How To: Free Up Space by Deleting Apps' Cache Files

Posted by Carter Dotson on June 10th, 2013

Ever notice that you’re running out of free space, and apps like Instagram, Spotify, and Vine are taking up a lot more space than they should be? Some apps like these take up over 500 MB of space for cached data, which can be a killer given the limited amount of storage space on most devices. As well, they don't engage in a best practice of making it possible in the app itself to delete cached space. When trying to install a large app, this can be a real problem.

It's time to take the power back, and your device's free space. I’m going to show you two ways to clear up this cached space: the brute force way, and the way that’s a bit more clever.

Method number one: Just delete and reinstall the app

This will delete all the data for the app. It’s easy enough. The downside? You have to redownload and reinstall the app, not to mention needing to login again. Any special preferences will be gone too. This is a solution. It's just not a very good one.

Method number two: delete the cache files using i-FunBox

The cache files stored by apps can be accessed by users with a little bit of savvy. Download an app like i-FunBox to access your device. Plug it in to your computer. Launch i-FunBox. Go to the “Applications” section of your device, and find the app whose cache data you want to delete.

Find the folder called Caches in the Library folder. Right-click on it and delete it.

This should work for most apps. See the results in the Usage section of Settings -> General:

See, with Spotify, deleting the Caches folder cleared up much of my recent cache usage, with the tracks that I saved for offline listening still in the app. You will notice that after using the app again, the Caches folder will be recreated, so this is non-destructive.

Some apps may use multiple or non-standard folders. The best way to discover where this cached data is hiding is to select all the files, copy them to your computer, and then poke through folders’ file sizes to see where large chunks of data are hiding. Then you can delete those folders safely.

In general, just deleting cached data is safe, because by definition it’s just temporary. As long as you don’t delete anything in the Preferences folder, you shouldn’t lose anything important. Feel free to back it up to be safe.

Not that you may need to do this whenever you need to free up some space as the cached data will add back up as you use the apps. Still, if you’re trying to install a large app, this can free up space without needing to delete apps themselves. So go ahead, install Infinity Blade II and keep it there!