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The Easiest Way to Get Rid of ‘Ghost’ Message Notifications on Your iPhone
August 25, 2023

The Easiest Way to Get Rid of ‘Ghost’ Message Notifications on Your iPhone

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s one of those rare times when Siri solves an annoying problem.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want hundreds (or thousands) of unread texts on your iPhone, there are a few easy ways to mark them all read. But what does one do when you have ‘ghost’ unread messages, as Reddit user RamyKhashroom did? They deleted all messages, updated their iPhone—virtually everything one could reasonably be expected to—and yet they were stuck with five unread messages that couldn’t be seen. What gives?

This is one those rare occasions where Siri comes to the rescue, as the user guriel pointed out in the same thread: When you find yourself dealing with a few unread messages, you can ask Siri to read them for you with a voice command like: ‘Hey Siri, read my messages.’ The voice assistant will start reading all unread texts, and clear the lingering notification badges, even when the messages don’t actually exist.

While this tip works for people facing an iOS bug that sometimes doesn’t wipe the notification badge, you can also use it to your advantage when you have a few unread messages buried deep in the recesses of the Messages app. Alternatively, you can open the Messages app, go to the list of all texts, and tap the three-dots icon at the top. Tap Select Messages and then click the Read All option in the bottom-left corner of the screen. Of course, if you still have persistent ‘unread’ messages thanks to an iOS bug, call in Siri as backup.

Better yet, you can get rid of the notification badge altogether. If you’re ready to let go of these badges on your iPhone, go to Settings > Notifications, and select the app you’re looking for. Then, turn off Badges to hide the notification badge in that app. Better yet, repeat this for all apps that have a large number of unread notifications. You might find you have a better relationship with your phone when you decide to check for updates from your apps manually.


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