Believe it or not, it’s the little things that count. When you have a lot of apps and web apps on your Chromebook, you’d be tempted to think that deleting these would speed up your laptop, but you may not need to resort to such drastic measures to squeeze out a bit more optimization.
You’re probably already familiar with the fact that Google’s ChromeOS is super snappy fast, secure and simple to use and learn. For many, using it and closing the lid when they’re done is enough, but for those who want to get a bit more technical, I’m going to show you how to clear the cache on your Chromebook today.
Chrome and ChromeOS are one in the same for this task
Because Chrome, the browser, and ChromeOS are inexplicably tied together in their identity (for now), clearing the cache on your Chromebook is synonymous with clearing the cache on your browser. To get started, just open Chrome using the ‘Everything button’ on your keyboard or by clicking the app drawer on the bottom-left of your Chromebook. It’s also right there on your shelf, of course!
In Chrome, you’ll see a three dots ‘more’ options menu at the very top right. Clicking that reveals a pop up menu with a bunch of choices. About ¾ down the list, you’ll see ‘More tools’. In that secondary menu, you’ll spot the ‘Clear browsing data’ option. If you’re rocking the latest version off the OS though, you need only to look halfway down the main list for the same option since it’s no longer buried!
Pro tip: You can also clear browsing data quickly by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Backspace on your keyboard.
Caching in on the details
Moving right along, the Clear browsing data screen automatically displays a dialogue box with several options specific to clearing some clutter. First, you’ll want to select a time range. You can choose from the last hour, 24 hours, the last week, the last month and all time. Then, the check boxes below that let you choose what exactly you’re clearing. You can nuke your browsing history, especially if you accidentally placed personal data or logged into Gmail on a public computer.
You can clear cookies and other site data too, which is vital for the same reason. Lastly, you can rid your browser of saved or ‘cached’ images and files. It’s important to note that if you do choose to clear the cached images, the websites you visit after this point will have to re-load them instead of quickly fetching them from the local storage, meaning they may be a bit slower for the first load. Still, if you’ve got a bunch saved in there for sites you’ll likely never visit again, this can help.
Cool, there’s one more thing I want to cover. If you noticed, there’s an ‘Advanced’ tab at the top of this box. Before you click to clear everything, check that out too as it allows you to clear Passwords and autofill, site data, and more. If you plan to continue using the Chromebook you’re clearing the cache on, I don’t recommend going this far, but definitely do so if you are planning to ditch this device or hand it off to someone else. Of course, wiping it and returning it back to factory settings is the best option, especially since you want to remove your entire Google Account, but that’s something we already have a guide on!
Lastly, click the blue ‘Clear data’ button at the bottom and let it do its thing. Within seconds, you’re going to see the box go away, and unfortunately, Chrome doesn’t give you any notice that it was successful, but take my word for it, it was. You’re done!
How to clear the cache on Google Play Store apps
Let’s quickly cover one last thing, and this is an important distinction – clearing the cache on your Chromebook consists of more than just the browser. Sure, this may do well to fix up your apps and web apps, but what about your Google Play ‘Android’ apps? If you’re experiencing an issue with apps loading or simply want to clear some space within these, there are two options.
First and foremost, clearing the app cache on a single app – just right-click the app icon in your launcher, and go to ‘App info’. This will pop open the Settings app and take you right to its settings. Then, click the ‘More settings and permissions’ option, and wait for that to load. This may take a bit of time, to be honest, and I wish Google would fix that. However, once it’s open, you’ll notice it looks identical to your phone’s Android app settings! Just find the ‘Storage & cache’ section, which houses the ‘Clear cache’ option under it.
Important: If you want to avoid having to sign into that Android app again, you need to be careful not to ‘Clear storage’, as this wipes out your credentials. However, if you find that an app is still misbehaving, you’ll need to tap both ‘Clear cache’, and ‘Clear storage’. Signing back in again is a sacrifice worth making, especially with Chrome and Play Services automagically filling in your saved password!