How to Mark All iMessages as Read on iPhone & iPad Instantly

Mar 20, 2015 - 21 Comments

New Unread Messages badge

We’ve all experienced it, a huge number of texts and iMessages arriving on our iPhone or iPad, that you either know aren’t important or you already read on another devices Messages app. Or maybe the messages are coming from someone you’d just prefer to ignore, whatever the case, you can instantly mark all messages as read in iOS using a quick little known trick.


This is significantly faster than manually opening each individual thread, tapping back to the primary messages window, then repeating the same with each unread conversation to mark them manually.

Instantly Mark All iMessages as Read in Messages App for iOS

The next time you have a bunch of messages – iMessages or text messages – you want to mark as read in iOS, just do the following:

  1. Open the Messages app on the iPhone or iPad
  2. Tap the “Edit” button in the corner and then at the bottom of the Messages app tap on “Read All”

Read All Messages in iOS immediately

Simple, quick, and effective.

Marking All Messages as Read in iOS as demonstrated with iphone

This will remove all indicators of new messages, marking them as read; the blue icon that is alongside an unread thread, the number that is at the top of the Messages app screen, and the new/unread red badge icon with the number on it on the Messages app icon, at least until you get more messages that haven’t been read.

You can always opt to turn the red badges off entirely from any given app, Messages included, but that’s generally not recommended unless you’re really fed up with them, since without them you won’t have any obvious indicator there are new messages waiting to be read.

This is particularly helpful if you use an iPhone or iPad synced with another Mac or iOS device, where messages appear across the board on all devices, since often they don’t seem to register that a message has been read on one device. It’s also a great solution to when you pull an iOS device out of Do Not Disturb mode to find an onslaught of new message notifications that ultimately aren’t that important.

Similar tricks are available to mark all email as read on the iPhone and iPad, and do the same with Voice Mail on the iPhone too.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

21 Comments

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  1. Dave S says:

    But how to do the same thing and delete all? It drives me nuts that there is no standard delete all option for iOS lists. It means that over time you build up tons of iMessages, voice mails, and emails.

    Email has a Mark All instead of a Select All. So you can easily mark all read but you can’t select all and then hit the trash can to delete.

    • Daryl Favreu says:

      You can use a swipe to delete on each individual Message thread, that’s the best I’ve got. Takes a while, but it’s the only way I know of to clear the Message history and cache from Messages app on iPhone.

      Maybe there is another way that I am not aware of?

    • Susan Filshie says:

      I have found that:

      you have to select each mail item but you can trash several at the same time. Generally I can select 10-15 and hit trash once. The iPod has a limited storage capacity in its trash function that’s why you have to do small batches. If you select too many, and hit trash, they will seem to disappear but then pop back again.

      Repeat this process in small batches until you have cleared out everything.

      Afterwards, keeping your emails to this approximate limited number you can do a group trash as follows: In All Inboxes select Edit. Mark all As Read (button at bottom of screen). Select Edit. Select first email. Hold down Move button at bottom of screen. Deselect first email. Let go of the Move button. Select trash. All will disappear.

      My mail provider (Bell Canada) explained why these devices can’t co-ordinate email deletes even with cloud. It has something to do with the POP server (or not?). I didn’t understand. It made sense at the time.

  2. Richiestyle says:

    That’s my question also. How do you delete a bunch of e-mails all at ones?

    • Daryl Favreu says:

      emails or messages? Emails, do a bulk select, Edit > Delete

      • Dave S says:

        Bulk select? You mean touch each item to select it and then delete?? If so, thats the point, if you have a lot its ridiculous to have to do that instead of hitting a select all button…

  3. Verne says:

    I agree with the gents above. It’s an incredible oversight that Apple hasn’t devised a way to delete emails and texts en mass. Would take me days.

    • Susan Filshie says:

      Do it bit by bit while you are watching tv. You don’t have to do it all at once. Do 100 per sitting. That’s what I did. See my other longer post above. You can only do batches of 10 -20 emails per single “trash” button.

  4. Verne says:

    Daryl – there is no way to do what you suggest

    • makemineamac says:

      Yes you can, you just choose edit took each one you want to delete once to select it and then tap the Trash button.

    • Verne says:

      Wrong. We’re looking for a way to select them all at once and then delete. I have way too many to delete them individually as you suggest. Thanks though.

      • makemineamac says:

        Not wrong. Correct. It’s not deleting them individually. It ‘selecting’ a bunch of messages and deleting them all. At once.

        • johnsan says:

          You are right that it deletes more than one but the point is that each one you want to delete must be selected individually. We want a ‘Mark All’ function to select every email in the inbox then a Delete that will empty the mailbox.

          The only way I can think to achieve this is to remove the mailbox and set it up again.

  5. Johnnie says:

    Is there any way to mark a message as UNREAD, if you want to return to it later for example?

    • Susan Filshie says:

      re: UN-read. Yes – select the e-mail, go to Edit, then the Mark All button and the Un-read option pops up.

  6. Jake says:

    In mail, you can go to the trash folder and delete all. This delete all doesn’t seem available in the sent folder. Is there a hidden way to delete all in the sent folder??

  7. Indigo Sunhouse says:

    Not totally sure one would want to mark messages as read when one hasn’t read them?

    jus’ sayin’…

    • Paul says:

      Sometimes you’ve read the iPhone messages on another device already that is synced with iMessage like a Mac or iPad, or you already know the content of the messages for a variety of reasons, or you just don’t want to read the messages for some reason or another. Many reasons as mentioned in the article, regardless, it’s easy to do!

  8. Hannah A. says:

    Every time I try to Mark Read all of my emails (they’ve built up to over 3,000 now), the red notification number goes away, but shortly after, they all reappear again as if I never hit Mark Read to any of them. Anyone know how to go about this glitch?

  9. Yvette bougouneau says:

    Way up

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