While many smartphones have more storage than ever, it still doesn’t take long to use it. With apps, photos, videos, and more, your device runs out of space quickly. Another hidden culprit is the cached files. Luckily, you can clear your cache files easily on Android and get your space back.
What Are Cached Files
Despite how it might sound, cached files aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, apps use them to offer you a better experience. For example, your browser caches files from websites to load those pages faster the next time you visit.
But over time, the size and number of files grows. This leads to a large cache that can easily be gigabytes in size. You actually don’t need them and usually won’t notice much of any speed difference.
It’s a good idea to clear Android cache files weekly or monthly. If you stream music and TV often, weekly is better. I regularly have a gigabyte or more each week from streaming.
Clear Android Device with Built-in Tools
Depending on the version of Android you have, there are two options to help you clear Android cache files. Sadly, Android 11 removed the easiest method, which works great for Android 9 users. I’ll start with Android 11 since that’s the most current version.
Depending on the amount of apps you have installed, this could take up to five to ten minutes to complete. I have around forty apps on my phone, and it takes me less than five minutes to go through all of them.
Go to Settings and tap Storage.
Tap “Other Apps.”
Tap an app and then “Clear Cache.” Do not tap “Clear data,” or you’ll erase all of the app’s data, such as your account, settings, game progress, etc.
Repeat the process for each app. The good news is that you really only need to do this with apps you’re currently using. If you have an app you only use once in a while, you may only need to clear the cache every few months or even less often. Check your most frequently used apps weekly or monthly, though, as they’ll build up faster.
In Android 9, go to “Settings -> Storage,” then tap “Free Up Space.”
Tap “Temporary Files & Raw Files.”
Select “Cached data” and tap Delete at the bottom.
This clears all app caches at once. Do note that this feature is no longer available in Android 11.
Clear Android Cache with Cache Cleaners
If you’d rather not go through your apps one by one, cache cleaner apps are perfect for cleaning up your Android device. They usually have other features, too, to help optimize your device.
While there is a wide variety available, CCleaner has always been a personal favorite. Not only does it work well for Android devices, but I use it for Windows as well to clean out temp files, cookies, and much more. You do have to allow it several access permissions, but this is so the app can scan your device and delete cached files.
Once CCleaner’s installed, the app takes you step by step through allowing permissions. It then helps you run your first scan, which takes seconds.
You can view the “Quick Clean Review” and see which files are considered safe to delete.
If you scroll down, you’ll see other items you may want to delete. These can be downloaded files from apps. For example, I have some offline Spotify files for listening when I don’t have a signal. It also includes downloaded files. You don’t have to delete anything you don’t want to. Just make sure they’re not checked, and CCleaner won’t delete them.
When you’re ready, tap “Finish Cleaning.” You’ll then need to tap Proceed to continue. Don’t use your device during this process.
It can take a few minutes for the deep clean process to complete. When the completion screen appears, you can close CCleaner or proceed to other features, such as boosting performance. Tap the X at the top to return to the homescreen or press your Home button to exit the app.
If you don’t like CCleaner, two other apps to clear Android cache files include Systweak’s Cleaner for Android and Innovana Techlabs Phone Cleaner.
If you’re still having storage issues, you may have leftover files after removing an Android app. You can also use a more advanced file manager to see what’s taking up so much room on your device.
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