Is it safe to delete the file Caches, in the Library of the Mac OS X Hard Drive?

It's a pretty big file, 3.56 GB, Caches reminds me of logs i don't need or browser cookies.

Is it safe to delete the folder "Caches"?enter image description here


6 Answers 6


It's generally safe, though a little dangerous depending, to do it but often not worth the effort.

The caches in /System/Library/Caches are generally small and useful, the ones in /Library/Caches are less system caches and much more readily cleared.

If you have a look in ~/Library/Caches you will find a bunch of applications have a cache in there, none of them particularly large though dropbox sometimes has a fair sized cache. This folder can run quite large just because so many apps cache something in there.

If the cache /Library/Caches folder is over 3Gb then you have something that is caching quite a lot. On the three machines I just checked none had a /Library/Caches folder over .75 Gb so I'd go right ahead and remove some of it.

Don't worry about age, I'd worry about size.

In the terminal run the following to sort all of the files in that directory by size (ascending):

du -sh /Library/Caches/* | sort -h

Of course the best way to clear the caches is to install AppleJack and do it with that in single user mode. Doing it with the System fully up can be a little dangerous. If you do it then I'd reboot immediately afterwards.

  • 7
    Note that "sort -n" doesn't play well with the "human readable" option (-h) in du. See for example, serverfault.com/questions/62411/…
    – Aky
    May 31, 2014 at 18:31
  • 5
    I recommend that instead of using -h you use -m—it's much easier to read while still working with sort
    – 0942v8653
    Nov 17, 2014 at 2:59
  • 9
    Or brew install coreutils and use gsort -h instead of sort -n :)
    – wikp
    Nov 27, 2015 at 8:48
  • 1
    In macOS, it is now simple to graphically determine which files/folders are the largest using the System Information app. After opening the app, go to Window > Storage Management, then navigate in the left column to Documents, and then select the tab that says File Browser. This will show your entire user folder's contents sorted by largest file size.
    – jsejcksn
    Nov 2, 2016 at 22:17
  • 2
    @jsejcksn Not really, it just groups everything under "System". Jul 12, 2018 at 6:18

Yes, it is safe. That said, don't just delete all the contents of your cache folder without reason.

It can be beneficial to clear out those taking up the significant space in your ~/Library/Caches/ if you need to free some up, but you really shouldn't clear any contents of your /System/Caches unless there is a problem. As would be expected, you will find that the programs you access most often have the largest cache size.

There's a misconception that purging your caches regularly constitutes "maintenance," optimization, etc of your machine, but that's a fallacy; Always remember that caches improve the performance of your machine, and shouldn't be cleaned out regularly or blindly without a specific reason.

Really, the only two reasons to clear out a cache are 1) space considerations (it’s simply growing too large) or 2) You're troubleshooting a problem.


Have no fear, delete caches but I prefer to do it either via Single-User mode or I use https://www.titanium-software.fr/en/onyx.html Check Onyx out as it does some good maintenance scripts as well.


Yes it is safe to delete the contents of that folder.

I usually reboot right after just to be sure but that is temporary file storage and the contents (not the folder itself) can be deleted safely


Yes. However you may want to look inside the folder and selectively delete old caches rather then just dumping the whole folder.


I would not blindly delete all.

If you want to do a safe clean up, use the browser tools for history and cookie clean up.

My cache folder is 3.7 gig, and it does contains some important files, so I would not mess with it.

For Safari use the Reset Safari function and select your choices.

enter image description here

FYI, in my case the app Garmin (European GPS maps) was using >2gig in cache. Once I was done with it, I deleted it and now back to .7 gig. In summary, cleaning cache is usually best done by using the respective browser's tools, to delete all the junk accumulated from the web. If you delete something important by mistake that way, well go on the web and get it again.

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