The Messages app showing a notification badge on iPhone.
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek
You can mark all messages as read in the Messages app to quickly get rid of the Messages app badge. If that doesn't work, Siri can clear the Messages counter for you.

Does the Messages app on your iPhone say you have unread messages, even though all your iMessage and SMS messages are read in the app? If the Messages badge is stuck, here’s the fix to get rid of the counter. We had the same problem and found a solution.

How to Mark All Messages as Read

First, if you just have a lot of unread messages, you don’t need to do this. You can simply mark all messages as read in the Messages app. To do so, open the Messages app, tap “Edit” at the top of the screen, tap “Select Messages,” and then tap “Read All.”

If this doesn’t solve your problem and you still see a number of unread messages on the Messages app on your iPhone home screen, however, we have a solution.

How to Fix Messages Showing Unread on iPhone

To fix your problem, launch Siri—either by holding down your iPhone’s Power button or Home button, or by saying “Hey Siri” if you’ve set that up—and say “Read my messages.”

Siri will find the few unread messages that are hidden from the Messages app for some reason. Wait for Siri to read them out loud. When Siri is done reading them, the unread counter will vanish from the Messages app.

The response to "Hey Siri, read my messages"

The above solution worked to fix a stubborn stuck unread counter on the messages app on an iPhone running iOS 16. Here are some other solutions we came across during our research that you may want to try if you still have this problem:

  • If you’re syncing messages via iCloud, go to another device you’re signed into (like an iPad or Mac), open the Messages app, and mark all messages as read on the other device. A message that isn’t visible on your iPhone may be visible on that other device, and this may fix the problem.
  • If you are filtering messages from unknown senders or spam numbers, open the Messages app and tap the “Filters” option at the top left of the screen while viewing the list of iMessage and SMS conversations. The unread messages might be buried under “Unknown Senders.” (If you do not have filtering enabled, you won’t see a “Filters” option at the top left—just an “Edit” option.)
  • Restart your iPhone. Just like restarting a Windows computer or Mac, restarting your iPhone can sometimes fix weird problems.
  • Disable the notification badge entirely for the Messages app from Settings > Notifications > Messages. Disable “Badges.” This isn’t the ideal solution if you like seeing the unread messages counter.

We hope one of these solutions fixed your problem. You can always try resetting your iPhone to factory default settings to fix issues, too.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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