How to Disable Red Badge Circle on System Preferences in MacOS
System Preferences in MacOS shows a red badge circle icon when there is an available software update for the Mac. This can be helpful for users who want to be notified of software updates, but it can be annoying to other Mac users who are specifically avoiding a particular software update.
For example, many Mac users who are ignoring Catalina may have chosen to hide MacOS Catalina software update notifications and prompts but may still see the red update badge icon on their System Preferences icon.
This article will show you how you can hide and disable the red updates badge from appearing on the System Preferences icon in the Dock on modern macOS releases including Mojave and Catalina.
How to Hide Red Badge Updates Icon from System Preferences on MacOS
Disabling the red update badge from the System Preferences icon involves using the Terminal, if you’re not comfortable with the command line it’s better to avoid using these commands as they are for advanced Mac users.
- Launch the Terminal application
- Enter the following syntax exactly at the command line:
- Hit return, the Dock will refresh automatically and the System Preferences icon will no longer show the red updates badge
- Quit Terminal when finished
defaults write com.apple.systempreferences AttentionPrefBundleIDs 0 && killall Dock
Most users won’t want to do this if they want to see the red badge icon when software updates are available. But if you’re specifically avoiding a software update, or if you’re just selectively installing specific system software updates in MacOS, then you may appreciate having the ability to hide the red badge icon.
If you’re having issues with the command above, you can also choose to break down the command into two separate components if you’d prefer to, with the first part being the defaults write command:
defaults write com.apple.systempreferences AttentionPrefBundleIDs 0
And the second component being a refresh of the Dock by using the killall Dock command:
The end effect is the same; the red updates badge will be missing from the System Preferences dock icon in macOS.
How to Show Red Badge Icon on System Preferences in MacOS Again
Returning to the default setting which shows the red badge icon is easy, just change the 0 to 1 in the aforementioned command like so:
defaults write com.apple.systempreferences AttentionPrefBundleIDs 1 && killall Dock
Again hit Return to execute the command and the Dock will refresh, showing the red badge updates icon again.
Note this way of hiding the red icon is specific to the System Preferences red badge icon that shows when software updates are available. For other apps that show red badges, you can disable red badges for other app icons in Mac OS through Notifications preferences and you won’t need to use any terminal or command line to hide those, that can all be handled directly through the graphical user interface instead.
This trick also only pertains to modern versions of MacOS where the System Preferences are where system software updates are delivered. In earlier Mac OS X releases where system software updates were delivered from the App Store, this method will not work.
Did you hide the red badge icon for software updates in MacOS? Did you disable the red icon because you’re avoiding and ignoring the MacOS Catalina update on a Mac, or for another reason? Do you know of another approach to disabling or hiding the red badge icon on System Preferences? Share your experiences, thoughts, and comments below!