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How to clear the cache on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Note4 camera
© nextpit

When you first get it, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a lean, mean, rather big Android machine. But over time and endless app installs and updates, it’s likely to develop a few hiccups. Apps may crash or the system may start to feel sluggish. Who you gonna call? No, not Ghostbusters. You need… cachebusters! As we’ll discover, knowing how to clear the cache on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 can solve shenanigans and terminate tomfoolery.

Note4 camera
Any Queen fans in tonight? All together now: Cache! Aa-aaaah! It's a miracle! / © ANDROIDPIT

What the cache is, and what clearing it does

In nature, a cache is where an animal stores food for later, such as when a squirrel hides the nuts it has collected. In computing, it’s a bit of a device that temporarily stores data. With the Galaxy Note 4 - and with Android generally - there are two kinds of cache: the app cache and the system cache. The app cache is a place where the operating system stores temporary data for each app, and the system cache is where it stores temporary data used by Android itself. Unfortunately, if something goes wrong with the cached data - if it gets corrupted, or if there’s just too much of the stuff - it can cause problems such as freezes and crashes.

How to clear the app cache on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4

If you’re experiencing the same problems again and again with a single app and you’re running the most up-to-date version, there’s a good chance that its cache needs a quick hit with a hammer, virtually speaking. We mean clearing the app cache on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. To do that:

  • Bring down the notification area from the top of the screen and tap on the Settings icon.
  • Move to the Applications section and then look for Application Manager. Tap that and then tap on the name of the app whose cache you want to delete.
  • You should now see a screen with lots of options and information. The bit we’re looking for is the button that says Clear Cache. Make sure you tap this one and not the one that says Clear Data, because that - as you’d expect - clears all of the data for that application, such as user names, passwords, game progress and so on.
AndroidPIT Google Play Store app info
Make sure you choose Clear Cache, not Clear Data. / © ANDROIDPIT

What to do when cache clearing doesn’t fix your app

If you’ve got an app-specific issue and clearing its cache doesn’t work, the next step is to do something that Windows users are well used to: uninstall the app, reboot your device and reinstall it. In many cases, uninstalling the app will also take your data with it, so make sure there isn’t anything in it that you’d be devastated to lose.

How to clear the system cache on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4

In many cases, clearing the app cache for a troublesome app can solve your problems - but what happens if the problem is system-wide rather than app specific? It could be that the System Cache needs a clearout, and you can do that by putting your Note 4 into recovery mode. To do that, you should turn off your Note and then follow these steps:

  • Press Power, Volume Up and Home simultaneously
  • Wait until the phone vibrates and then release Power and Home
  • You should now see the recovery screen. Use the volume buttons to move and select Wipe Cache Partition.
  • Press the Power button to confirm.
  • Select Reboot System Now and again, hit Power to confirm.
  • Wait until your Note 4 reboots and hope it’s fixed the problem.
AndroidPIT Galaxy Note 4 recovery mode clear cache partition
Wiping the cache partition is one of the quickest and easiest ways to clear up bugs. / © ANDROIDPIT

What to do if clearing the app cache and system cache don’t work

Hit it with a hammer while screaming “Darn you, Google! Darn you all to heck!” No! We’re kidding! If clearing both kinds of cache hasn’t solved your problem, the next step is to do a factory reset. The step before that, of course, is to make sure you have an up-to-date backup of anything important - although you’re bound to have that handy because you’ve listened to our endless reminders of how important it is to keep your stuff safe.

A factory reset is the nuclear option, and as the name suggests it means resetting your phone to factory-fresh settings - i.e., the settings it had before you got it, so none of your stuff or data will be on it.

Got the backup? Excellent. Now do this.

  • Take out your external SD card, just in case. The reset probably won’t affect it, but why risk it?
  • Go into Settings and scroll to User and Backup.
  • Tap on Backup and Reset
  • Untick Back Up My Data, assuming you do actually have a backup
  • Tap Factory Data Reset
  • Enter your PIN or password if asked to. Tap Continue.
  • Tap on Delete All.
  • Wait a bit.
  • Rejoice.

What about you? Have you found cache clearing to fix 99 percent of all known problems, or have app issues on your Note driven you to despair? Share your success stories or sad-Samsung stories in the comments!

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Gary Marshall

Gary Marshall
Freelance writer

Former lion tamer, Girls Aloud backing dancer and habitual liar Gary Marshall has been writing about technology since Google was two guys in a garage. He's written for many fine magazines, newspapers and websites, written a range of how-to-books and a novel, co-written a BBC documentary series and dishes out weekly tech advice on BBC Radio Scotland.

