Disable the Red Badge Alerts on Dock Icons in Mac OS X

Apr 29, 2013 - 1 Comment

Red icon alert badge on a Dock icon of OS X The little red badges that appear on app icons stored in the Mac OS X Dock are intended to provide a quick alert and overview of some important notification pertaining to the respective app. Whether it’s the new unread email count, new iMessages, a Calendar event, unfinished Reminders, missed FaceTime calls, or any other number of alerts, the red app badge icon updates with a number and sits atop the apps icon in both the Dock and Launchpad until those given notifications have been addressed.

While these red badges can be undeniably useful, there can also be an element of annoyance to those badge icons too, since some alerts and notifications are just reoccurring and therefore we don’t necessarily need a constant red alert sitting atop an icon to notify users of it’s presence. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to toggle those badge alerts on or off, and that’s what we’ll cover.

How to Disable Red Badges on Dock Icons on Mac

Disabling these icon alerts must be done on a per-application basis, as of now there is no universal method to disable them for every single app with a single switch.

  1. Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu and choose “Notifications”
  2. Choose the app from the left side, then uncheck the box next to “Badge app icon”
  3. Repeat for other apps in the Notifications list

Disable badge app icons in Mac OS X

Changes generally take effect immediately, though some apps may require a quick relaunch for the red icon to finally disappear.

Here is a before shot of Mail and Calendars app with the badges enabled:

Dock badge alert icons in Mac OS X

And here is Mail and Calendars again, with badge icons disabled:

Dock red alert badge icons disabled in Mac OS X

You may find some apps seem to have persistent badge notifications that are either unresponsive to the settings change, or just don’t offer a settings adjustment at all, like the Mac App Store.

Note: turning off the badge alerts has no impact on the alerts appearing in Notification Center and is restricted only to the app icon itself, whether it’s in Launchpad or the Dock of Mac OS X. Auditory alerts in Notification Center must be changed or disabled separately, though toggling Notification Center OFF or ON has no effect on the badge icons appearance.

This same trick can be done in iOS too if you’re tired of seeing the red badges on the home screen of your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, but just like Mac OS X, they too must be adjusted on a per-application basis too.

Thanks to Theron and @guan for the tip inspiration


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks

One Comment

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  1. Arthur Tasker says:

    Used your instructions, above, but can’t get rid of red dot in “Notifications” icon within “System Preferences,” nor on Sys.Pref. icon at bottom of screen. Using Mojave 10.14.3

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