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How to clear cache, history and cookies in Safari on Mac

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Whenever you use Safari on your Mac, the browser ends up caching web pages to speed up subsequent visits. It also stores cookies to remember site-related preferences and even allows you to keep track of what you did next by continuously recording your browsing activity. This helps improve your online experience.

But sometimes, browsing data can cause serious problems. For example, an outdated browser cache often causes performance issues, while history and cookies pose a threat to privacy. Additionally, AutoFill data types, such as passwords and saved web forms, put sensitive information at risk.

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Thankfully, Safari offers several approaches to clearing the cache, history, and cookies on your Mac. It is up to you to choose the method that best suits your situation.

Warning: Deleting browsing history and Autofill data in Safari causes the changes to sync with other Apple devices that you own. If you want to stop it, open your Mac‘s System Preferences, select Apple ID and disable Safari before starting.

Clear browser cache only in Safari

Safari improves page loading speed by saving site content, such as indexes and images, to your Mac’s local memory. dealing with an outdated or corrupted browser cache. You can fix this by clearing cached data via Safari’s hidden Develop menu.

Note: If an issue is isolated on a specific website, you can try clearing the cache only for that site later.

  1. Select Safari in the menu bar and choose Preferences.
  2. Go to the Advanced tab and check the box next to Show Develop menu in menu bar. Then, exit the Preferences panel.
  3. Open the Develop menu and select Clear Cache.

This should clear the browser cache immediately. You can choose to return to the Preferences panel and disable the Develop menu if you wish.

If clearing the cache in Safari didn’t help resolve any site loading issues, you may want to clear the DNS cache on Mac or renew the DHCP lease.

Clear browsing history in Safari only

Safari keeps track of all the sites and web pages you have visited, and you can access the information through your browser’s History panel. Recorded browsing activity also tends to show up in search suggestions. 

But that makes it easy for anyone else using the browser to understand what you’ve been doing online. So if privacy is an issue, you need to clear your browsing history.

Clear individual browsing history entries

  1. Open Safari’s History menu and select the Show History option.
  2. Select the entry you want to delete. You can use the search bar at the top right of the screen to filter items by site.
  3. Click the entry while holding down the Ctrl key and select Delete.

To delete multiple entries, select them while holding down the Command key. Then, hit the Delete key.

Clear complete browsing history

  1. Hold down the Option key and open the Safari menu. Then, select Clear history and keep website data.
  2. Set Clear to all history.
  3. Select Clear History.

Alternatively, you can set Erase to the last hour, today and today and yesterday options if you want to delete specific browsing history for those periods only.

Clear cookies and cache (single site or all sites)

Browser cookies are small pieces of data that help Safari save site preferences and login sessions. But cookies also allow websites to track you. Furthermore, outdated cookies can prevent the sites from functioning properly.

You can clear cookies for a specific site or for all sites you have previously visited, along with any cached data about the site or sites.

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  1. Open the Safari menu and select Preferences.
  2. Switch to the Privacy tab.
  3. Select the button labeled Manage Website Data.
  4. You should see a list of websites. Use the search field at the top right of the window to filter them by site. Then, choose an entry and select Remove to delete it. You can also hold down the Command button to choose and remove multiple entries. If you want to remove all cookies and cached data, select Remove all instead.
  5. Select Done.

Deleting cookies related to a site forces you to log in to that site again. If you remove all cookies, you will have to log in again everywhere.

We recommend that you use Safari’s private browsing windows in cases where you do not want your browser to store cookies indefinitely.

Clear all history, cookies and cache in Safari

If you are in a hurry, you can immediately delete the history, cookies and cache in Safari.

  1. Open the Safari menu and select Clear history.
  2. Set Clear to all history. Alternatively, select the options Last Hour, Today and Today and yesterday if you delete your browsing history, cookies and cache related only to those periods.
  3. Select Clear History.

Clear download history (individual entries or complete history)

Safari also keeps a separate log of your download history. You can easily remove individual entries or the complete list. 

  1. Open Safari’s View menu.
  2. Select the Show downloads option.
  3. Control-click an entry and select Remove from List. Alternatively, choose Clear to clear the entire download history.

Deleting the download history will not remove the downloaded files. You need to manually locate and delete your Mac downloads.

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Clear Autofill data (passwords, credit cards and web forms)

The autofill feature in Safari saves specific types of data (passwords, credit cards, and web forms) to make it easier to fill in repeatedly. However, considering the sensitive nature of the information, you may want to delete it if other people also have access to the same Mac user account.

  1. Open the Safari menu and select Preferences.
  2. Go to the Autofill tab.
  3. Select Edit next to the type of Autofill data ( Usernames and Passwords, Credit Cards, or Other Forms ) you want to delete.
  4. Enter your Mac user account password to proceed. Then, select one or more entries and select Remove to delete them. 
  5. Exit the Preferences panel.

You have successfully deleted your Safari browsing data

Clearing the cache, history and cookies in Safari requires a fair amount of searches in hidden settings and menus. But you can get rid of everything you want very quickly after trying it a couple of times. 

However, you should only delete browsing data if you have serious concerns about performance or privacy. If not, you’ll just end up slowing things down.