How to Clear Cookies and Cache in Chrome

Chrome stores small files called cookies on your computer for a variety of reasons, one of which is to keep you logged in to your favorite websites. The browser also stores images and other files—called the cache—to make pages load faster when you revisit them.

Unfortunately, websites commonly use cookies to track your browsing habits and target ads to you. In some situations, cookies can even be stolen or faked and provide a way for a hacker to get into your online accounts. You can clear the cookies in Chrome to delete them from your computer and prevent them from being used in those ways.

The cached files used by Chrome are often beneficial, too, much like cookies. However, the Chrome cache can become corrupted and cause page loading issues. They can also take up plenty of space on your hard drive, which can affect Chrome’s performance and prevent you from using your hard drive for other things like music and video downloads.

Fortunately, Chrome makes it very easy to remove cached files and delete cookies. Through just a few clicks in the settings, you can start removing these files on your own schedule in just a minute or two, or even faster once you get the hang of it.

1. Open Chrome’s Settings

The area in Chrome where you can clear the cache and delete cookies is located in the settings.

  1. Click or tap the three-button menu on the upper right-hand side of Chrome.
  2. Choose Settings from the menu.

2. Show Advanced Settings

Chrome has lots of settings, and the cookies and cache settings are not in the primary area shown when you launch Chrome’s settings.

To find them, scroll to the very bottom of the page and click the Advanced link to see even more settings appear below it.

3. Decide How Much to Delete

There are a couple ways to clear the cache and cookies in Chrome. One method will delete all of the cookies and cache, while the other lets you pick which cookies to keep and which to remove.

  1. Locate the Privacy and security section of the settings.
  2. Decide whether to remove all cookies or just some of them.
    • To delete all cookies, start by clicking/tapping Clear browsing data at the bottom of that section. Continue with List item 4 below.
    • To delete some cookies but keep others, choose Content settings and then skip down to List item 5.

4. Clear Everything

If you’re deleting every cookie and cached image/file in Chrome, you can pick how far back to remove them or you can delete everything Chrome has stored.

  1. Open the Advanced tab.
  2. Choose an option from the Time range drop-down menu.
    1. To remove everything, pick All time, or pick anywhere from Last hour to Last 4 weeks to keep some of the more recent cookies and other data.
  3. Put a check in the box next to Cookies and other site data, and one next to Cached images and files.
  4. Choose CLEAR DATA to delete the Chrome cache and cookies.

Tip: Similar to clearing the cache and cookies in other browsers, Chrome lets you jump right to these settings through a keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+Del in Windows and Command+Shift+Del in macOS.

5. Delete Certain Cookies Only

Chrome stores cookies for each site individually, and you have full control over which ones get deleted.

  1. From the Content settings screen, click/tap Cookies at the top.
  2. Select the See all cookies and site data option.
    1. A full list of every website storing cookies through Chrome is listed.
  3. Search or scroll through the list to find the website that’s storing cookies you want to remove.
  4. Click the trash icon next to any website to remove that site’s cookies and site data.
    1. To remove all the cookies and data from all the sites listed, click REMOVE ALL at the top of the page.
    2. You can also delete things in bulk through a search. Search for something and then click REMOVE ALL SHOWN to delete those cookies.

Tip: After step 1, notice the Keep local data only until you quit your browser option. If you enable it, Chrome will automatically delete this information each time you close out of the browser, saving you from having to repeat these steps often.

Also on this settings page is a way to block cookies for certain sites, allow cookies for certain sites, and auto-clear cookies each time you exit a particular website.

by Marziah Karch