. Click the Firefox menu buttonClick the button that looks like three horizontal lines in the top right corner of the Firefox window.The location of the Firefox menu button
  2. Click the "Library" menu itemIn the menu which just appeared, find the Library menu item and click it.The Firefox menu, showing the Library menu item
  3. Click the "History" menu itemThe interface now shows the contents of the Library menu; one of the items is History. Click it.The basic view of the History menu
  4. Click "Clear Recent History..."You'll now see the contents of Firefox's browsing history, showing all the sites that you've visited since the last time you cleared your cache.At the top of the History menu, there will be an option called Clear Recent History.... Click it to get some options about what exactly you will clear from your history and cache.The History menu, showing the Clear Recent History menu item
  5. Choose what to clearFirefox gives you a very straight-forward interface for clearing your browsing data.For all the various types of history and cache data you want to clear, simply make sure the corresponding checkbox has a tick in it - toggle the tick marks by clicking on them or the label.Screenshot of the Clear Recent History interface

     

  6. Time range to clearIt's possible to clear your entire history, but it's also possible to be more selective and only clear more recent history items - for example you can clear only what you've done in the last hour. Click the option to choose the time range you want to clear.History
    • Browsing & Download history - The list of website addresses you have visited and the list of files you've downloaded from them
    • Cookies - Websites can store little bits of information on your computer to help remember who you are
    • Active Logins - If you've logged into a website it may be remembering that you're logged in... clearing this will cause you to need to log in again
    • Cache - Your computer may store temporary copies of some file types (images etc) so that when you re-visit a website it loads much faster
    • Form & Search History - Firefox remembers what you've previous typed into forms and search fields

    Data

    • Site Preferences - You may have configured custom settings for certain websites (eg You may have allowed a particular website to use your Web Cam). Clearing these preferences will cause Firefox to forget the individual customisations to your permissions you've made
    • Offline Website Data - Some websites allow themseles to be cached and used offline (when you don't have an internet connection). Clearing this data will mean those websites won't work until you visit them again.
  7. Click "Clear Now"Once you've selected what you'd like to clear from your internet history, simply click the Clear Now button and Firefox will delete it.Screenshot of the Clear Now and Cancel buttons 

    Congratulations, you have now cleared your selected browsing data from your computer. You can simply close this window and continue to use Firefox.

Clear Cache, Cookies and History in Firefox on iPhone

This guide will help you clear your cache, cookies and browsing history in Firefox on iPhone/iPad.

There are three approaches to removing browsing data in Firefox: You can clear just your recent history, delete an individual page from your browsing history, or you can clear your entire cache, cookies and browsing history as far back in time as the data goes.

In Firefox on iOS, do you want to:

  • Clear Firefox's entire cache, cookies & history
  • Only clear your recent history or a specific URL from your history
  • Clear an individual site from your history

 

Clear Firefox's entire Cache, Cookies & History

These steps will show you how to clear your entire browsing history, cache and collection of cookies for Firefox on iPhone/iPad. it will delete the data as far back in time as possible. You can choose which types of data to keep and to delete.

    1. Tap the Firefox Menu buttonOpen the Firefox Menu by tapping the button in the bottom-right corner; it looks like three horizontal lines on top of each other.

      The location of the Firefox menu button

      This will show the Firefox menu; it contains many items which let you perform certain tasks or change the way Firefox operates.

    2. Tap "Settings"Screenshot of the Settings item in the menu

      This will bring up a menu that contains many options which control how Firefox operates.

    3. Tap "Data Management"The Settings window has a number of sections, each with many items. Scroll down to the "Privacy" section, then find & tap the Data Management item. It will be in the middle of the Privacy section.

      Screenshot showing the Privacy section with the Data Management section highlighted

    4. Choose what you want to clear from FirefoxAs you browse the internet, Firefox keeps different types of data related to your activity. It's not necessary to completely clear all your browsing data in Firefox; for example, it's possible to choose to only delete the cache, or just the History (list of URLs), or just the Cookies, and so on.

      In the Clear Private Data section you will see a number of controls to select which types of data Firefox will clear. You can choose which ones to clear by sliding the various controls to the right to mark them to be deleted.

      Screenshot of the various types of data which can be deleted from Firefox

      Here's what each option means and what will be deleted if you enable the blue switches:

      Data type Description
      Browsing History The list of URLs that you have visited.
      Cache Temporary copies of things from websites (images, sounds etc); these help websites to load faster the second time you view them.
      Cookies Cookies are little bits of data which help websites remember you.
      Offline Web Site Data Some websites can save copies of themselves to your phone (if you let them) so that they still work when you don't have an internet connection.
      Tracking Protection Site specific tracking protection settings (eg. if you have allowed/disallowed something for a particular site).
      Downloaded Files Firefox can save files from websites you visit (PDFs, etc).

      Once you have made your selection of what to delete from Firefox, proceed to the next step.

    5. Tap "Clear Private Data"Now that you have chosen what Firefox should keep and what is should delete, tap the Clear Private Data button at the bottom of the screen to tell Firefox to go ahead and delete it.

