How to Mark Texts and iMessages as Unread on Your iPhone, iPad, or Mac « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks


We’ve been able to mark all or some conversations as unread in Apple’s Messages app since iOS 8. Eight years later, Apple is finally allowing us to mark individual texts and iMessage chats as unread.

Try to remember how many times you opened a new message and didn’t immediately reply to it, either because you weren’t ready or because you were distracted. If you don’t have time to respond when you first read it, chances are you’ll completely forget about it. Marking messages as unread is an effective way to combat this problem.

It’s pretty crazy that Apple just made marking messages unread a feature, considering it’s been eight years since we could mark messages as read, 11 years since iMessage arrived , 13 years since the incorporation of MMS and 15 years since the iPhone. launched with SMS support.

Better late than never.

You can mark messages as unread from iOS 16, and it also works on iPadOS 16 and macOS 13 Ventura. If you’ve turned on iCloud for Messages, anything you mark as unread on one device will appear as unread on your other iCloud-connected devices.

1. Mark Messages as Unread on iPhone and iPad

With iOS 16 or iPadOS 16, it’s easy to mark any read message or conversation as unread, and there are several ways to do so. From your chat list:

  • Swipe right on the chat you want to mark as unread. You can partially drag it and press the Mark as Unread button or drag it off the screen to mark it automatically.
  • Long press the chat and choose “Mark as unread” from the quick actions.
  • Tap ‘Edit’ or the ellipsis (•••) at the top, choose ‘Select posts’, tick one or more threads and tap ‘Unread’ at the bottom.

Apple previously used the swipe right gesture to pin conversations. To pin chats now, long press the chat and select “Pin” or drag and drop the chat to the top of the list.

To mark as unread, swipe right (left), long press (middle), or select messages (right).

To isolate the list of conversations only from your unread messages, you must enable message filtering. Go to Settings -> Messages, and you should see a “Filter unknown senders” switch under Message filtering. If you have installed apps that can filter SMS, tap “Unknown & spam” to find “Filter unknown senders”. Make sure the switch is on and the “Edit” button in the chat list will now be a “Filters” menu. Tap on it and select “Unread messages” to see only those.

When filters are enabled, tap “Filters” (left) and choose “Unread messages” (right).

To mark an unread conversation as read from your conversations list:

  • Swipe right on the chat you want to mark as read. You can partially drag it and press the Mark as Read button or drag it off the screen to mark it automatically.
  • Long press the chat and choose “Mark as read” from the quick actions. (You could already do this before iOS 16.)
  • Tap ‘Edit’ or the ellipsis (•••) at the top, choose ‘Select posts’, then tap ‘Read all’ at the bottom or check one or more threads and tap ‘Read’ instead . (You could already do this before iOS 16.)

2. Mark Messages as Unread on Mac

Like in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, the Messages app for macOS 13 Ventura lets you mark messages as unread. Simply right-click (or Ctrl-click) on the read chat in the chat list, then click “Mark as unread”.

To mark unread messages as read, you do the same thing: right-click (or Ctrl-click) the unread chat in the chat list and click “Mark as read”.

Bonus Tip: Ask Siri to Read Your Unread Messages

Life can be busy, and if you never want to forget a vital text again, you can mark your messages as unread throughout the day and ask Siri to read them to you all at the same time. Just say “Hey Siri, read my unread messages” and hear every unread text and who it’s from. After reading each one, Siri will ask you if you want to reply, and you can dictate and send your reply.




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Cover photo and screenshots by Jovana Naumovski/Gadget Hacks


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Steven L. Nielsen