How to delete YouTube cookies and cache on your Mac

Most of us have spent many hours watching videos on YouTube. For me, it's guitar and piano tutorials. For other people, it's gardening or DIY. The point is that YouTube is so huge that there are videos for almost everyone. If you spend a lot of time on YouTube, you may think that it stores lots of data on your Mac and that you need to clear it out from time to time. YouTube doesn't store any more data on your Mac than most other websites, but together all the websites you visit and apps you install store quite a bit of cache files, and it's worth having a clear-out now and again.

Does YouTube cache videos?

No, not anymore. In the early days of YouTube, when video streaming over the web was in its infancy, bandwidth was restricted, and most videos were, at most, standard resolution, caching made sense. It didn’t require a lot of space to store the data, and there was a real benefit to not having to re-stream the video if you went back to an earlier section or wanted to watch the video again.

However, technology has improved, most videos are now HD, and internet connections are much faster. So caching would require much more space for much less benefit.

YouTube now uses a Dynamic Active Streaming over HTTP (DASH) that adapts the stream depending on the user’s bandwidth.

Tip: Watch videos in 4K on your Mac

If you have a Mac with a 4K display, you can watch YouTube videos in 4K. Head over to a channel, such as the HDR Channel, that has 4K videos. Play a video, then click the cog in the toolbar and choose 2160p as the resolution.

How to clear YouTube cookies and cache

To clear temporary files saved on your Mac by YouTube, you’ll need to use the data clearing option in the browser you use to access YouTube.

How to clear YouTube cache and cookies in Safari

  1. Click the Safari menu and choose Preferences.
  2. Choose the Privacy tab and press Manage Website Data.
  3. Locate YouTube in the list of websites, select it, and press Remove.

How to clear YouTube cookies and cache in Chrome

  1. Launch Chrome and paste this into the address bar: chrome://settings/clearBrowserData
  2. Choose a time period from the dropdown menu.
  3. Check the boxes next to the data you want to clear.
  4. Press Clear data.

How to clear YouTube cache and cookies in Firefox

  1. Launch Firefox and paste this into the address bar: about:preferences#privacy
  2. Scroll down to Cookies and Site Data.
  3. Click Manage Data.
  4. In the window that opens, search for YouTube and check the box next to it.
  5. Click Remove Selected.
Tip: Create playlists to make videos easier to find

If you save lots of videos to watch later, creating lists can make it easier to find them. To do that, find a video you want to add to a list, press Save in the toolbar and choose Create a new playlist. Give it a name and press Save. The next time you want to save a video to the list, press Save and choose the list from the menu.

How to clear cache and other data easily

CleanMyMac X - System junk scan complete

Instead of clearing cache data from web browsers individually, you can do it all at once and remove lots of other junk files at the same time using CleanMyMac X’s System Junk tool. It can free up several gigabytes of space on your Mac by getting rid of files you don’t need. Here’s how to use it.

  1. Download and install CleanMyMac X, then launch it.
  2. Choose System Junk in the sidebar and press Run.
  3. Press Review details to see what it has found.
  4. Check the box next to the data you want to delete and press Clean.

YouTube no longer caches videos as you stream them, but like most websites, it stores some data on your Mac. You can remove browser cache files by using the tools in each of the web browsers you use or, more quickly, by using CleanMyMac X’s System Junk tool.

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