Since the very beginning of iOS, Apple has simply displayed a list of app icons on the screen after you unlock your device. There are no widgets or anything else, just a bunch of app icons. Apple also allowed developers to add a small number to the app icon to give users information about that particular app.

For example, the Mail app will update with the number of unread emails so you can quickly see this information without opening the app. However, this so-called “useful” information has turned into spam in my opinion. Now just about every app will show you a number on their app icon even if it’s really useless information.

app icon number

I really like Cut the Rope, but do I really care that there is one gift waiting for me in the app? Also, that gift seems to pop up every day no matter how many times I play it! And just having those numbers on the homescreen really bothers me because I’m a neat freak and want everything to be a certain way.

Luckily, there is a way to disable the ability for an app to add that number to the icon. What’s nice is that you can still get banner notifications in Notification Center and on the lock screen if you want. Thankfully, Apple has allowed fine grain control over the notifications that apps can deliver to your phone.

To get rid of the badge app icon and the annoying number for a particular app, open Settings and tap on Notification Center.

notification center

Now scroll down on the right to the app that you want to adjust the settings for. Tap on the app and you’ll see the following settings page:

badge app icon

Below the Alert Style, you’ll see the option called Badge App Icon. Go ahead and tap on the toggle button so that the option is greyed out instead of green. That’s it! Now you will no longer see that annoying number tarnishing your app icons anymore!

Also note that some apps will play a sound or vibrate your phone when the badge app icon is updated. However, if you disable the app icon, you will notice that your phone will randomly make a noise or vibrate, but you won’t see anything in Notification Center or on your lock screen. The reason is because that app was probably trying to update the badge app icon and it will play the sound even if you disabled the app icon.

So if you don’t want phantom sounds or vibrations, you should also turn off Sounds for any app that you disable the badge app icon. This secondary issue bothered me also for a long time before I was able to figure it out, so hopefully you won’t run into the same issue now. Enjoy!