What Does the Number Badge Mean on Microsoft Edge Icon?

May 5, 2024 - 4 Comments

Mysterious badge number on Edge icon in MacOS Dock

Using Microsoft Edge as the default browser on MacOS has been a mostly positive experience, for speed, utility, access to GPT-4, and other neat features. But it’s also not without some degree of confusion, like wondering what on earth the number badge icon on the Edge icon in the Mac Dock means.

One key component of my experience using many modern software products from Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others, is befuddlement about various user interface (UI) elements, and user experience (UX) design decisions (*cough* System Settings *cough*). Microsoft Edge is no different in this regard, where some UI/UX things make obvious sense right away, some are kind of suggestive but still uncertain (like like wondering what the blue underlines mean – turns out that’s a grammar check feature), while some other things are a complete and total mystery. The confusing numerical badge shown on the Microsoft Edge Dock icon in MacOS falls into the latter category – a mysterious number with no clear relationship to anything in the app.

Is it notifications or push notifications?

No, the badge number on the Edge icon is not push notifications, or notifications in general. I have notifications disabled for Microsoft Edge at a system level (and within the browser itself), and the badge number still appears.

All notifications disabled in Edge

Nonetheless some users wrongfully guess that the badge number indicates something about notifications, but it’s not always that as we can see here.

Nobody seems to know what the number icon is, so people just make their best guess.

Is it downloads?

No, the number badge on the Edge icon is not downloads, completed downloads, active downloads, or attempted downloads. I only have four downloads in Microsoft Edge, but my Edge icon badge has the number ’27’ showing on it. 27 what? Who knows!

The badge icon does not match the downloads list in Edge

After wondering this myself, and searching around even more, it’s pretty clear that despite various erroneous answers including on Microsoft’s own website, nobody actually knows what the number badge indicates in Microsoft Edge for MacOS – including people on Microsoft’s own Answers website. Helpful!

A hint from the Badging API

The best lead I’ve found in trying to determine just what the mystery number badge on the Edge icon is coming from… Google Chrome (this makes more sense than you might initially assume, because Edge is built on Chromium) and the Chrome Badging API.

Microsoft attempts to explain a bit about “notifications badging” in a blog post where they use a bunch of acronyms that are not defined in the article (like PWA, which apparently means Progressive Web App, which I had to google separately because defining acronyms in a blog post about a feature referencing the acronyms would be too much), stating things like “With the latest version of Microsoft Edge, PWAs and pinned sites can now display badges as well”, and they later state “Users must also opt into receiving notifications from the site” which is significant to me because I have absolutely never opted-in to receiving any notifications from anywhere or any site in Microsoft Edge. And, as mentioned above, I have notifications of all types disabled in Edge.

Investigating even further, you can find more wrong answers on user Q&A sites (no, it’s not downloads!), and on Google’s Chrome Support site you will also find people confused by number badges appearing on the Chrome icon, which at least in Chrome may indicate notifications or downloads, but also on the the Chrome Help site you will find people complaining that the badge icon shows a number that they can’t get rid of. And by the way, there are posts with similar questions about the Chrome icon going back many years (again with people assigning the number to downloads, which we know is not the case), so maybe this is an age-old riddle that nobody seems to have conclusively figured out.

Is it a bug? Is it a plane? Is it Superman?!

So maybe the mystery badge icon and mystery badge number is a bug in Microsoft Edge (or maybe even Chromium?) whereby some notification attempt is showing up on the Dock icon for Edge, but is not actionable anywhere within the browser itself?

I still haven’t figured this out, but some sort of icon display bug related to the Badging API is my best guess at the moment.

Do YOU know what the Edge icon badge number means?

If you know definitively what the heck the Microsoft Edge Dock icon badge numbers mean, let us know in the comments, and please, provide sources so that I can verify and make sense of it!


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Posted by: Jamie Cuevas in Troubleshooting


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  1. david watts says:

    Interesting. No idea about a M’soft Number badge, but I want to note that while your example of the Edge icon shows the circular swirl symbol sitting on a white square background, mine is the simple blue round Edge swirl sitting by itself on the Dock – no square background or frame at all. I have OS X 14, and my Edge is version 80. The icons for my Chrome and my T’bird both sit on white squares.

  2. John says:

    Some have indicated it represents a work account but I have also read on Microsoft’s own help forums that it is still showing notifications even if you have them turned off. So maybe a bug? Leave it to Microsoft to not know how to properly make their products work on other platforms.

  3. Franky says:

    The worst browser in the universe. WHY!

    • Arthur says:

      Why do you think Edge is the worst? It’s built on the same engine as Chrome, but has more features and more privacy (and more junk to turn off too)

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