For most of us, the web browser on our phone has become an indispensable tool. I’m always using it to find phone numbers and addresses for local stores, get recommendations for nearby restaurants, or to watch Consumer Cellular’s “How To” videos to learn more about using all the great features on my phone.
For my final “Spring Clean” post, I’m sharing some basic information about how your phone stores all the data you collect when you browse on it. More importantly, I have a few tips to help keep that storage neat and tidy, and make sure your browser doesn’t “freeze up” right when you need it most.
What is cache memory?
When you surf the internet on your phone, each website stores a collection of the images, videos, or text files that are required to display things like web pages, advertisements and more. These are stored into what’s called the phone’s “cache memory” or “cached data.”
You may have noticed that the very first time you load certain web pages it takes much longer than the next time you load it. This is where cached data comes into play. That first time around, the images and text have to be downloaded from the Internet. These files are then saved within your browser, so the next time your phone will already have the information ready to help the webpage load quickly.
For the web pages that you frequent, this is a wonderful tool. But what about sites you will never visit again, or social media posts you’ve already read? Images and information from those pages can clutter up your phone’s available memory, and you’ll start to notice web pages taking a lot longer to load.
Clearing the cache
Fortunately, it’s easy to clear your cache to get rid of all the extra junk that has piled up. While each Android phone is slightly different, the general process will include these steps:
- Go to Settings.
- Choose Storage, Apps or Application Manager.
- You will find either a list of installed apps, or a single “Cached Data” category.
- If you’re working from a list of installed apps, find and tap your web browser.
- Look for Cached Data or Clear Cache. Tap this, and follow any instructions to delete the unnecessary files.
If you’re using an iPhone, the process will be slightly different, but still very simple:
- Go to Settings.
- Choose Safari, or whatever browser app you are using.
- Choose Clear History, and Clear Cookies and Data.
If you’ve followed this and all my other “Spring Clean” tips, your phone should now be as fresh and clean as your spring garden bed! And just like your garden, who knows what neat things may grow in the space you’ve created?