How To Clean Up Temporary Files On Mac

How to Delete Temporary Files on Mac

Keeping cache and temporary files on your Mac, along with everything else, takes up storage space that may be put to better use. Depending on how many programs you use on a regular basis, you may be storing dozens, if not hundreds, of temporary files without even realizing it, slowing down your Mac incrementally.

Everything from browser cache, including cookies and passwords, to message cache folders, partial downloads, software temp files and folders, and so much more can take up space on your Mac.

How to clear the temporary files on Mac using shortcuts

  1. Press Shift+Command+G
  2. Type '~/Library/Caches' in the search box.
  3. Click 'Go'.
  4. When a new window appears showing your system's cache files, press Command+A to select all.
  5. Press Delete.
  6. Enter your Mac's password and confirm to delete the temporary files.
How to clear temporary files on Mac

How to clean up temporary files on your Mac without shortcuts

If you have problems cleaning up temporary files on your Mac, you can try the following alternative:

  1. Go to the 'Finder'.
  2. Click 'Go'.
  3. Select 'Go to folder' from the drop-down.
  4. Type '~/Library/Caches' in the search box.
  5. Click 'Go'.
  6. When a new window appears showing your system's cache files, select 'Edit' from the top menu.
  7. Click 'Select All'.
  8. Select 'File' from the top menu.
  9. Click 'Move to Trash'.
  10. Enter your Mac's password and confirm to delete the temporary files.

Should I Delete Temporary Files?

It is generally a good idea to periodically delete temporary files and clean your Mac's cache. Temporary files are not useless, in fact you Mac uses them often to carry out critical functions and perform routine tasks more quickly.

For example, when you go to a website the web page and associated images are save in the browser cache. Next time you view the page, or another page on the same website, the images can be loaded from the cache instead of downloading them again.

Unfortunately, these temporary files can collect and end up taking up a huge amount of disk space if they are never purged. For this reason, many users prefer to use Mac cleaner programs like CleanMyMac to clean up temporary files in the background.

How to clear temporary files in Safari

You can clear temporary files in Safari by using the keyboard shortcut Command + Option + E or by following these steps:

  1. Select Safari -> Preferences -> Advanced from the menu.
  2. Enable "Show Develop menu in menu bar" in the options shown and close the window window.
  3. In the browser menu, click Develop -> Empty Cache.

The Safari cache will be cleared, but browsing history will remain intact.

How to clear temporary files in Google Chrome

Clear the data under "Clear browsing data" in Chrome's Settings to erase all temporary files.

  1. Press Command+Shift+Delete or select Chrome -> Clear Browsing Data from the top left corner of the Chrome window.
  2. Select "Cached images and files" in the "Clear browsing data" window. Optionally, select a time range based on the amount of cache you wish to remove.
  3. To clear the cache, click the "Clear Data" button.

How to clear temporary files in Mozilla Firefox

Clearing temporary files in the most recent Firefox versions is a simple process.

  1. Click the menu button at the top-right of Firefox.
  2. Click "Settings".
  3. Go to "Privacy & Security" in the left column.
  4. Scroll down to "Cookies and Site Data" and click "Clear Data".
  5. A confirmation screen will appear with details about what will be cleared. Click the "Clear" button.
Deleting temporary files in Firefox on Mac

Advanced settings can allow you to automatically remove the cache in Firefox when it closes, but this may slow down your experience.

What temporary files are on Mac?

Temporary files are saved on your hard disk and used to accelerate certain procedures. For example, Safari will download images from a webpage so that they are not downloaded again the next time you visit the page.

Cookie files are the tiniest temporary files. This type of temporary file is used by your browser to keep track of previously visited websites. Cookies record information about your visit, such as the duration of your visit, the actions you take on a page, and so on. Advertisers also use them to track your online activity. Regardless matter how unpleasant they are, cookies are an unavoidable aspect of the Internet and are important for many websites to function correctly.

There are numerous reasons to delete old temporary files on Mac, such as privacy recovering wasted hard drive space.

Is it safe to delete all temporary files on Mac?

Deleting all temporary files on Mac at once is not totally safe. Your Mac saves everything you do in real time, so if you're working on a project with an app, deleting the app's temporary files will wipe out all of your progress. What you can get rid of is the inactive cache, which contains old files that are typically left unused. Old program cache files are the same so if you've previously deleted the app, there's no need to keep its remaining temporary files.

Author Katrina O'Reilly
About The Author
Katrina O'Reilly
Katrina goes by her gamer handle MissTRex. Born in Jaynesfield Wisconsin, she studied game design at Full Sail University. She has a penchant for anything "geeky" and is still a huge gamer.