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  • 2
    user123 Jan 23, 2020 Link to comment

    Hmmm...I am still happily using my Note4 in 2020, but it has been lagging lately, and I noticed that my phone storage was almost completely at the 32 GB limit! So I tried this, and yes, it initially shows the robot icon and says that it is completing system updates. Then when I have the manual options available, when I push "power" to confirm wiping the cache partition, that option turns from blue to green, but I really don't know if anything happened! (??). So then, I assumed it did what I selected, and manually chose "power off", which did the same thing (blue to green) but it never powered off. I am not sure if it worked or not on my phone!

    • 2
      user123 Jan 23, 2020 Link to comment

      Ok, update from my initial post, clearing the cache seemed to take about 10 minutes, and then when it did finally power off and back on, it looks like my phone storage went from 31.32 GB to 28.90 GB, so I guess it helped a little! Thank you!

  • Larry Fike 1
    Larry Fike Sep 18, 2017 Link to comment

    All good -- the cache clear worked to restore my Note 4 to its old speed -- but now I get a message saying that my SD card is incompatible with "this phone," even though I've been using it in this phone for a year. So naturally I'll take it out and back the data up somewhere, but beyond that, any suggestions? I have about 50 gig of data on the SD card and it's stuff I need to have with me for work. Why the heck is it rejecting a card that it's been accepting, unaltered and previously formatted, for a year? Thanks in advance.

  • Diane 2
    Diane Sep 11, 2016 Link to comment

    I noticed everyone's instructions on clearing system cache are missing a step...after selecting "Select Reboot System Now and again, hit Power to confirm." said 'clearing cache' at the bottom of the screen and the top of the screen had some verbiage and then Yes/No to select....I waited a while and nothing happened so I scrolled to the Yes with my volume down and then his the Power key and then it truly started clearing cache.....then is when i had the option to Reboot System Now

    Karen Liston

  • Chris Young 1
    Chris Young Jun 26, 2016 Link to comment

    So my text or messager tone doesn't play all the way through. I cleared the cache and system cache and it fixed but then started doing it again. Really don't want to do a factory reset. Any other options?

  • Barkaat 2
    Barkaat Mar 9, 2016 Link to comment

    I have note4 but I didn't get updates new

  • 1
    Thomas Downey Jan 28, 2016 Link to comment

    Was looking for the auto clean feature. But your way is the long way to manually do it. Besides apps like cheetah mobile cleaner. Note 4 edge in particular has a one way to clear all cache. Here's how. Settings > storage. Under all storage it'll say cache data. Click and you can delete all from there. Wala, done. But I again was hoping for the auto way without downloading apps. I assume the regular note 4 has this same feature.

  • Force Meow 1
    Force Meow Nov 11, 2015 Link to comment

    when the recovery mode was booting it gave me a message saying "installing system update"- it would have been nice if you had included that information so that us 4.4 users don't have to rip out batteries in a panic lest we be forcibly upgraded to 5.1 or whatever the latest nonsense is

    • Diane 2
      Diane Sep 11, 2016 Link to comment

      agree, this info was also missing, makes me leery to follow anyone's instructions on a factory reset, I'm sure important steps will be missing and I'll panic beings I've never tried it before

  • 1
    Joel Cochran Sep 24, 2015 Link to comment

    None of these help took the phone back to sprint see if the could fix it they said i had to wait for the next update ugh

  • 1
    Kim Huff Aug 8, 2015 Link to comment

    Omg! Thank you so much for posting this. Since the Lollipop update my Samsung keyboard locked up when I would long press to select the $&#!?... all of the secondary key options. I tried clearing the app cache with no help but once I cleared the system cache it worked. So thank you for saving me from hours on the phone with Verizon tech support.

  • Michael Ng 1
    Michael Ng Jul 22, 2015 Link to comment

    Thanks Timbone83 - I recovered 5gbs!! :))

  • 1
    prettyclueless8 Jul 14, 2015 Link to comment

    does clearing the system cache wipe out all data?

    • Larry Fike 1
      Larry Fike Sep 19, 2017 Link to comment

      Well, see my post above. The jury's out on that one. The phone indicated (after I cleared the cache) that my SD card was incompatible with "this phone." But I've loaded that very same SD card with 50 gig of memory over the course of the last year, so it was compatible BEFORE I cleared the cache! To be safe? I would safely eject the SD card BEFORE you clear the cache.

  • Timbone83 2
    Timbone83 Jun 3, 2015 Link to comment

    you can clear all app cash by going to Setting>storage>press cached data> hit ok. it clears all cached data except system cache

    Michael Ng

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