What are App Icon Badges on the iPhone 6?

If you’ve explored the notification settings on your iPhone, or if you’ve noticed a red circle with white numbers in it, then you may be wondering what a badge app icon is on an iPhone.

Badge app icons are a type of iPhone notification that you have probably seen on your iPhone at one time or another. They are one of several different types of notifications on the iPhone 6, and different people will prefer to enable or disable different combinations of them.

Whether you want audio notifications, alerts on your lock screen, or banners at the top of your screen, there is a combination that will suit almost anyone.

The badge app icon is somewhat different from the banners and alerts, however. If you have adjusted your notification settings before, then you probably noticed it as an option, but you are probably wondering what it does.

What is a Badge App Icon on the iPhone 6?

A badge app icon is the white number in a red oval at the top-right corner of an app’s icon. As an example, we have pointed out a badge app icon on the Mail app in the image below.

badge app icon identified

The badge app icon notification that appears on many of your apps can indicate several different pieces of information. For example, a badge app icon on the Messages app will let you know how many unread text messages you have. A badge app icon on the Settings icon will let you know that there is a software update that is available for you to start. A badge app icon on the App Store icon lets you know that there are apps on your device that need to be updated.

So while, in a broad sense, badge app icons are typical notifications, the app on which the badge appears will dictate the meaning of the number in that circle.

How to Enable or Disable App Icon Badges on an iPhone 6

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Notifications.
  3. Select the app.
  4. Turn off Badges.

Our article continues below with additional information on turning badge app icons on or off on an iPhone, including pictures of these steps.

How to Turn Off a Badge App Icon on an iPhone 6 (Guide with Pictures)

While notifications are often useful, the persistent presence of badge app icons can be problematic. I know several people that specifically dislike seeing the icon on the Mail and Messages app, for example, and they always go in and clear out those notifications.

You might find the badge app icons to be distracting, so fortunately it is possible to turn them off for most apps. You will still continue to get other types of notifications, provided that you do not elect to turn those off as well. Below is an example of how to turn off the badge app notification for the Phone app.

Step 1: Open the Settings menu.

open the settings menu

Step 2: Tap Notifications near the top of the menu.

open the notifications menu

Step 3: Select the app for which you want to turn off the badge app icon.

In the example below, I am selecting the Phone app.

select the phone app

Step 5: Tap the button to the right of Badge App Icon.

You will know that it is turned off when there is no green shading around the button, as in the image below. You will need to repeat this step for other individual apps where you no longer wish to be alerted to whatever the icon badge displays for that app.

turn off the badge app icon

You can continue reading below for more information on iPhone badges.

More Information on What App Icon Badges are on an iPhone

  • What does a badge app icon mean? – This question can be tricky to answer, since the app icon badge shows up for different reasons in different circumstances, and is used differently by each app. A badge app icon on the Mail app or the Messages app means that you have unread emails or unread messages, while the badge app icon on the Settings app means that you have an iOS update available.
  • If you elect to turn off the Allow Notifications option at the top of an app’s notification menu, this will turn off every type of notification that the app can produce.
  • There isn’t a way to disable or enable app icon badges all at once. You will need to adjust the setting individually for each different app on your iPhone. However, since those notification badges aren’t used by every app you may find it fairly easy to configure the app icon badges option for each app where you don’t want it.

These steps are the same for almost every app. One of the only exceptions can be the Mail app if you have multiple email accounts set up on your device. If that is the case, then you can read this article to see how to customize the notification settings for the Mail app.

A red app store icon is an indicator that you have an app update that you need to install. These can be found by going to the App Store icon and tapping your profile icon, then scrolling down and touching the Update button on the app that you wish to update.

Settings > General > Software Update

If you wish to update iOS on the device.

The steps in this article were performed on an iPhone 6 in an older version of iOS. However, these same steps still work on current iPhone models, such as the iPhone 13 in iOS 15. The iPhone has used the badge app icon for a while and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere for a while.

If you have a mobile device that uses another operating system, such as an Android phone or one of the Samsung Galaxy devices, then you might need to investigate other options to adjust how it alerts you to unread notifications. For example, in Android 11 you could go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications > Advanced and adjust the Notification dot on app icon setting instead.

Frequently Asked Questions About the App Icon Badge

What does the number in the red circle mean on one of my iPhone apps?

That notification, called a “Badge App Icon” lets you know that something about that app requires your attention. It varies between apps, but could mean you have a message, the app has news, or something has updated.

Can I turn off badges on my iPhone, but leave on other types of notifications?

Yes, the “Notifications” menu in the “Settings” app allows you to control several different notification settings for each of your apps. For example, you could turn off the badge app icons but leave on alerts or banners.

How do I mark all emails as read in the Mail app on my iPhone?

You can quickly mark all of your emails as read by opening the “Mail” app, tapping “Edit” at the top-right, then tapping “Select All” at the top-left. You can then touch “Mark” at the bottom-left and choose the “Mark as Read” option.

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