Updated: 12/05/2021 by Computer Hope

A refresh may refer to any of the following:

Refresh arrows

1. In general, refresh is a way of describing reloading or updating what's displayed or stored. For example, if you are on a web page, refreshing the page displays the most recent content published on that page. Essentially, you're asking the site to send your computer the newest version of the page you're viewing.

2. The refresh button, also known as the refresh option, is a function of all Internet browsers. It is used to ask the browser to send you the most updated version of the page you're viewing. See the browser page for additional information about this term and related links.

How to refresh

Microsoft Windows computer

On a Windows-based computer, pressing F5 or Ctrl+R refreshes a web page on all popular browsers (i.e., Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Internet Explorer). Sometimes, these actions are called the refresh key or key combination. In most browsers, there's also a refresh icon, Refresh button an arrow that forms a circle. It is usually located to the left of the address bar.


Pressing the F5 function key can act as a keyboard shortcut to refresh the Windows desktop screen.

Apple Mac computer

On a Mac, pressing Command+R refreshes the page you are currently viewing.


On a Chromebook, pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+R refreshes the page you are currently viewing. There's also a dedicated refresh button on the top row of keys on every Chromebook. It looks like a circular arrow, similar to the Refresh button icon in an Internet browser.

Smartphone, cell phone, and tablet

To refresh the page on a smartphone (e.g., Apple iPhone or an Android), cell phone, or tablet, follow the steps below for your phone operating system and browser.

Safari on Apple iPhone

Scroll up until the address bar is visible. Tap the refresh symbol (Refresh button) on the right side of the address bar.

Google Chrome on Android and iPhone

While in the browser, scroll to the top of the page by swiping your finger down. Once at the top, swipe down slowly without releasing your finger from the screen when you see a refresh option. Then release your finger from the screen to refresh the page.


Versions of Chrome with a "+" (new tab) and "x" (close tab) next to refresh are accessed by moving your finger to the left or right.

Other browsers and apps

While in the app or browser, scroll to the top of the page by swiping your finger down. At the top, swipe down slowly without releasing your finger from the screen until a refresh icon appears or the screen changes. Once seen, release your finger from the screen.

How do I know if a page is refreshed?

After following the steps above, you should notice a flicker or the page re-appearing as if it was loading for the first time. If you're updating a web page or expecting changes, you should see those changes upon refreshing the page.

What is a "force reload" or "hard refresh"?

In some situations, a refresh does not update everything on a web page. In this situation, you can perform a force reload or hard refresh by pressing Ctrl+F5 to pull all content from the server hosting the web page.

What if refresh still doesn't work after doing the steps above?

If refresh is still not loading the latest version of a web page, you might be viewing a remotely cached version of the site. For example, CDN (content delivery network) services cache static content, such as images and web pages. It is also possible that a network proxy or your ISP (Internet service provider) is caching all or part of a web page. If refreshing the page is not loading the latest web page version, try the following steps.

  • Clear your browser history.
  • See if the same web page loads properly in a different browser.
  • Try resetting the router by unplugging the power, waiting 5 to 10 seconds, and plugging it in again.
  • If you're designing a web page or service and use a CDN, clear any CDN cache.
  • Finally, if you continue to have problems, contact the ISP to ensure the problem is not on their end.

3. Refresh describes renewing the screen contents on a CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor. As the refresh rate increases, the image becomes clearer.

We recommend anyone using a CRT to use at least a 75 MHz refresh rate. Lower refresh rates commonly cause strain on the eyes. If you have a flat-panel display, you do not need to worry about the refresh rate.

4. With computer memory, refresh is the recharging of DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) chips that allow them to keep holding the data they are currently storing. Memory refresh rate is commonly displayed as xK, where x is a number (e.g., 2 or 4). If the memory has a refresh rate of 2k, it indicates how many rows it takes to complete the refresh. In our example of 2k, this means there are 2 thousand rows. The refresh cycle is a way of showing the time it requires to complete one row.

5. Refresh may also refer to a software utility developed to help improve how memory is handled on a computer.

6. When describing a computer battery, refresh is an ability that allows NiCad batteries to reset the memory that stores their charge state.

7. Refresh may be used when describing erasing and reinstalling all software on a computer to make it like new.

Display cycle, Interlacing, Memory terms, Reload, Restore, Video terms