How to Mark iMessage as Unread on iPhone (iOS 16)

You can now mark iMessages as unread so that you can remember to respond at a better time. Here’s everything you need to know about unread messages.

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

There are many reasons why you may wish to mark a message as unread. I like to do it when I read it but don’t have time to answer right away. If I leave it marked as read, chances are I’ll forget to answer later. Let me show you how to mark an iMessage as unread on your iPhone!

Why You’ll Love This Tip

  • Don't worry about forgetting to respond; marking a message as unread reminds you to respond.
  • Avoid uncomfortable situations caused by forgetting to respond to an important text.
  • View all unread messages together in the Unread Messages inbox.

How to Mark a Text as Unread

iOS 16 makes it possible to mark texts as unread just like you would in the Mail app so that you remember to respond at a more appropriate time. Before you can do this, make sure you have updated to iOS 16. This will not work with any older operating systems. To learn more valuable iPhone tips, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter! To mark an iMessage as unread:

  1. Open the Messages app.

    Open the Messages app.
  2. Swipe from left to right over the conversation thread you wish to mark as unread.

    Swipe right over the conversation thread you wish to mark as unread.
  3. Tap the Messages icon with a notification badge.

    Tap the Messages icon with a notification badge.
  4. The message will now be marked with a blue dot.

    The message will now be marked with a blue dot.
  5. You will also see the notification badge over your Messages app (unless you have a Focus mode on and you have toggled on Hide Notification Badges).

    You will also see the notification badge over your Messages app

If you want to mark a pinned text thread in the Message app, tap and hold (long-press) the circle with the contact’s name(s) then tap Mark as Unread

If you want to mark a pinned text thread in the Message app, tap and hold (long-press) the circle with the contact’s name(s) then tap Mark as Unread. 

Pro Tip: A faster way to mark a message as unread is to quickly swipe from left to right in step 2. You have to do it really quickly and it may take a few tries to get the hang of the right speed and motion. Don't worry, if you swipe the wrong way, you won't accidentally delete or archive the message.

Now you can also view these messages in the Unread Messages inbox in the Messages app. The recipient will still see the message as read on their end. Even though it is now possible to mark text threads as unread on your end, as long as the message is open, it will show as ‘read’ to the sender unless you have your Send Read Receipts toggled off.
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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life who lives in Hawaii. With a BA in International Relations from Anglo American University, Olena traveled the world. She has lived in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, China, and the USA. Olena won an excellence award for a controversial article, got a grant to blog from a war-zone, and published a short fictional story. She hopes to publish a full-length novel and continue writing up a storm on her blog The Travel Bug Bite! When she’s not typing or flying, she is loving on animals, crafting bizarre creations, and devouring all-you-can-eat sushi.