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WhatsApp's potential solution for too many unread messages is a double-edged sword

The IM app could soon let you clear your unread messages counter every time you open the app.
By

Published onMay 21, 2024

WhatsApp logo on smartphone next to everyday accessories Stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • WhatsApp is working on a new setting that will allow users to clear their unread message count whenever they open the app.
  • This will help users with hundreds of unread messages, giving them a cleaner app icon without actually needing to open all unread chat conversations.
  • However, we can see the feature leading to many important messages getting missed, so user discretion would be advised if and when the feature rolls out.

WhatsApp remains one of the most popular instant messaging apps worldwide. Many people use it for practically all of their communication, both personal and professional, sending and receiving hundreds of messages daily in the process. If you are further part of several groups and channels, WhatsApp can get overwhelming with this much activity, and you’ll soon find yourself overrun with unread messages. For those of you who frequently find yourself in this unenviable position, this upcoming WhatsApp feature that automatically clears your unread chat counter could save you from quite some anxiety.

According to a report from WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is exploring a new settings option that would allow users to clear their unread message count whenever they open the app.

I can certainly see this feature being useful for several people who have hundreds and even thousands of unread messages. This feature would be a quick fix for them, letting their app never reach that many unread messages ever again.

But I also see the real possibility of the feature clearing important conversations from their unread state, which could cause you to not open the chat again (since you won’t see a new message indicator and know that you have to read the important messages). This feature certainly would be a double-edged sword.

Instead, I recommend that users who run into thousands of unread messages trim their unnecessary conversations (like leaving groups and channels they don’t use) or periodically open select chats to clear their unread counters. A blanket feature like this may have more drawbacks than advantages.

From my understanding, this feature will not mark the chat as read, so you won’t get a blue tick for reading the message. It will clear the unread message count, so you won’t get an unread counter on your main chat screen and app icon.

This feature is expected to go live in a future release of WhatsApp. Thankfully, it’s a toggle, so you can turn it off if you don’t like it.

What are your thoughts on this upcoming WhatsApp feature? Let us know in the comments below!

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