Today I noticed that the System Preferences icon in the Dock has a red badge (containing a white '1' digit).

System Preferences' Dock Icon today, fixed

I presume the app or the computer is trying to tell me something, but I can't figure out what that is. I tried opening the System Preferences app in the hope that it might badge or highlight the preference pane icon concerned, but everything looks normal.

I've tried clicking on several of the preference panes, but the badge stayed. I suppose I might try clicking on every single one of them and see if or when the badge might go away, but I wonder if you might have seen something like this. Another thing I haven't tried yet is to look in Console.

  • 1
    It has happened once or twice for me in the past, and a quick restart fixed it. Have you tried restarting your computer? Apr 14, 2017 at 5:25
  • 1
    Check the iCloud pane for some alert (e.g. 2FA or renew password)!
    – klanomath
    Apr 14, 2017 at 5:31
  • Good idea, @RushilSrivastava! I'll try restarting. Actually, I'll trying logging out and logging in again, first. Apr 14, 2017 at 5:36
  • Good idea, @klanomath! Apr 14, 2017 at 5:40

2 Answers 2


I clicked the iCloud pane, and found it was suggesting I improve my security posture. When I did something about that, the badge went away.

I did that only after I'd tried logging out and logging in again. I guessed restarting the computer wouldn't change anything, so I didn't try it.


I just had this. First result in Google search was here (Apple SE). The second result was Apple Support Communities which had the advice:

Open it up and see what preference pane it jumps to immediately. I think it wants you to sign up for two-factor authentication. You don't have to sign up, but you do have to either accept or reject two factor in order to clear the badge and restore functionality to System Preferences.

For me, it jumped to the iCloud pane which had a not-so-clear alert about two-factor authentication, which was the issue the badge in the dock was alerting me about.

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