It has happened to all of us. We buy our brand new devices and use them at full speed the first few months. Then you start noticing your gadgets start running slower after a while. What is going on?
There are plenty of explanations for this phenomena, but we are not focusing on that today. We are focusing on the solution. Or rather, one specific solution – deleting your cache memory.
Many tutorials and tech-savvy friends will tell you that one of the ways to keep your device running as smooth as the first day you turned it on is to wipe the cache. It’s a very popular tip, but is it true? Will wiping your cache actually speed up your computing devices, whether they are smartphones, tablets or computers?
The answer is much more complex than one would hope. It will… but it won’t. To be honest, the idea that clearing your cache helps your device’s performance is a misconception. In fact, it will likely make your device slower!
Cache memory and its benefits
Before you go nuts telling people they have been lying to you, let’s step back and try to understand cache (for those of you who don’t). We’ll use the browser as an example, as it is one of the main conglomerators of cache data.
When you are browsing around, you are going through social networks, banking websites, your email, MobileGeeks.com and more. You are likely visiting the same websites most of the time, so why would you have to load everything within a website every single time you access it? This is where cache memory comes into play.
Your browser will automatically download a lot of the content within websites. This includes images, text, icons and other bits of data. The purpose is to shorten load times and save data consumption the next time you access said website. Instead of reloading the whole thing again, it just pulls up the saved information and loads whatever may be new.
This also works with other types of cache, including that which comes from apps and other processes. Cache is there to make your device faster. By clearing it, you are pretty much forcing your device to load everything all over again, actually making your experience slower for a while.
Is deleting your cache a bad thing, then?
Now this is where it gets a bit tricky. Deleting your cache is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s good, just as long as you are not doing it all the time. Some people set cache-clearing applications to delete cache on a regular basis. Some multiple times a day. You need to understand that your experience will be slower if you do this.
So, when is it ok to delete your cache? I do it about once a month just to keep things tidy. I will go through slightly longer load times, and re-accustoming my experience for a day or two and then the phone will actually be running better.
For starters, too much cache can be bad. It’s taking up precious space from your internal storage, and if you happen to be limited in storage this could also take a toll on performance. Especially if you use an HDD, which has moving parts and the reader needs to search for endless bits of data all over the place.
In addition, cache can become corrupted. And if you have a lot of it, there will be more chances of this happening. Corrupted cache data can slow down your devices and even cause software to fail.
Some people worry a lot about privacy and security. If you really want to leave no trace of what is going on in your device, then deleting the cache memory makes total sense.
While in some circumstances it may help, deleting your cache hardly does anything to your experience. Your cache will be clean for a minute. Then you will experience slower loading times for a while and your cache memory will recover itself after you have used all your apps for a day or two.
After these couple days, you will realize improvements are nearly unnoticeable (unless you were running out of space or had corrupted cache files).
The right advice would be to find a balance. Delete your cache from time to time. A fresh start is always healthy! Just don’t go deleting your cache memory all the time. It’s like the whole killing apps phenomena we were all discussing a few years ago – it just doesn’t help. Nothing but a misconception.
And now that my article will live in your devices for a while, I wish you happy caching!