On my Mac running macOS Monterey (12.3.1), the Messages icon in the dock is showing a badge with a count of unread messages in the high double digits. (This is an accurate count of old messages that I've never actually individually opened, such as 2FA verification code messages from numerous sites.)

What's the fastest way to mark all of those messages as read, thereby clearing the badge?

  • I held down the Control + Tab keys and cleared all 500+ of them but I still have 57 notifications. how to I get rid of those?
    – murph
    May 8 at 21:37

3 Answers 3


Not an actual supported solution, but a decent workaround:

  • On your Mac, open the Messages app.
  • In the left pane (with the list of messages), select the first message.
  • Hold down the Control + Tab keys for a while.

Control + Tab is the keyboard shortcut for "Go to next message" in Messages.

Holding down that keyboard shortcut causes Messages to cycle through all available messages (for as long as you hold down the keys) -- clearing the "unread" indicators as it goes.

On my machine, I was able to cycle through a year's worth of existing conversations using this method in about 30 seconds.

  • The curse and blessing of iOS hiding non - contact SMS is that we get a second chance to relive them later on the mac.
    – bmike
    Apr 3, 2022 at 17:26
  • Anyone know of a command to do this in the Terminal? Jul 29, 2022 at 0:39

An additional tip (I don't have enough reputation to comment), at least on most recent MacOS versions, you can pre-filter to unread messages using the "View" dropdown in the menu bar - this drastically speeds up the time to control-tab through the unreads.


On MacOS dock right click the messages icon and it should have an unread messages option that takes you to the unread message.

  • 1
    The question is how to mark all the messages as read, not to go to the unread message.
    – agarza
    Jan 8 at 4:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .