What, why, when and how to clear cache on Android devices?

Wayne Thompson

May 10, 2023

10 min read

Have you ever noticed that your Android device starts to slow down after a while of using it? Or that some of your apps start to crash unexpectedly? This could be due to the accumulation of cached data on your device. This can slow down your device, cause apps to crash, and lead to other performance issues. It’s important for Android users and IT admins to know when and how to clear cache on Android devices. It is even more important for devices with limited storage capacity, where every bit of storage space counts.

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What is cache?

Cache is a temporary storage location where frequently used data, app files, copy of web pages, images and other resources associated with the website are stored on an Android device. The cache allows for quicker access to frequently used data and can improve app performance. For example, if you frequently visit a website, the images and other data from that site may be cached so that they load faster the next time you visit. Cached data can include downloaded images, audio and video files, website data, and more.

The cache works by storing data that has been recently accessed or is frequently used in a separate area of the device’s memory. For websites, caching is typically implemented in the user’s browser, as well as on the server side. When a user visits a website for the first time, the browser downloads all of the necessary resources (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, etc.) from the web server. These resources are then stored in the browser’s cache, so that if the user visits the site again, the browser can retrieve the resources from the cache instead of requesting them again from the server.

In apps, caching involves storing frequently used data on the device’s local storage so that it can be accessed quickly without having to fetch it from its original source. This can include storing results from web service calls, images, and other data that the app needs to function. When the app needs to retrieve this data, it checks the cache first, and if the data is present, it is retrieved from the cache rather than being fetched from the network or other sources.

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What happens when a cache memory is full?

When the cache memory is full, it can start to cause problems for the device. If the cache is full, it can slow down the device, cause apps to crash, and lead to other performance issues.

In addition, if cached data is not cleared periodically, it can start to take up valuable storage space on the device. This can be a particular problem for devices with limited storage capacity. As cached data builds up over time, it can start to eat into the available storage space on the device. This can make it difficult to install new apps or download new files.

Clearing the cache periodically can help to prevent these problems. By clearing the cache, you can free up space on your device and help to ensure that it continues to run smoothly. It’s important to note that clearing the cache will not delete any personal data, such as photos or contacts. It will only remove temporary files that are no longer needed.

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Difference between cache and cookies

Cache and cookies are two types of temporary data storage systems that are used by web browsers to improve website performance and user experience. While they both serve important functions, they differ in terms of what they store and how they affect your browsing experience.

Cache Cookies
  • Cache is a storage system that stores frequently used data and app files on your device.
  • Websites that you visit store small text files called cookies on your device. 
  • When you visit a website, the browser will cache certain elements of the website, such as images, scripts, and stylesheets, so that they can be loaded more quickly the next time you visit the same site. 
  • They use cookies to store user preferences and settings, such as login information, language preferences, and shopping cart contents.
  • Cached data can take up valuable storage space on your device, and if the cache becomes too full, it can lead to performance issues. 
  • Additionally, websites can also use cookies to track user behavior and serve targeted advertisements.


  • Clearing cache will not log you out of websites or remove any stored preferences or settings. 
  • Clearing cookies will log you out of websites and remove any stored preferences and settings, which can be inconvenient if you have to log back in or reset your preferences. 

Benefits of clearing cache on Android devices?

Clearing the cache on an Android device has numerous benefits, which can help to enhance the overall user experience.

  • Firstly, it can free up storage space on the device, especially if the cache has been accumulating data for an extended period. This can be particularly useful for devices with limited storage space, as it can help to create more room for essential data and files.
  • Secondly, clearing the cache can fix issues with apps that are not working correctly. For instance, if an app keeps crashing or freezing, clearing the cache can help to resolve the issue by removing any temporary files that may be causing the problem.
  • In addition to improving the performance of individual apps, clearing the cache can also enhance the overall performance and speed of the device. By reducing the amount of cached data that the device has to store and access, it can help to optimize its performance and speed up its operations.

