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How to get rid of ‘ghost’ message notifications on iPhone

Published Sep 4th, 2023 3:04PM EDT
iPhone Messages
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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If you’ve been unlucky enough to find yourself dealing with this particularly annoying iPhone bug, then you’ll be happy to learn there’s a fix for it. Many users have reported seeing “ghost” messages on their iPhones. These are essentially notifications for unread messages, but you don’t have any unread messages that correspond to those notifications. Luckily, there’s an easy fix for it.

If you find yourself dealing with the annoying “ghost” message notifications bug on your iPhone, turn to Siri to fix the problem. See, if you open up Siri and tell it to read your messages, the voice assistant will start reading through all of your unread messages, which will clear the lingering notification badge even if you don’t have any unread messages.

iOS 17 beta Siri
You can use Siri to get rid of ghost message notifications on iPhone. Image source: José Adorno for BGR

This trick is especially handy if you’re like me – I’m the kind of person who clears out notifications from their email, messages, etc., as quickly as possible. This handy trick is also useful beyond just clearing out ghost message notifications.

If you get a lot of text messages throughout the day, it might be tough to keep up with them all. Unfortunately, some might have gotten buried deep within your message list. If you don’t feel like digging for those, you can say, “Hey Siri, read my messages,” just like you would to clear ghost message notifications on your iPhone.

Siri will read your unread messages out loud, allowing you to see what you might have missed. Of course, you can always turn off the notification badge if you don’t want to deal with this issue at all, but if you have a hard time keeping up with your notifications, those badges can be really helpful. Hopefully, iOS 17 will help mitigate the need for any workarounds like this once it drops in September.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.