Cache or App Data: Which One to Clear on Android and When?

You might have noticed that certain Android apps slow down considerably after a period of time. While it can be for a number of things, the usual culprit is the amount of data the app has stored. Usually, the apps store some of the data not only to give us a seamless experience but also to save up on bandwidth and time.

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This stored data often helps in improving the app experience – you don’t have to wait for the extra minutes it takes to load completely. But as a downside, it also increases the load on the phone memory. In some cases, it may result in sluggish app performance or it can cause the app to behave erratically.

So what do we do to improve the app performance? While few say clearing the cache will resolve the issue, others suggest clearing the app data.

But without actually knowing the differences, isn’t it a big risk to take?

So, let’s do a quick roundup of the two – clear app data and clear cache – so that you have the right solution at your fingertips.

What is App Cache?

Whenever you use a certain app, it downloads and stores some files for later use. This files might be anything ranging from pictures to the app config files. While these are useful to save up on time and data (as it prevents the app from doing the redundant things) over time it builds up and might eat into the phone’s memory.

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This in longer run results in slower app performance and overall, a slow phone.

If the cache buildup amount is huge you can go for a clearing up the cache.

After all, who needs that old picture that Facebook has cached.

What is App Data?

Things become a bit serious when it comes to app data. It refers to all the settings, preferences, account info, etc. that the app has saved. For example, maps or songs that you have saved for offline usage.

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Clearing out the app data deletes the entire account history.

It roughly translates into the app being reset i.e. it’s as good as a newly installed app.

For example, my application manager shows Wynk Music has around 3.9 GB in app data but only 69 MB in cache (Wynk Music is an online music streaming app and in your case, it could be Spotify or another such service).

That would translate that the app has taken approximate 3+ GB for offline song storage and 69 MB can be anything temporary, say an album cover.

So, if I clear the cache, it would only delete the temporary files, which would load again once I open the app. But if I clear the app data, it would wipe out all the offline songs.

So, Which One To Delete…Or Should We Delete At All?

Now that we stand clear on the differences, here comes the main question… do we need to clear out the cache or the data?

The cache should be cleared if the app slows down drastically or is not loading the data as expected. For example, I am a voracious Pinterest user, and predictably the cache size was huge. It used to take forever to refresh, so a manual cleanup of the cache made things smoother.

The app data should be cleared only if the app is behaving unpredictably. It should be done as a last resort, if and only if clearing the cache doesn’t do the trick.


So the next time you end up irritated because the app isn’t behaving as expected, it’s a good thing to know where to look for the culprit! Do let us know your feedbacks through the comment section.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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