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June 23, 2023updated 21 Jul 2023 3:24pm

What is cache data?

Will clearing cache data negatively impact a device?

By Tech Monitor Staff

A cache, or cache data, is a component that stores information so that future requests for that same information can be served faster. It is, as the name suggests, data which is saved by a computer when visiting a website.

Cache data can be in the form of images, scripts, files and code and its main aim is to reduce the time a user needs to get the information requested. All electronic devices, from computers to hard disk drives, contain a fraction of storage for cached data.

Closeup of Apple iPhone official browser Safari remove history, cookies and cache data.
Cache data’s aim is to make browsing and finding information quicker / Image: Shutterstock

When it comes to the importance of cache data, it is not fundamental. Indeed, it is considered only temporary storage, and its only aim is to improve the browsing and user experience.

How does cache data work?

When visiting a web page for the first time, usually, the loading time is slightly longer than the second time. This is due to the device not having any cache data for that website stored anywhere. When saving cache data, first of all, a device must have enough space for it.

In a priority list, also called hierarchy, cache memory storage is the second most important element in a computer or device after the CPU. There are three levels of cache memory: L1, which is the primary level of cache within the microprocessing chip, L2 and L3, which are the secondary levels and work slightly slower than L1.

Every time a website is visited, a computer pulls out information from it and stores it in the cache, which makes the browsing experience substantially quicker. If the user is in an area with unstable internet, cache data will sometimes ensure that that is not an obstacle.

Should I delete cache data?

Deleting cache data is not dangerous, and it does not compromise the other sections of a device’s storage. Nothing happens if it is not deleted, however, in some cases, the computer’s memory might be drained from cache data. In that case, the best option is to clear it.

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Clearing it is not a permanent solution anyway, since new web pages will be opened and new files will be saved, creating new cache data. Rather than erasing cache data, another option to clear storage is to delete more permanent files such as text messages, images or videos, as well as to look at other options like cloud-based platforms.

Read more: Your AI coding assistant is a hot mess

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