How to Clear Cache on Apple TV [Step-by-Step]

“Cache” refers to a storage mechanism software applications and web browsers use to store temporary data and files for quick retrieval. Designed to improve the app/site performance, cache reduces the need to re-download or re-fetch resources from the web or your device’s storage, thereby saving time and bandwidth.

Like your mobile device and computer, your Apple TV also stores cache to ensure you have quick access to your favorite streaming apps and content. Consider it as a reserved storage space apps use to keep things they might need again, like thumbnails, catalogs, videos, log-in details, or other stuff.

Thanks to cache, Apple TV apps load faster because they don’t have to fetch everything from the web every time you use them. Sometimes, you can still use parts of apps even if you’re not connected to the internet because the app already saved what it needs.

It’s like keeping your favorite snacks in a drawer so you can quickly grab them when you’re hungry instead of going to the store every time.

However, caches can accumulate and occupy gigabytes of disk space on your Apple TV over time, especially if you use many apps regularly. Clearing the cache helps you reclaim some of that space, which can be essential if your device is low on storage.

Other times, cached app data can become corrupted or outdated, leading to performance problems, glitches, and crashes. Clearing it can resolve these issues by forcing the app to fetch fresh data and create new cache dumps.

As a best practice, you should selectively clear cache on Apple TV when encountering specific issues with TVOS apps or needing to free up device storage. Here’s how you do it.

How to Clear Cache on Apple TV?

clear cache on apple tv

Clearing the cache on an Apple TV isn’t as straightforward as on an Android TV, Fire TV, or even a smartphone or computer web browser. Apple TV manages its cache automatically, and users typically don’t have direct control over it.

However, if you’re experiencing slowdowns on your Apple TV HD/4K or issues with a particular streaming app or game, you can try the following steps:

Restart Your Apple TV

In most cases, restarting your Apple TV can clear the temporary system cache and resolve minor issues. Simply press and hold the Back (or Menu if you have a 1st-gen Siri Remote) and TV buttons simultaneously on the remote until the Apple TV status LED flashes rapidly. It’ll shut down and promptly boot back into tvOS again.

Alternatively, navigate to the Settings app on your Apple TV, then System, and select Restart. You may also unplug the Apple TV from the outlet and wait 5-10 seconds before reconnecting it to initiate a cold reboot.

Offload Unused Apps

Your Apple TV can free up storage by “offloading” apps you rarely use without deleting the app data. It’s like temporarily uninstalling them, and when you need an offloaded app, tvOS will reinstall it and restore the app data. It’s great if you don’t want apps you don’t frequently visit to accumulate cache on your device.

  • Visit Settings from your Apple TV Home Screen.
  • Go to the Apps section and enable Offload Unused Apps.

With this turned on, tvOS will intelligently offload rarely-used apps when your Apple TV runs low on disk space. You may notice that some app icons on your Home Screen are slightly greyed out, indicating they have been offloaded. One click on the app will re-download it and restore its data.

You can also manually offload an app by highlighting it, pressing and holding the touch surface or clickpad center, choosing Delete App, and then Offload.

Delete and Reinstall Apps

If you suspect an app’s cache is causing problems, you can try deleting it first and then reinstalling it on your Apple TV. Unlike offloading an app, this will remove the app and its associated cache and data. To do this:

  • On your Apple TV Home Screen, highlight the problematic app you wish to delete.
  • Select Delete App in the pop-up menu, followed by Delete.

For a better overview of how much storage space a particular app is occupying, go to your Apple TV Settings and navigate to General > Manage Storage. In the same menu, you can select the Bin icon for any app on the list to delete it.

Of course, getting those apps back on your Apple TV is similarly straightforward. That includes any purchased app linked to your Apple ID. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  • Go to the App Store from the Home Screen.
  • Navigate to the Purchased For those using Family Sharing, you can choose to see the purchases of a linked family member.
  • Next, select “Not on This TV” at the top, then find and choose the app to reinstall.
  • Finally, hit the Download (cloud symbol) button and wait for the app to re-download on your Apple TV.

One drawback to this workaround for clearing the cache is the app will need to fetch data from the web and rebuild the cache, resulting in slightly slower load times for the first couple of times you use them after the reinstallation. Furthermore, some apps may require you to sign in again or reconfigure settings, as deleting them also wipes cached login details and user preferences.

Recommended Reading: Get Crunchyroll on Apple TV

Perform a Factory Reset

This is a more drastic step, and you should do it only if you’re experiencing significant issues with your Apple TV due to low disk space. A factory reset will erase all data on your Apple TV, including installed apps, all the cache, and settings, essentially restoring it to its original, “out-of-the-box” state. Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to your Apple TV Settings, scroll down and select System, then Reset.

Perform a Factory Reset

  • You’ll see two options: Reset, the fastest way to restore your Apple TV to its factory state, and Reset and Update, which is the same as the former but also installs tvOS updates over the internet. Choose the option that suits your needs.

Reset and Update

  • You might be prompted to verify your Apple ID details to confirm the reset. Make sure you understand that this process will erase all data on the Apple TV.

The Apple TV will reset itself, which may take a few minutes. Keep your Apple TV plugged in until it finishes resetting. After that, you can set it up again as if brand new. You’ll need to go through the initial setup process, which includes choosing your language, connecting to your home Wi-Fi network, and signing in with your Apple ID.

Of course, any free or purchased apps you previously had installed on your Apple TV need to be downloaded from the App Store again. Check out the above workaround for further instructions. Hopefully, any problems you were experiencing on your Apple TV before the factory reset due to low storage space should no longer be present.

Read also: Get Discovery Plus on Apple TV

Bottom Line

Once again, it’s important to note that Apple has designed the Apple TV to be a no-frills streaming box, so it intelligently manages its system and app caches in the background, sparing users to manually clear cache data routinely. The device does its best to ensure a smooth and efficient user experience.

Regardless, our guide to clearing cache on Apple TV explores some alternative approaches to address performance regression or storage concerns. For further questions or assistance, we strongly recommend consulting the official Apple Support resources for the most up-to-date information and guidance.

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