Inaccurate Count: iPhone’s Unread Mails (How to Fix)

Email on phone
Email on phone

To fix the problem of incorrect unread counts in the Mail app, you can try the following solutions:

  • Restart the Mail app or reboot your iPhone.
  • Disable and re-enable mail accounts.
  • Reset Mail app settings for the affected email account.
  • Update your iOS to the latest version available.
  • Disable the mail badge.
  • If the problem continues, it is advisable to seek further assistance from Apple Support or your email service provider.

The iOS Mail app is a pre-installed Apple application for iPhones and iPads that allows users to manage and access email accounts from various providers, including iCloud Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo.

This centralized approach allows users to easily access and manage all their email accounts within a single app. However, the app is not immune to glitches, and one frustrating issue is the incorrect counting of unread emails.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of this issue and offer effective solutions to resolve it, ensuring a more seamless email experience on the iPhone.

Why Is The Unread Count Incorrect On My iPhone, Despite Having No Unread Emails?

Crossing the list
Crossing the list

The Mail app is experiencing an issue where users are unable to clear an incorrect unread count due to internal technical issues. The issue is referred to as “ghost messages” and is visually represented as a white number enclosed within a red circle-shaped box.

Users may overlook genuine unread emails, assuming they are merely a result of the glitch. Despite multiple attempts to clear the unread badge, the issue remains perplexing.

Let’s take a look at the plausible factors that can be held accountable for the incorrect unread counts:

Built-in System Bugs
These bugs can manifest in various ways, including calculation errors where the app fails to accurately determine the exact number of unread emails. Additionally, the app may experience displaying issues that result in an incorrect representation of the unread count.
Inconsistent Synchronization
Synchronization problems, which are also a subset of system bugs, can introduce inconsistencies in the unread count. These issues occur when data fails to synchronize effectively between the Mail app and the associated email accounts, leading to incorrect representations of unread messages.
Cached DataAt times, the display of an incorrect unread badge can be attributed to cached data. It is possible that outdated or previously cached data is responsible for this inconsistency in the system.
Third-party ApplicationsWhile third-party applications can offer various benefits, they can also introduce significant issues within the system software of the apps they are utilized with. If you have connected a third-party application to your Mail app, there is a potential for the emergence of an incorrect unread badge due to this association.
Filtering Settings
If you have configured email filters to direct specific emails into separate folders, it is possible that the accuracy of unread counts can be compromised.
Various factors are responsible for the incorrect unread badge

What Are The Possible Fixes To Resolve The Incorrect Unread Mail Count Issue On iPhone?

Don’t Let Unread Emails Slip Through

Emails are often overlooked, but it’s crucial to consider a human error the primary cause of technical issues. It’s more likely that a human error is the culprit than a server issue.

Thoroughly reviewing emails two or three times can help resolve unread messages or confirm the problem is unrelated to any mistake made.

Update Your Device

Illustration of system upgrade
Illustration of system upgrade

Whenever you encounter any issues with your device or the apps you use, it is important to consider the possibility of an outdated software version. To address this, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Settings on your device.
  2. Scroll down and select “General.”
  3. Tap on “Software Updates.”
  4. Check if an update is available. If there is, ensure you have a stable Wi-Fi connection.
  5. Click on “Install Now” to initiate the update process.

This method has been known to successfully resolve many similar issues, ensuring a more stable and up-to-date system for your device and apps.

Restart Your App

After confirming that your own actions are not responsible for the incorrect unread count and verifying that there are no unread messages or updates available, it’s time to resort to basic troubleshooting fixes. One of the most obvious steps is to force quit the app.

  1. Open your mail app.
  2. Go back to the home screen either by using the home bar or by swiping the app upwards.
  3. Double-click the home button to view all the apps you have used.
  4. Swipe up on the mail app’s preview to close the app.
  5. Open the app again, and with any luck, your problem will be resolved.

If the issue persists despite forcing you to quit the app, don’t worry, as there are other methods we can explore.

Reboot Your Phone

How to fix iPhone unread mail counter

Another commonly recommended fix for troubleshooting is to reboot your device. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Locate the power button on your iPhone, typically located on the side of the device.
  2. Press and hold the power button until you see a slider on the screen.
  3. Slide the power-off slider to turn off your phone.
  4. Once your device is completely powered off, press and hold the side button again.
  5. Continue holding the side button until you see the Apple logo appear.

If you encounter difficulties while trying to reboot your device using the above method, you can try a force restart:

  1. Press and quickly release the volume-up button.
  2. Press and quickly release the volume-down button.
  3. Press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears.

TIP: It is advisable to exercise patience and wait for at least 30 seconds to a minute before turning your device back on.

Disable And Re-enable Mail Accounts

Disabling and re-enabling mail accounts can be advantageous as it allows for data resynchronization, which can potentially correct the incorrect unread count.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to your phone settings.
  2. Navigate to either “Passwords & Accounts” or directly access the “Mail” settings.
  3. Locate the specific mail account that displays the incorrect unread count and disable it.
  4. Give it some time for the changes to take effect.
  5. Optionally, restart your phone or remove the mail app and settings from the preview tab to further resolve the issue.

If you still encounter a persistent problem, there is another quick and similar method available to assist you.

Set Up The Affected Account from Scratch

This approach has proven effective for many individuals who did not find a resolution using the previous methods.

Follow these steps:

  1. Go to your device settings.
  2. Navigate to the “Mail” settings.
  3. Select “Accounts” and locate the affected account that displays the incorrect unread count.
  4. Delete the affected account.
  5. Wait for a brief period.
  6. Set up the account again.

Disable The Unread Badge

Unread email badge
Unread email badge

If the issue persists despite trying other troubleshooting methods or if you’re pressed for time and bothered by the presence of the incorrect unread badge, you can temporarily disable the badges. Here’s how:

  1. Go to your device settings.
  2. Navigate to the “Notifications” section.
  3. Find the option for mail badges or app badges.
  4. Disable the badges specifically for the mail app.

By doing this, you will no longer see the unnecessary incorrect unread count badge. This way, you can alleviate the frustration caused by the incorrect badge while waiting for a more permanent solution or when you’re unable to invest additional time into troubleshooting the issue.

If the issue persists, consider reaching out to Apple Support or your email service provider for further assistance.


  • The built-in Mail app is a native application developed by Apple for iOS devices that allows users to handle multiple accounts from different providers.
  • The Mail app may display an incorrect unread badge for several reasons, including:
    1. Syncing issues between the app and the email server
    2. Cached data that hasn’t been properly updated.
    3. Email filters that redirect messages into specific folders
    4. Internal system bugs that affect the calculation or display of the unread count.
    5. Interference from third-party apps connected to the Mail app
  • To fix the issue of incorrect unread mail in the built-in Mail app on an iPhone, you can try the following steps: restart the Mail app or reboot your iPhone; disable and re-enable mail accounts; reset Mail app settings; and update your iOS.

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