I have a Macbook Pro 13" running El Capitan, purchased in February 2016. For the iMessage app, which I have saved in the Dock, the unread messages badge says there is one unread message and there's not. If I click and hold on the iMessage icon, it tells me which message is unread. And I have viewed all of the messages from that person. I tried quitting and reopening the app - that didn't fix it. I restarted my computer, and that does fix it, but the same issue arises again within a few days.

How can I fix this so the badge count is accurate?

I'm not great at using the Terminal. If you have a suggestion using the Terminal, please be very specific so I can replicate your suggestion easily.

EDIT: I just discovered that the badge count is wrong on the Messages app on my Mac if I have a text message (not an iMessage) unread on my iPhone.

  • Welcome to Ask Different. One question per question is best. If you log out and log in - is the badge count wrong upon log in? Best to edit this to ask how to troubleshoot. Once you have something repeatable - a follow on question on preventing recurrence often works better.
    – bmike
    May 14, 2016 at 19:12
  • If I sign out and sign back in, the badge count is accurate for a few days. Then the same thing happens again, and not for the same contact.
    – TMHahn
    May 14, 2016 at 19:14
  • I saw this on another question here (but the situation is slightly different so I don't think it's a duplicate). Try the steps in this answer: apple.stackexchange.com/a/170420/88313
    – fsb
    May 14, 2016 at 19:15
  • I tried the suggestion in that post already, @fbara. It corrects the badge count temporarily. Within a few days, it's wrong again.
    – TMHahn
    May 14, 2016 at 19:17

3 Answers 3


That has happened to me. Try opening the app and clicking on the person who sent the last message (or simply click on all of your contacts). That should prove you have read all the messages and take away the badge. Hope this helps.


Click the iMessage icon and hold it down, on the menu at the very top it will tell you where the "unread" message is. Click that and it will open it and clear the notification.

  • The original post was from March 2016. I was able to resolve the issue. But thank you!
    – TMHahn
    Oct 1, 2018 at 21:42
  • This is the only correct answer. Bless you, sir. Mar 30, 2020 at 3:31
  1. First close the Messages app.
  2. Open the Activity Monitor and force quit the Dock process.

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