There are a handful of situations when clearing Safari’s cookies or cache–one of the places where Safari stores website data to avoid having to download it afresh each time you access a site–can help improve your browsing experience.
The first is when websites simply stop working when you access them on Safari. Perhaps Facebook stops updating with new posts, for example, or the images on a site don’t appear as they should. If this happens, it’s likely the cache has become corrupted.
Alternatively, if you find that personal info automatically completed on sites isn’t correct, deleting cookies can help. These are small files that sites use to save data about you and what you do on the site.
Even if none of these problems affect you, periodically cleaning browser data can help protect your privacy from snoops who want to discover what you’ve been up to online. In this article, therefore, we explain how to clear Safari’s cache and cookies on Mac.
We also have an article that explains How to clear cache on a Mac.
How to clear Safari cookies and cache for websites
Cleaning cookies and the cache data for individual sites can be done via Safari’s Settings/Preferences.
- Open Safari
- Click on Safari in the menu at the top of the screen.
- Click on Settings or Preferences (depending on the version of macOS you are running).
- Go to the Privacy tab.
- Click on Manage Website Data…
- Choose Remove All or select websites individually to remove.
After the data is loaded you’ll probably see a long list of websites. You can choose to Remove All or just select individual websites you want to remove from this list. If you want to select a number of different sites you can click on one and then press and hold the Command key to select a second, third or fourth and so on. We recommend that you don’t select hundreds this way – it’s better to delete in batches just in case you have to start over.
If you would prefer to select all and then deselect the ones you want to keep you can do so. Use Command + A to select all, then press and hold Command while clicking on any website you are happy to keep in this list. Just click Remove afterwards, not Done, as that will just undo all your hard work.
There’s a search field you can use to track down individual sites.
Bear in mind that deleting cookies might remove autocompleted login usernames and passwords for sites, and will almost certainly log you out of that site if you’ve configured it to automatically log in each time you visit.
How to clear Safari cache
The hidden Safari Developer menu can be used to clear just the cache, leaving cookies and the browser history in place. This is a very useful diagnostic step to take before removing those two items if a website behaves badly.
If you just want to clear all your cache you can do so by following these steps:
- Open Safari.
- Click on Safari in menu bar at top of screen.
- Click on Settings/Preferences (depending on the version of macOS you are running).
- Click on the Advanced tab.
- Check the box beside Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar.
- Now there will be a new Develop tab in the menu at the top of your screen. Click on this.
- Click on Empty Caches.
Alternatively click on Option/Alt + Command + E.
Close any open Safari windows and select Empty Caches on the Develop menu. Then click File > New Window to start Safari with a clean cache.
How to remove autocomplete data from AutoFill
Safari’s AutoFill tool can fill in username and password details on websites as well as credit card details and other elements like your address and email details.
This can be really useful, but it can also be annoying if the data it fills in is incorrect or out of context. It’s also a problem when AutoFill helpfully enters old or incorrect passwords or emails and addresses.
You can change this data, or delete it by following these steps:
- Open Safari.
- Click on Safari.
- Click on Settings/Preferences.
- Choose the AutoFill tab.
- Here you can edit contact information, usernames and passwords, credit cards and other data. Click on Edit beside the category you want access to.
- You’ll need to enter your password or use Touch ID to gain access.
Delete incorrect data: If you are finding that Safari is autofilling incorrect data about you–your address, for example–click Edit beside Using information from my contacts. This will open up your Contacts app. Your card will be at the top or under My Card. You can add and amend data about you here.
Delete incorrect passwords and site logins: If you wanted to delete incorrect passwords, for example, you can just click on the Passwords tab. If you know which password you want to remove search for the website or service and then find the older password option (if there is more than one) and select it and then click on the – below the column to remove it. You can then select Delete Password. If that means there is no password saved for that website, you can then recreate the entry for the site by clicking the Add button. You’ll first need to provide the URL of the site (that is, something like https://facebook.com), and then type the username and password alongside (hit the Tab key to move from field to field).
See: How to autofill passwords, bank cards, names and addresses for more.
Delete logins and passwords system-wide
Pruning site logins can also be done via the Keychain Access app, which you’ll find in the Utilities folder of the Applications list in Finder, although you should be very careful using this app because it pretty much controls the entire security operation of your Mac! However, by removing errant username and password entries here you’ll stop virtually all of your Mac apps using them, and not just Safari.
Just type the name of the site into the Search field, and look in the list of results for entries of the kind Web Form Password. Right-click the entry and select Delete.
If you want to delete your Chrome or Firefox cache, cookies or browsing history read: How to delete your Mac browsing history. For alternative web browsers take a look at: Best web browser for Mac.