      This will delete the data as far back in time as possible. If you only want to delete recent history (eg. Today's browsing data) or delete just a specific URL from your history, please follow our instructions for clearing recent history in Firefox instead.

      Once you're ready, tap Clear Private Data at the bottom of the screen.

      Screenshot of the Clear Private Data button

    6. Confirm your decisionOnce you have tapped the Clear Private Data button, Firefox will prompt you to confirm that you really want to clear the data you have selected. If you need to change your selection or have changed your mind, tap Cancel. If you really do want to clear the selected data types, tap OK to confirm and proceed.

      Screenshot of Firefox's confirmation dialog

      Firefox will then clear the selected data from your iPhone/iPad.

    7. Close the Settings screenNow that Firefox has cleared the data you chose, you can tap the Back button (in the top left) of the screen to exit the Data Management screen. Then tap Done (in the top right) and Firefox will return you to where you left off browsing the internet.

      Congratulations, you have just cleared your browsing data.


Clear Recent History

If instead of clearing all your browsing history, you only want to remove recently visited sites from Firefox's history, follow these steps.

      1. Tap the Firefox Menu buttonOpen the Firefox Menu by tapping the button in the bottom-right corner; it looks like three horizontal lines on top of each other.

        The location of the Firefox menu button

        This will show the Firefox menu; it contains many options.

      2. Tap "Your Library"On the Firefox Menu, you'll see the Your Library item; tap on it to open your library of visited sites.

        Screenshot showing the Home and Your Library menu items

        This will show the Firefox menu; it contains many options.

      3. Tap "Clear Recent History..."Screenshot of the Clear Recent History item
      4. Choose the time-frame you want to clearYou have chosen to only clear your recent history; Firefox now prompts you how far back in time it should clear your browsing data. You can delete The Last HourToday and Today and Yesterday. Make your selection or tap Cancel to back out.

        Screenshot of the time-frame prompt

        When you make a choice, Firefox will clear your browsing history, cookies and other browsing data collected during that time frame.

      5. Slide the History screen down to closeNow that you've cleared your recent history in Firefox, simply slide the History screen down and you will return to the site you were originally browsing.

Clear Cache, Cookies and History in Firefox on Android

This guide will help you clear your cache, cookies and browsing history in Firefox on Android.

    1. On your Android, open the Firefox menu

      When you can see the "3 dot" menu button in the top right-hand corner of the screen, tap on it.

      If you can't see it, try swiping "up" on the page you're in; this usually reveals it along with the address bar and so on.

      The Firefox menu button.

      When you tap on it, you'll see the Firefox menu appear.

    2. Find the "Settings" item and tap on it

      When the Firefox menu appears, find the Settings item - towards the bottom - and tap on it.

      The settings menu item.

    3. Tap the "Clear private data" item

      You'll now see a big list of various options for changing the settings for Firefox. One of the options is called Clear private data. Tap on it to bring up the controls for clearing your cache, history, cookies etc.

      Screenshot of the Clear Private Data button

    4. Choose the types of data to clear

      Firefox now presents you with a big list of the various types of data it collects while you browse the internet.

      Tap on each item - so that it has a blue and white tick next to it - to mark that kind of data to be deleted in the next step.

      Screenshot of the Clear Private Data button

      The most common things people tend to clear from their browser is CacheCookies & active logins and History. Clearing cookies will also log you out of any websites that you are currently logged into.

    5. Tap "Clear Data" to delete

      Once you have made your selection of what to delete from Firefox, tap the Clear Data button at the bottom of the screen. If you don't want to go ahead and delete the data, you can tap Cancel to leave this section.

      Screenshot of the Clear Private Data button

    6. Close the Settings

      Now that you've cleared items from your Android in Firefox, you can close Settings and resume browsing.

Clear Cache, Cookies and History in Edge

The controls to clear your Cookies, Browsing history, cache and other data in Edge are all stored on the same menu. To get to these controls and choose what you want to clear, follow these instructions.

  1. Click the "Settings and more" buttonIn the top right hand corner of your Edge browser's window, you will see a small button with 3 dots in it. This is the "Settings and more" button

    The location of the Settings and more menu button

    Click it. It will reveal a menu with more options. One of them will be named "Settings".

  2. Select the "Settings" menu itemAt the bottom of the large menu which just appeared, the bottom item will be called Settings. Click on it.

    The Settings item in the menu

    The Settings menu will now appear.

  3. Go to the "Clear browsing data" sectionIn the large menu which just appeared, there will be a section called Clear browsing data.

    The Clear browsing data section

    In it, there is a button labeled Choose what to clear. Click on it.

  4. Choose what to clear from EdgeYou will be presented with a large list of checkboxes for various things which can be deleted from Edge.

    The Clear browsing data section

    Choose what you would like to delete from Edge by keeping the blue and white checkbox ticked. Untick anything which you don't want to delete.

    It's most common to just want to delete Browsing historyCookiesCached data and Tabs I've set aside.... You may want to keep (by ensuring they are unticked) things like Form dataPasswords and Media licenses...

  5. Click the "Clear" buttonOnce you have made your choices about what you want to clear from Edge, click the Clear button.

