When you unlock your iPhone to maybe check a certain something that you have just received or maybe some work-related emails and the first thing you see when you are about to open the app is a red box at the top-right corner of the applications, filled with numbers. The number could be just ‘1’ to go into the thousands. We are pretty sure that iPhone users know what we are talking about but maybe you just didn’t know what to call it. Well, the simple word for the red box filled with numbers is ‘badge’ and today we are going to learn all about badges on your iPhone in detail.
At its core, badges are just a way adopted by your Apple phone to inform you how many messages, voicemails, or emails are left-unread. It could be just 1 in the case of a certain WhatsApp message that you received or it can be more than the number 10,000 (mostly in the case of emails that go unread). The number on the badges will disappear the moment you read all the unread notifications or it simply reduces in number depending on the messages or emails read.
For instance, when you open the app, the badge shows 5,987 unread emails. You go ahead and read around 50 of those. The number on the badge will automatically come down to 5,937 and keep increasing as and when you receive emails that remain unread.
Where will you see badges on your iPhone?
Badges on iPhones are located at the top-right corner of the application icons present on the Home Screen. Here is an example that can help you visualize better:
- Unlock your iPhone by using the Facelock option or by punching in the password
- Go to any application in which you have some unread notifications. For the sake of understanding, let’s take Instagram as an example. Assume that currently, your Instagram profile has 5 unread messages, and 10 notifications related to a recent picture that you posted
- The total unseen or unread notifications, in this case, would be 15
- The moment you unlock the phone and locate the Instagram app on your iPhone, you will see the number 15 written in a red circle
- Now, when you launch the app and go through all the 15 notifications and close the app, you will notice that the number 15 has disappeared
The same concept applies to all the apps that have certain notifications yet to be seen by the iPhone user.
There is another aspect of badges on the iPhone. When you see a red badge next to the Software Update or General Update option, this indicates that you have certain updates pending to be completed. Or it can even be present with the Setting icon of the home screen displaying the number of notifications that have not been seen inside the Setting app.
The badge is only visible till the time there are certain unseen notifications and it will automatically go off the screen once the notification has been attended to. However, there is another way of turning off badges on the iPhone
The steps are very simple to follow:
- Launch the Setting app on the phone
- Locate the Notifications section and click on it
- Click on any of the applications you wish to access the notification for
- Scroll down and look for Badges option
- Go ahead and toggle it off
This will take care of the red circle and its components.
Apart from just notifying you about the number of unread texts or unseen notifications, badges play an even more meaningful role in our everyday lives. They are a great way of ensuring that although we enjoy real life as it is, we also stay connected to the social world.
From the point of view of a mobile phone maker, they are an excellent marketing tool as well.
As humans, our behavior is somewhat predictable because certain attributes are common in almost all humans. These human behavior patterns inspire mobile makers like the iPhone to come up with strategies as negligible but excellent strategies to attract more consumers.
Let’s get into some of such human behaviors that have influenced the use of badges.
1- The fear of missing out is real
Well, the short form for this is FOMO and no matter how much we deny it when we live in social entertainment, FOMO kicking in is a real thing. Even scientific studies have proven a concrete link between social media engagement and FOMO.
An unread notification on a social media app is like someone trying to personally tell you ‘there is something you need to see’. Of course, out of plane curiosity or FOMO, you will subconsciously click on the notification, just exactly what it is that you are missing out on.
2- The drive to complete things
Did you know that on average, a smartphone user taps almost 2.617 times per day? This is because, as humans, we are built to complete things. Even on lazy days, the human mind is always working, thinking about the things we need to complete. The phone makers truly understand this aspect of human tendency and have leveraged it to the best of their benefit.
3- Notifications, in general, are irresistible
We have evolved driven purely by curiosity, no matter how big or small and this is exactly why alerting a user about an unread message acts as a marketing tool. It builds up curiosity amongst users and they are bound to open the app to figure out what the notification is about.
All we would like to say is badges on the iPhone or any other smart device have subtle impacts on human minds. They make our lives easier by notifying us that there is something we tend to do, but too much of anything is never good. Studies show that almost 27% of users will uninstall an application if there are too many notifications. From the user’s point of view, a person may not always have the time to see notifications leading to massive build-up and the phone starts looking too cluttered. A balance needs to be maintained from the user’s and app provider’s ends to ensure that badges remain helpful and do not become a sore to the eyes.