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?

1 Answer 1


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 at 17:26

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