    The Clear browsing data section

    This will make Edge clear the selected types of data from your computer.

    Once it's finished, it will say All clear! underneath the Clear button. Now you can then simply close the Settings menu and continue browsing.

Clear Cache, Cookies and History on Safari

Here are instructions to help you clear your browsing history, cookies & cache in Safari on macOS.

It can be helpful to clear Safari's stored browsing data sometimes if you're having problems with some websites; it provides a bit of a "clean slate" for you; every thing will be reset and you can try again with a fresh browsing setup.

  1. Click the "Safari" menu

    Make sure you have a Safari window open and active; you will see the "Safari" menu in the top left of your screen. Click it and it will expand to show Safari specific options.

    The location of the Safari menu - in the top left of the screen

  2. Click the "Clear History..." item

    Now that you have expanded the Safari menu, you will see the Clear History... item - click on it.

    The Safari menu showing the Clear History item.

  3. Choose what to delete and click "Reset"

    Safari now gives you a very simple interface for clearing your browsing history. When you click Clear History your cookies, browsing cache and browser history will be deleted for the specified time range.

    The Safari menu showing the Clear History item.

    If you choose the default option of "all history" then the entire historical record of your browsing on this computer will be deleted. At the top of the prompt, you'll see "Clear: all history" - you can click on this Select field and choose a time range to clear instead.

    So instead of deleting all your history, you can choose to just delete Today's browsing history, or just the past hour's history.

    Once you have decided how much you want to delete, click the Clear History button.

    Congratulations, you have now cleared your selected browsing data from your computer. You can simply close this window and continue to use Safari.

Clearing other saved information from Safari

Clearing your history only removes your browsing history, cache and cookies; if you want to clear various things you've entered into websites you'll need to go to a different part of Safari's settings.

Clearing Form Data and Passwords

On the same Safari Preferences window, click the AutoFill tab along the top. You'll see options for how Safari will automatically "fill out" forms for you online. As well as enabling/disabling it, you can also click the various Edit... buttons which will then show you the various bits of information that Safari has stored.

You can use these interfaces to review and optionally delete any information you've previously entered from your computer. Because some of it is sensitive (Passwords, Credit Card numbers etc) you will have to unlock various sections by entering your computer's password.

Clear Cache, Cookies and History in Edge

The controls to clear your Cookies, Browsing history, cache and other data in Edge are all stored on the same menu. To get to these controls and choose what you want to clear, follow these instructions.

  1. Click the "Settings and more" button In the top right hand corner of your Edge browser's window, you will see a small button with 3 dots in it. This is the "Settings and more" buttonThe location of the Settings and more menu button

    Click it. It will reveal a menu with more options. One of them will be named "Settings".

  2. Select the "Settings" menu itemAt the bottom of the large menu which just appeared, the bottom item will be called Settings. Click on it.The Settings item in the menu

    The Settings menu will now appear.

  3. Go to the "Clear browsing data" sectionIn the large menu which just appeared, there will be a section called Clear browsing data.The Clear browsing data section

    In it, there is a button labeled Choose what to clear. Click on it.

  4. Choose what to clear from EdgeYou will be presented with a large list of checkboxes for various things which can be deleted from Edge.The Clear browsing data section

    Choose what you would like to delete from Edge by keeping the blue and white checkbox ticked. Untick anything which you don't want to delete.

    It's most common to just want to delete Browsing historyCookiesCached data and Tabs I've set aside.... You may want to keep (by ensuring they are unticked) things like Form dataPasswords and Media licenses...

  5. Click the "Clear" buttonOnce you have made your choices about what you want to clear from Edge, click the Clear button.The Clear browsing data section

    This will make Edge clear the selected types of data from your computer.

    Once it's finished, it will say All clear! underneath the Clear button. Now you can then simply close the Settings menu and continue browsing.

Clear Cache, Cookies and History in Safari on iPhone

Safari on iOS has a very straight-forward interface to Reset Safari. The controls to clear your Cookies, Browsing history, cache and other things in Safari are all stored in the same screen. To get to these controls and choose what you want to clear, follow these instructions.

  1. Open the "Settings" AppThe controls to reset Safari aren't actually inside Safari! They're in the Settings app.

    Go back to the Home Screen and tap the Settings app.

    Screenshot of the Home Screen, highlighting the Settings app icon

  2. Scroll down to the "Safari" itemScroll the screen down until you see Safari and tap on it.

    Screenshot of the Settings screen, highlighting the Safari item

    When you see the Safari item, tap on it to see the options for Safari.

  3. Scroll down to the "Clear History and Website Data" itemThis item is towards the bottom of the screen so you'll need to scroll down a bit.

    Screenshot of Safari's settings, highlighting the Clear History... item

    When you see it, simply tap on it. You will be prompted to confirm deleting your historycookies and other browsing data.

  4. Confirm your decision to clear your browsing dataNow you are prompted to clear your browsing data. You can tap Cancel (or just press the Home button) to abort clearing your browsing data from Safari if you've decided not to proceed.

    Screenshot of the confirmation dialog

    Once you've cleared your data you can simply press the Home button to return to the Home Screen of your device.

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