OSX – Clear your caches!

As you’ll know from my previous post, I’m a little frustrated with Lion’s apparent sluggishness. One of the problems with an in-place upgrade is that you are often left with cruft from your previous OS, settings that no longer work or extraneous files you really don’t need. After clearing out my cache I’ve noticed a marked improvement in Lion’s responsiveness. It’s very easy to do too, so here goes.

  1. Open a finder window and select “Go to Folder” in the Go menu
  2. Type in ~/Library/Caches
  3. This is optional, but you can highlight & copy everything to a different folder in case anything goes wrong.
  4. Highlight everything and press CMD and Backspace
  5. Restart your machine

Another cache worth clearing out every once in a while can be found at /Library/Caches (note the lack of “~” which acts as a shortcut to your home folder).

I must thank Twitter contact Mark Groves for the Cache-clearing suggestion. He did recommend using an app for it, but it can be done manually too.
Repairing your permissions is also a good idea.


I’ve been noticing some people arriving here using the search term “unable to clear caches”. If this is you I should point out that once you have sent your cache files to the recycle bin, you may or may not be able to empty your recycle bin straight away. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t, but a quick reboot will normally sort that out.

There’s always a chance that one of the files you have just deleted was still in memory somewhere and OSX couldn’t release it. A reboot invariably sorts that out.

It also goes without saying that you are not the administrator on your machine, OSX is unlikely to let you delete your cache files, although I’ve not tested that myself.

Update 2

Now that Mountain Lion has arrived, it’s worth noting that the same process should work.  The Cache folders are in the same location as before and clearing them out periodically will have the same effect.

13 thoughts on “OSX – Clear your caches!

  1. Pingback: OSX Lion – After One Week « Techbeast.net

  2. This article is very useful. I have used my Mac for years and did not notice my disk is consuming by the useless files. This article helped me much. I also found another free cleanup software MacCleaning. It is free and effective.

  3. Pingback: Mac OS X do Snow para o Lion… lentidão | Erko Bridee

  4. Pingback: OSX Routine Maintenance --Techbeast.netTechbeast.net

  5. Because I’m an idiot I had a hard time Holding the C,M,D keys then at a complete loss when looking for the “Backspace” key that doesn’t exist on my imac -lol! SO, I figured out that the CMD=Command Key, and the Backspace=Delete Key! Thanks for the Article!

  6. Hey Gavin, trying to delete my imovie cache, but it says that osx will not release it, it is in use. I am running lion, but it won’t let me delete. Is it because I OSX might be using it?

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