When should you clear cache on Android devices?

Here are some scenarios in which you should consider clearing the cache on your Android device:

  • Periodically: It’s a good idea to clear the cache every few months to keep your device running smoothly. This is especially true if you use a lot of apps or frequently download and stream content.
  • After a significant system update: System updates can sometimes cause issues with cached data, leading to performance problems or app crashes. Clearing the cache after a system update can help resolve these issues.
  • App issues: If an app is not working correctly, such as crashing or freezing, clearing the cache can help fix the issue. This is because cached data can sometimes become corrupted or outdated, causing issues with the app’s functionality.
  • Device performance issues: If you notice that your device is running slower than usual, clearing the cache can help improve performance. This is because cached data can take up valuable storage space and cause the device to slow down.

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How to clear cache on Android devices?

Clearing the cache on an Android device is a simple process and can be done in a few steps:

  • Go to the Settings app on your Android device.
  • Scroll down and select “Apps” or “Applications.”
  • Find the app for which you want to clear the cache and tap on it.
  • Select “Storage” and then tap on “Clear cache.”

Clearing cache of the Office app
Clearing cache of the Office app

You can also clear the cache for all apps by selecting “Storage” from the main “Settings” menu and then tapping on “Cache data.” From there, you can select “OK” to clear the cache for all apps.

What happens after you clear cache on Android devices?

When you clear the cache on an Android device, the device will rebuild the cache the next time you use an app or visit a website. This process may take some time and cause the app or website to load slower than usual at first. However, in the long term, clearing the cache can help improve the device’s performance and speed.

The rebuild of the cache occurs because the device needs to store frequently accessed data and app files again. As you continue to use your device, the cache will gradually fill up with new data and app files. Therefore, it’s recommended to periodically clear the cache to prevent a build-up of unnecessary data and improve device performance.


Why an IT admin may prefer to remove app data rather than app cache

In situations where sensitive or personal data is involved, where there are data privacy concerns, or as part of the troubleshooting process for issues related to the app’s performance or stability, an IT admin may prefer to remove app data rather than app cache. App data removal clears all user data, including login information, user preferences, and settings.

Clearing the app data manually on multiple devices can result in significant downtime for both employees and the organization. Hexnode UEM offers a solution to this problem by allowing you to remotely clear app data on multiple endpoints at the same time. This feature can serve as the initial troubleshooting step for apps that are not functioning correctly.

How to clear app data on Android devices in bulk?

If you need to clear app data of multiple applications on several Android devices, you can follow these steps:

  • Sign in to the Hexnode portal and go to Manage > Devices.
  • Choose the devices that require app data to be cleared by selecting the box beside them.
  • Go to Actions > Clear App Data.
  • Pick the app(s) that you want to clear data for and click Next.
  • Enter the number of chosen applications and hit Clear Data.

Alternatively, if you want to clear app data from a particular device’s Device Summary page, follow these steps:

  • Log in to your Hexnode UEM portal.
  • Go to Manage > Devices on your dashboard.
  • Select the device you want to work on from the list of devices.
  • Once you’re on the specific Device Summary page, click on Applications to see the list of all installed apps on the device.
  • Look for the app you want to clear data for and click on the Settings (gear icon) on the right.
  • From the drop-down list, select “Clear App Data“.
  • If the action is successful, you will see the “Clear App Data” action marked as “Success” in the Action History tab.

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To sum up, it’s important to clear the cache on Android devices as a regular maintenance task to optimize device performance and storage space. Clearing the cache periodically can even resolve issues with apps that aren’t functioning properly. It’s crucial to note that clearing the cache won’t delete personal data like photos or contacts. By following the guidelines on how to clear cache on Android, both Android users and IT admins can easily perform this task and ensure the best possible device performance.

Wayne Thompson

Product Evangelist @ Hexnode. Busy doing what looks like fun to me and work to others.

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