Browsers store pages you visit in the browser cache and use it to redisplay them quickly. However, when changes are made to a website, the browser cache may prevent you from seeing the changes immediately. To ensure you see the most up-to-date page version, you must perform a hard refresh, also known as a force refresh. Or, you can clear your browser’s history and cache partially or entirely.
Below are instructions for both.
How to Force Refresh a Single Page (Desktop and Laptop)
Fortunately, there are convenient ways to force refresh pages. Here are the basic steps for the most popular browsers:
- SHIFT – REFRESH or Ctrl – REFRESH (Internet Explorer, Edge): All browsers have a refresh button at or near the address bar. The refresh button alone will not necessarily request the page from the server. Hold down the shift key while pressing the refresh button to force the page to refresh from the server. If you’re in Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge, use the Ctrl key to do the same thing.
- Ctrl-F5 (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Internet Explorer, Edge) will skip the cache and ask the server for the page. To do the same thing on Mac Safari, press Option (⌥) and Command (⌘) together, press the E key, then refresh the page with the refresh button.
How to Clear All or Part of Browser Cache (Desktop and Laptops)
To clear all or selected parts of browsing history, cached data, and cookies, follow the steps below for the browser you’re using:
Windows: CTRL-SHIFT-DELETE or Mac: CMD (⌘) -SHIFT-DELETE, then fill in values in the popup as required. Works on the Chrome intro screen and webpages.
Non-shortcut method: Click the three dots to the right of the address bar. Select History, then click History at the top of the flyout, then Clear Browsing Data. Alternately, from the main menu, go to History, then Show Full History, then Clear Browsing Data.
You must be on a webpage; the shortcut does not work on the Firefox intro screen.
CTRL-SHIFT-DELETE or CMD-SHIFT-DELETE, then fill in the values.
Non-shortcut method: From the main menu, go to History, then Clear Browsing Data.
CTRL-SHIFT-DELETE, then choose options.
Without the shortcut, it’s a long path to clear the cache:
Edge: Click the three dots to the right of the address bar, then choose History, then click the three dots on the History popup, then select Clear Browsing Data.
IE: Use the gear icon to the right of the Address bar, choose Safety, then “Delete browsing history…”.
Go to Safari Preferences under Safari in the main menu. Then choose Privacy or type the shortcut CMD (⌘) followed by a comma: “⌘ ,” and select Privacy.
Also worth mentioning: If clearing your cache is inconvenient, try using an alternate browser, one that has not accessed the page before.
Single Page Force Refresh on Mobile Devices
Sorry, that doesn’t exist! You must clear your device’s browser cache. Mobile apps will not be affected by clearing your phone’s browser cache.
How to Clear Browser Cache on Mobile Devices
Go to the Settings app, press Safari and scroll down to “Clear History and Website Data,” then verify.
In the Chrome app, click the three dots at the bottom right of the screen. Next, scroll down and click Clear Browsing Data, then choose options and click Clear Browsing Data at the bottom of the screen.
Tap the More button (three dots) at the top right of the screen. Next, tap History, then Clear Browsing Data. You can also get there from the Chrome Settings menu, Privacy and Security, then Clear browsing data.
Tap the menu icon (three bars, top right in the browser). Next, tap Settings. Go to Privacy and Security from the Settings screen, then Clear Private data. From there, you can select what you want to clear.
Tap the menu icon (three bars, bottom of browser). Next, tap Settings (gear icon). Next, tap Personal browsing data, Delete Browsing Data, choose options, and confirm by pressing Delete Data.