Clear app data & Clear cache data – The difference

Team AndroGuru
April 29, 2016
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Clear app data and clear cache data are two of the most commonly used solutions for us to improve the performance of an app or software problem. Let us take a look at the difference between the two and what is the effect they can have on your apps and smartphone.

If you have an Android device, then you already know that the first advice you will get if you face an app or software problem with your smartphone is to ‘clear the app data’ or ‘clear the app cache’. More often than not these two solutions are thought to be the magical cures for your smartphones, but let me tell you that these seemingly similar operations are quite different. This write up is for all of you who are still confused about the difference between clear app cache and clear app data. And as I always say, you can thank me later.

Clearing the app Cache – What does it mean?

Now if you are a real tech junkie and love your smartphone as much as I do then I am sure you will know that cache is a temporary storage area of a device. This area retains a certain kind of data and its main function is to help your device operates quickly and smoothly while boosting up the speed. The cache also reduces how much data is processed and consumed.

The one quick fix for a slow working phone for all of us is to restart it. But tell me have you noticed that when you first open your camera app, how slow it is, while each subsequent attempt is quicker. The increase in speed is all thanks to the cached data. Similarly, you will notice that a website is faster to load when you visit it a second time. All this is because of the fact that files such as images have been stored in the cache previously.

Your smartphone is called smart for a reason and most of the time you do not need to manage cached data manually – Android is more than capable of doing this on its own. However, there are times when you may have to intervene manually, for example, if an app starts to misbehave or stops working.  Go to Apps menu, navigate to the All tab for storing data

stops-working

Once you clean the cached data of an app, you also clear the temporary files that are placed there. Most of the time this simple solution proves to be quite effective, but let me make it clear that it does not guarantee a better performance.

Clearing app data – What does it entail?

Now this is a step that is a bit drastic (that is the best word I could think of). Cache clearing is a process that can be performed with little risk to app settings as well as preferences and save states, however, when you clear app data you will delete or remove your app settings and save states.

When you clear data then you are resetting an app to its default state, which when put in simple terms mean that your app will now act the way it did when it was first downloaded and installed. Let me explain this to you with an example, you have your favourite fitness app and you make changes to the settings like modifying the length of exercises or changing the sound settings. Now when you clear the cache, your saved settings will not be affected but when you Clear your stored data, then in all likelihood your saved settings will be cleared as well.

delete-or-remove -your-app-settings

Go to Apps menu, tap on any app to check its vital statistics

When to use these options?

There certain situations where you may wish to clear cache or app data. The most common of these is when you want to save storage space. There are certain apps that store gigabytes of data that is of no use to you (mostly podcast apps do that). This is one situation where you will need to clear their data.

Another very common situation is when you need to reset an app to a default state when it becomes problematic or disruptive.

Conclusion

When it comes to the performance of your Android Device, there is no ‘better’ or ‘worse’ option to clear cache and clear app data. Both these options have their own purpose, but the initial step towards fixing a problem with an app should be clearing cache (it is less intrusive). When this fails or when you are looking to free up larger volumes of storage space, then clear the data (do not forget that anything stored or saved in the app will be removed)

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