What is Website Data on iPhone, iPad & What Happens If you Clear It

If you go to Settings > General > iPhone (iPad) Storage > Safari, you will see an option called Website Data. If you open that option, you will see a red button saying “Remove All Website Data.” The same option is also available if you go to Settings > Safari. You will see a button saying “Clear History and Website Data.” You may want to delete Website Data to free up storage on your device. However, you may also wonder what will happen if you delete it. This article explains what Website Data is and if you should delete it.

Website Data Safari

What is Website Data

Website Data is comprised of cookies, site data and cache files created by the websites you visit. It contains information such as site preferences and login status. Website Data is supposed to enhance your online experience. For example, it helps websites to remember you so that you will not need to re-login to frequently used sites if you’re already logged in, like LinkedIn, Facebook, Amazon, Gmail, or Google Docs. It can be very difficult to know what this data may be because sites partially control what they store. Commonly, however, Website Data includes the following:

  • Cookies: They are small text files. They usually contain authentication data.
  • Cache: They are a sort of local copy of the websites you visit. It usually consists of images, files and scripts. Local copies are stored so that Safari won’t have to re-download everything again, and the site can be loaded faster. Cached data reduces load time.

This data can get big and take up significant space. This is why you may want to delete it if you are running out of available storage. However, the amount of data is not correlated to how often you use a site. There may be a site you use daily that stores zero data. And there may be a site you use rarely that stores megabytes of data.

What will happen if you delete Website Data

There are advantages and disadvantages to deleting Website Data. Deleting this may cause a few issues for you. They are:

  • Your logged-in status will be deleted. You will need to re-login again.
  • If you are about to purchase an item, your shopping cart will be emptied. For example, if there are items in an Amazon shopping cart, they will be deleted (unless you are signed in to your Amazon account).
  • The first time you visit a page, it may take a little longer to load. Safari will re-download the cached data.

Deleting this may also offer some benefits:

  • If you share your computer with others, clearing Website Data will improve your privacy.
  • Deleting it will clear up some room on your device.
  • This may possibly increase your device’s overall performance.
  • If Safari is not working properly, this may fix it.

The following won’t be affected:

  • If you have saved passwords on your iPhone or iPad, they won’t be deleted.
  • If you have Safari bookmarks, they will stay. However, your browsing history will be gone.
  • If you have data saved in your account for a particular website, this will not be deleted. For example, Google Docs or any other cloud based web app will keep your data on their cloud server.

Please note that you can delete all Website Data or if you prefer, you can delete an individual website’s Website Data by going to Settings > Safari > Advanced > Website Data and swiping left on the domain name.

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Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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