How To Clear the Media Cache to Free Up Disk Space in After Effects?

The relentless pursuit of creative perfection can lead to a cluttered digital workspace. In the world of video editing, a hidden culprit behind dwindling storage space is the media cache. This article equips you with the knowledge to effectively clear the media cache in various video editing applications, freeing up valuable disk space for your next project.

Understanding the Media Cache

The media cache acts as a temporary storage for processed video and audio files used during editing. These cached files can significantly improve playback performance by readily providing previews without needing to re-render the source media every time. However, as your project progresses and you accumulate edits, the cache can balloon in size, eating into your precious storage space.

Signs You Need a Media Cache Cleanup

Here are some telltale signs that your media cache might be due for a refresh:

  • Low Disk Space Warnings: Your operating system throws up notifications about running out of storage space.
  • Sluggish Performance: Even on a powerful computer, video playback becomes stuttery or laggy.
  • Project Completion: You've wrapped up your project and no longer need the cached previews.

Clearing the Media Cache: A Program-by-Program Approach

The process of clearing the media cache differs slightly between video editing applications. Here's a breakdown for some popular programs:

Adobe Premiere Pro:

  1. Navigate to Preferences: Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Premiere Pro > Preferences (Mac).
  2. Media Cache Tab: Select the Media Cache tab in the Preferences window.
  3. Clearing Options: You have two choices:
    • Delete Unused Cache Files: This removes cached files associated with media no longer present in your project.
    • Delete All Media Cache Files: This wipes the entire cache clean.
  4. Confirmation and Restart: Click OK to confirm the deletion. It's recommended to restart Premiere Pro after clearing the cache.

Adobe After Effects:

  1. Access Preferences: Similar to Premiere Pro, go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or After Effects > Preferences (Mac).
  2. Media and Disk Cache: Select the Media and Disk Cache tab.
  3. Clearing Options: Here, you can choose to:
    • Empty Disk Cache: Deletes all cached video previews.
    • Clean Database & Cache: This performs a more thorough cleanup, including project information and thumbnails.
  4. Confirmation and Restart: Click OK to confirm the deletion and consider restarting After Effects.

Final Cut Pro:

  1. Manage Storage: Go to Final Cut Pro > Preferences > General.
  2. Cache Location: Click the "Manage Storage..." button to view the location of your cache files.
  3. Manual Deletion: Unfortunately, Final Cut Pro doesn't offer an in-built cache clearing option. You'll need to quit the application and manually delete the cache folders from the designated location.

DaVinci Resolve:

  1. Project Settings: Open the "Project Settings" window (gear icon in the top right corner).
  2. User Tab: Navigate to the User tab.
  3. Cache Management: Locate the "Cache Management" section.
  4. Clearing Options: You can choose to:
    • Delete Unused Cache Files: Similar to Premiere Pro, this removes cached files for missing media.
    • Delete Generated Files: This wipes clean all cached thumbnails and project data.
  5. Confirmation: Click "Delete" to confirm the chosen action.

Important Considerations Before Clearing the Cache

  • Project Status: If you haven't finished your project, consider deleting only unused cache files to avoid losing cached previews for actively used media.
  • Performance Impact: Clearing the entire cache might result in slower playback performance initially, as the application rebuilds the cache as needed.
  • Regular Maintenance: Make clearing the media cache a regular practice to prevent storage issues and maintain optimal performance.


By understanding the media cache and utilizing the program-specific methods outlined above, you can effectively free up valuable disk space in your video editing applications. Remember, a clean cache translates to a smoother workflow and increased storage capacity for your creative endeavors. So, don't let a bloated cache hinder your creative flow – take control and reclaim your digital space!

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