Smart cookies: how to clear your cookies and cache

28 December 2020
If your computer systems aren't running as smoothly as you would like, it doesn't necessarily mean there's an issue with your software or hardware. The solution could be as simple as clearing your cookies and cache.

Chances are, you've heard the terms "cookies" and "cache" before. A cookie is a small text file, or tracking tool, placed on your computer or mobile device when visiting some websites. Most online software and accounting service providers use a few different types of cookies, including persistent cookies (ones that remain on your hard drive for long periods, ie, items in your shopping cart) or session ID cookies (which expire when you close your browser).

Third-party cookies are cookies that are stored under a different domain than you are currently visiting. They are used to track users between websites and display more relevant content – that’s why ads of the holiday you are planning keep popping up in your Facebook feed.

A cache, on the other hand, is a special storage space for temporary files to make your device or browser run more efficiently. For example, when opening an app or a website for the first time, a cache banks files, images and other data on your device so it’s quicker to load on future visits.

Why do we need cookies and cache?

They’re essential for enhancing and personalising your experience across the online services, platforms and websites you use. They also perform analytics and deliver content and marketing that’s relevant to you.

Cookies are completely in your control – you can either accept or reject cookies in your browser settings. Rejecting the cookies will most likely mean the website doesn’t work as it should but accepting cookies can sometimes pose problems, too.

At Equation, we often find that when clients are having unexplainable issues with their devices or systems – such as stalling and circling, receiving error messages (particularly Error 500 or Error 404), not seeing a particular button or not being able to use a certain function – it could be down to their cookies and cache.

That’s why clearing the cookies and cache on your device regularly is important for making your online business systems work better. Here’s how to clear the cookies and cache of each browser:

Google Chrome
Google Chrome
  1. Click the icon, click More Tools, and then click Clear browsing data. The Clear browsing data dialogue appears.
  2. Click the Basic tab.
  3. In the Time range list box, select the length of time to clear data. To clear the entire cache, select All time.
  4. To clear the cookies, select the Cookies and other site data check box.
  5. To clear the cache, select the Cached images and files check box.
  6. Click Clear data.
Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge
  1. Click the  icon, and then click Settings.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, click Choose what to clear.
  3. To clear the cookies, select the Cookies and saved website data check box.
  4. To clear the cache, select the Cached data and files check box.
  5. Click Clear.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Microsoft Internet Explorer
  1. To access the Delete Browsing History dialogue:
    • If you are using Internet Explorer 8, on the Tools menu, click Delete Browsing History.
    • If you are using Internet Explorer 9 or 10, click the  icon, click Safety, and then click Delete browsing history.
  2. Clear the Preserve Favourites website data check box.
  3. To clear the cache, select the Temporary Internet files check box.
  4. To clear the cookies, select the Cookies check box.
  5. Click Delete.
Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox
  1. On the History menu, click Clear Recent History. The Clear All History dialogue appears.
  2. In the Time range to clear list box, select the length of time to clear data. To clear the entire cache, select Everything.
  3. To clear the cache, under History, select the Cache check box.
  4. To clear the cookies, under History, select the Cookies check box.
  5. Click Clear Now.
  1. In the menu bar (top left of your screen) click History.
  2. At the bottom of the menu, choose Clear History.
  3. Use the drop-down menu to pick what timeframe you want to clear history and cookies from Safari.
  4. Click Clear History.
Have a go at clearing your cookies and cache to see if it improves the day-to-day running of your business and accounting software and systems including Xero, WorkflowMax and Unleashed, as well as your online browsing. If not, contact us - we're here to help.
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