The Case for ‘Mark as Unread’ in Messages

Matthew Bischoff:

“Mark as Unread” has been so successful and well-loved in email that it’s been copied by many messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. And its utility in a casual messaging context is much the same in the slightly more formal email context.

As Tine Welanly put it on Quora:

Let’s say you’re riding the bus and you open a message from a friend, maybe asking you about your plans for the weekend. You have to respond to that but maybe it’s your stop already or you don’t know yet. But if you don’t say anything now, you might forget to respond and then you’ll look like a bad friend. Not to mention you might miss out on some weekend fun.

But the most popular messaging app on iOS, Messages, has never implemented “Mark as Unread” even though users have been clamoring for it for years and it’s been rumored that they tested it. What’s even wilder is that iMessage doesn’t have any other in-app way for the user to signal that they need to return to a message in order to respond to it.

A big +1 from me for this request. I love Messages. I know there are a bunch of ways Apple could and should improve it, but I can’t think any single feature that I want more than “Mark as Unread”.

A situation I run into, somewhat frequently: I get a notification from Messages and tap it. Turns out it’s a message that will require a longer reply, or some sort of action on my part that I can’t or don’t want to do right now — like something I need to do on a Mac, but I’m using my iPhone. But the message has already been marked as read.

Friday, 21 January 2022