How to get rid of a persistent macOS Messages badge icon

Messages can get stuck showing you unread items where none exist.

messages macos badge
IDG

The badge that can appear on selected apps in the macOS Dock is a helpful reminder that you’ve got something that requires attention. But when the badge “sticks” and continues to remain in place even after you’ve carried out your task? It’s a persistent itch you want to scratch.

This can happen in the Messages app, as I discovered recently after texting myself a link when I couldn’t get the oh-so-reliable AirDrop to work between my phone and computer. The link arrived, but the badge wouldn’t disappear. Closing the conversation in the list in the left of the Messages window didn’t help. Nor did quitting the app.

I tried a suggestion many forum posters around the Apple universe of discussion boards recommended for stuck Dock icons. In the Terminal app, enter exactly the following and press return:

killall Dock

This essentially restarts the Dock, and can clear stuck states. It may take a moment. This, too, failed!

The ultimate solution? I sent another message to myself from my Mac, and then read it on my iPhone. The badge now disappeared in both iOS and macOS.

Ask Mac 911

We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is covered. If not, we’re always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to mac911@macworld.com including screen captures as appropriate, and whether you want your full name used. Every question won’t be answered, we don’t reply to email, and we cannot provide direct troubleshooting advice.

  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon