How to clear Android cache and free up memory

Through this article you will learn how to clear the cache on Android to free up space in your device's internal memory. For years, one of the faster and easier ways to recover the space occupied in the internal memory of Android phones and tablets has been delete the cache stored by applications

This is a process that all or almost all of us have done at some point, especially when smartphones had little storage space and the ability to expand internal storage via microSD cards was not an option.

Ma Is clearing the cache really useful? E, thing more important, Does it affect system or application performance? Since there are some doubts about what the cache is and how it is cleared on Android, in this article we analyze one by one all the aspects to be taken into consideration before carrying out this process.

First of all: what is android cache

In general, cache is ultra-fast access memory and stores copies or essential elements of a software in so that, in the future, thein this case access to applications is much faster. Android specifically reserves an amount of memory to cache each application's data.

Each of the applications installed on an Android device has a small amount of available cache memory: some apps even allow the user to choose the maximum amount of cache memory that can be stored. 

Since generating content such as images - usually thumbnails -, graphics or other multimedia files embedded in the app will require the use of system resources such as CPU cycles or mAh battery, the apps decide to store this type of content in the cache memory of which they have. 

In this way, even if the app is closed, when the user runs it again, this content does not have to be generated again, but only to access the cache to retrieve it.

However, this is just one of the types of caches that exist in android, although that's what we'll focus on in this guide. If you've been using Google's mobile operating system for a long time, you probably know the Dalvik terms or ART cache. 

Since the replacement of Dalvik with the new Android ART execution environment - Android Runtime -, the ART cache is a directory that is automatically generated in the / data partition of the system, where the code that the operating system, via ART, must be translated to be interpretable by the CPU.

Currently, Android doesn't offer a way to clear the cache, as it's hardly ever needed, and can only be done via specific apps or via reset. 

One of the consequences of deleting this cache is the long process of “optimizing the Android 1 X application” that we could see in previous versions of the system when installing an update or changing the ROM.

On the other hand, we could discuss the concepts disk cache and CPU cache, as well as the cache partition generated by the operating system itself. However, in general, no user will need to clear this memory and in most cases there is no point in doing so.

What happens if I clear the cache memory?

Taking into account everything we just said, we can deduce that by clearing the application cache, that auto-generated content will be deleted to speed up its execution in future instances.

One detail to keep in mind is that the content that the application cache can be regenerated at any time, and thus deleting it will not cause any data loss of any kind. 

It is simply possible that the next time you log into the application you will have to wait a little longer until all the content is loaded correctly.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, as I said before, each application has access to its own cache. Android does this division as, at times, apps generate cached information that may contain personal data, and in this way prevents the rest of the apps from having access to the content stored by the rest.

How to clear the cache on Android devices

Knowing what is application cache and what is it for in Android, the most logical thing would be never delete this data stored so that access to applications is always as fast as possible.

However, when you can't delete other data stored on your device and there it is an urgent necessity of free up storage space, clearing the app cache can be a pretty useful solution. To do this, there are several ways to do it:

If your mobile has Android 9.0 and above

Starting with Android 9, Google has decided to remove the option to delete all cached data from applications, as they feel that the operating system itself handles storage quite well and do not find it necessary for users to have to perform this step.

If, even so, you still want to do it, you can use reliable android cleaning apps like Google Files or SD Maid, or do it manually by following these steps:

  • On your device, open system settings and go to Applications section.
  • Open the list of installed apps by clicking See all applications.
  • Click on the application whose cache you want to delete and once inside access the section Archiving.
  • Now you can see the amount of cache memory occupied by the app data. click on Clear cache to delete the stored information, which will be generated the next time you open the app.

If your mobile has a version older than Android 9

In the case of older phones with versions below Android 9, the process of clearing the app cache is much simpler and you don't need to clear the app cache one by one. To do this, the steps are as follows:

  • On your device, open system settings and go to Archiving section.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the list and look for the section cache. The amount of memory occupied by the apps will appear.
  • Click on the section Cache and a warning will appear stating that you are about to delete all cached data. Click "Yes".

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