How to Fix When iPhone Shows Unread Messages When All Have Been Read

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Bernard Perron
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Have you ever looked at your iPhone, seen a message notification, but can't find the new message? Come to think of it, he; you probably didn't even hear the notification sound. The mystery of the ghost message usually occurs when the notification of the last message you read does not clear.

It may not seem like a big deal, but it can be confusing. You might think you've missed something important, when it's just a number that says nothing.



While you might have missed a message in a group chat, it's much more likely that you're dealing with an iOS bug. This problem can be frustrating, but there are several ways you can try to fix it.

How to get rid of message notification when there are no messages

The first thing to do is to thoroughly check if you have missed a message in any of the conversations in the Messages app. If you're fully up to date, we can run through potential solutions.

Close the Messages app

An application can become unresponsive for many reasons, and sometimes it's a problem in the operating system. You can force it to start working again by closing it and opening it again. Here's how:

  1. Make sure you're on the home screen, then swipe up and down and pause in the middle of the screen.
  2. Swipe in any direction to find the Messages app.
  3. Once you find it, tap and swipe up to close it.
  4. Open the Messages app.

These steps apply to iPhone X and newer models. On older iPhones, instead of swiping across the home screen, double-click the Home button. The last two steps are the same.



Restart your iPhone

If closing the app didn't work, you can try restarting your phone. Often, unexplainable issues like this are fixed with a simple reboot. If you have an iPhone X/11/12/13, here's how to restart your device:

  1. Press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons until you see the slider.
  2. Turn off the device by dragging the slider and give it at least 30 seconds before turning it on.
  3. You can turn on your device by pressing the side button again.

If you have an older iPhone, restart your device by pressing and holding the side button until you see the slider.

Disable message notifications

Another potential solution is to disable and then enable message notification settings. This may remove the number above the icon and resolve the issue. It's a quick fix worth trying. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to “Notifications” then “Messages”.
  3. Move the toggle from On to Off and vice versa.

Check the app to see if the notification has been removed.

Restore your device with iCloud

Sometimes the best way to tackle this persistent and quite annoying problem is to start over by completely restoring the messages. If your iPhone is set to back up all content, including messages, iCloud backup is probably the safest way to remove the unread messages notification. Here's how to completely reset your iPhone:



  1. Launch the Settings app and go to "General".
  2. Scroll down and select "Reset", followed by "Erase all content and settings".
  3. A pop-up message will appear asking if you want to back up the content first. Tap on the “Backup then Erase” option.
  4. It will take several minutes for the device to reset to factory conditions. Once done, you will be prompted to select "Restore from iCloud Backup".
  5. Log into your iCloud account and choose the backups you want to restore.

Hopefully, the notification indicating unread messages will be gone. Keep in mind that this method is only possible if you have enough storage on your iCloud account.


You can also try clearing all messages without backup if you don't mind losing conversation threads in the Messages app. The reset will also ask you to reconnect to other apps.

Update your iPhone

Finally, don't forget to check if your device is running the latest software version. By updating iOS, you might get rid of the message notification permanently.

You may have missed an update because you ignored the system message or Automatic Updates is disabled. Either way, here's how to make sure you have the updated version of iOS on your device:

  1. Connect your iPhone to a power source and the Internet wirelessly.
  2. Go to the Settings menu.
  3. Select “General”, then “Software Update”.
  4. If you see that an update is available, be sure to tap "Download and Install".
  5. Enter your password and select "Install Now".

Once the iPhone is updated, recheck the Messages app. The notification alert might have been removed with the new update.


Removal of fake message notifications

If you see a message notification, you expect to read a new message. Getting trapped by a notification that refuses to disappear can become tiring. It's easy to forget that your phone has this problem; therefore, you are unpleasantly surprised several times a day.

Try closing the app, disabling the notification and restarting your iPhone first – these are the easy potential fixes. But if that doesn't work, you may need to backup data and reset your phone using iCloud.

Finally, always make sure you're running the latest version of iOS, as that may be the reason notifications get stuck in the first place.

Have you ever received a message notification and no message? What did you do about it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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