What is cache partition on Android how to wipe it clean?

Android enthusiasts who like to update ROM on their android phones must have come across this term cache partition. A lot of power users simply believe that this particular cache partition serves as storage for temporary files. The answer is partially true. However, this isn’t the case with the application based temporary files. Furthermore, the concept of cache partition is anachronistic because modern android versions don’t use this mechanism anymore.

Understand Android cache partition

Prior to Android Nougat (Android 7.0), the older Android versions used cache partition. System update files were stored here before the application of a new update. Don’t confuse the cache partition with app data partition which is found mostly in the /data/app directory. This directory like cache partition is inaccessible while using the device.

In most devices, you are going to find cache partition because the new update system requires storage and active/dormant partitions for it to work seamlessly. Therefore, cache partition is still relevant as different manufacturers are still using it for shipping low-end to high-end devices.

Additionally cache partition may also contain downloads from the Play store, error logs or installation logs of system updates/recovery. Another directory lost+found is present inside cache partition which contains unfinished files, which are in transaction, while you remove your SD card accidentally.

Perfect time to wipe this partition

As it’s established that the cache partition is used during an update process, therefore, you should clean it before applying any update so that old files are not used during the process. It’s important for those who have root access on their Android. Why? Because they frequently try new ROMs and don’t want their data to be deleted, therefore the bare minimum which they can do is to clean cache partition and dalvik cache.

Those smartphones which don’t have a seamless update feature still use cache partition. It’s a separate partition and cleaning it will not provide you any additional space in your day to day usage. However, it still can provide you performance improvements based on the structure of your cache partition. So in case, if your phone is malfunctioning for some reason then a good place to start is to wipe cache partition, since it’s the place where your Android keeps a few of its temporary files for later usage.

Method to Wipe Android cache partition

You need to enter recovery mode of your phone in order to clean cache partition. It involves turning on your smartphone with a certain set of button combinations. Every phone has a different button combination, however most common combination is simultaneously pressing Volume Up + Volume Down + Power button. For other smartphones, it can be just starting your phone by pressing Volume Up + Power or Volume Down + Power.

Once your phone boots into Recovery Mode, you have to navigate between options using volume buttons. There you’ll come across Wipe Cache Partition, select it by pressing the Power/Wake Up button. That’s it, the Recovery will wipe the cache partition. After that, select Reboot.

Wipe Cache Partition on Android
A typical Samsung phone in its recovery mode. | Credits: Vampishbowl


If you wipe cache partition on your Android smartphone then you might feel some performance improvement, however it is not going to delete your app cache and important file data. Therefore, it’s safe to remove this cache after updating your Android phone, before application of an update and in the scenario when your Android phone is slowing down. Further details about this partition are model specific.