Decoding the Blue Dot: What it Means Next to Your Contacts Name and How to Remove it

Last updated on January 17th, 2024

Ever glanced at your phone and noticed a mysterious blue dot next to one of your contact’s name? I’ve been there and I know how puzzling it can be. It’s a common feature on many platforms, but what does it really mean?

This blue dot is not just a decorative element. It’s there for a reason, serving a specific purpose. In this article, we’ll search into the significance of this blue dot, why it appears, and what it’s trying to tell you. So, if you’ve been scratching your head over this, stay tuned for some enlightening insights.

What does the blue dot mean?

Why exactly does this blue dot show up next to my contact’s name?

The blue dot is nothing more than a visual indicator. Its purpose is to let you know that there’s something new with this contact that you haven’t seen or interacted with yet. It’s an alert, a ping of sorts asking for your attention. Now, the ‘something new’ might vary based on the platform you’re using. If you’re experiencing this on an email platform like Gmail, the blue dot signifies an unread message from that specific contact.

Alternatively, on platforms like Microsoft Teams, it indicates that a new status update or message is awaiting your attention. For a majority of social media platforms, the primary purpose remains the same: To indicate unread or unattended notifications associated with that specific contact. In a tech tidal wave, inundated with a million notifications a day, these tiny blue indicators can be your life-raft. Regardless of whether it’s an unread email, unresponded chat, or a pending status update, the blue dot has got you covered. In other words, it’s your secret weapon to tackle the information overload!

Platforms that use the blue dot

Across multiple platforms, the blue dot next to a contact’s name performs a critical role. Essentially, it’s a visual marker, a digital nudge to indicate there’s some fresh activity related to this person that you may want to check out. The actions triggering the blue dot’s appearance can differ from one platform to another, but the underlying concept remains the same – the alerting to new content.

Apple’s mobile operating system – iOS, for instance, prominently uses the blue dot. Whenever there’s a new app update or a completely new app installed, iOS places a blue dot next to the app name. Similarly, in Apple’s Mail and Messages app, if there’s a new message from a contact, a blue dot will appear next to the contact’s name until the message is read.

But, the use of the blue dot isn’t an Apple-only phenomenon. Facebook, the widely-used social media platform, also has its unique application of the blue dot. Within Facebook’s interface, a blue dot might show next to a friend’s name in the chat section. It indicates that the particular contact has posted something new on their timeline. Additionally, a blue dot might appear next to groups as a new post icon.

Similarly, LinkedIn, the professional networking platform, utilizes the blue dot in its messaging interface. Unread messages from your connections get marked with a blue dot.

The adoption doesn’t stop at social media platforms either. Email platforms like Google’s Gmail trigger the appearance of a blue dot next to emails that have not yet been opened.

Additionally, two more platforms I’d like to mention are Microsoft Teams and Slack. Both of these collaboration tools utilize a blue dot to designate unviewed content, whether it’s newly shared files, unattended notifications, or unread direct messages.

The diversity of platforms using blue dots for different yet closely related functions illustrates the universal relevance of this design approach. It’s an easy, intuitively-understood signal that helps users navigate today’s information-dense digital environments.

How does the blue dot appear?

Perhaps you’ve caught yourself wondering: how does this little blue dot appear next to a contact’s name? Well, the process is systematic, and honestly, quite fascinating.

Once you get a new notification associated with a contact, a sequence of events initiates. The platform, whether that’s iOS, Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, Microsoft Teams, or Slack, recognizes this new data point. Through its established algorithms, it’s determined that this information is new and requires your attention. Here’s where the blue dot comes into play: the platform updates the user interface to include this tiny but crucial visual cue next to the relevant contact.

You must be curious about the duration of this blue dot. The good news is, it’s not permanent, not at all! It stays there until you interact with the new data—could be reading that unread message, acknowledging a fresh status update or notification. As soon as you do, the platform updates once again to remove the dot, signifying you’re up-to-date.

Whether you’re a user of chat applications like Slack or Microsoft Teams, a fervent LinkedIn professional, an energetic Facebook socialite, living off your Gmail inbox, or stuck to your iOS device, the blue dot is your dependable navigator. It ensures you’re never overwhelmed, and importantly, never miss out on the action.

So, the next time you see that small blue dot next to a contact’s name, remember the chain of events that had taken place. From the reception of new data, the systematic analysis by the platform’s algorithms, to the visual update on your screen—all happening in a matter of seconds, just for your convenience. Quite impressive, don’t you think?

Dive deeper into our next section, where I’ll demystify this universal design approach’s effectiveness and why it’s an absolute necessity in our digital lives.

Possible reasons for the blue dot

The blue dot next to your contact’s name might signify several different things. Its interpretation largely depends on the platform in use. Let’s take some time to understand a few possible reasons why you might be seeing this blue dot.

Largely, the blue dot signifies unread notifications. For instance, if your contact sends you a message that you’ve not read yet, a blue dot may appear next to their name. Other reasons could be missed calls or unseen status updates.

Often, new updates or features introduced by the platform might also be signified by the same blue dot. It’s a way for the app’s UI to catch your attention and show you around what’s new!

Sometimes, the blue dot’s appearance has nothing to do with notifications or updates but signifies online activity. Its appearance might indicate that the person is currently active on that platform, allowing you to understand their online status. Social media platforms frequently employ this usage.

Remember, the interpretation of the blue dot can change based on the app’s settings, updates, or even your device’s operation system versions. That’s why it’s always handy to be updated with the latest app versions. It not only keeps you synced with the freshest features but also ensures you are interpreting these small user interface signals correctly.

How to remove the blue dot

Let’s get to the chase now – how to remove that blue dot next to your contact’s name. It’s not as tricky as you might think. With a few simple steps, you can quickly get rid of that.

Firstly, on social networking and communication apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Instagram, the blue dot can often be eliminated by simply tapping onto the contact’s name or conversation. By doing so, you’re essentially marking the notification or message as “read” which in turn takes away the blue dot.

Perhaps you’re looking to get rid of the dot on an email app like Outlook or Gmail. In this case, opening the unread email and scanning through the message should do the trick. Don’t want to read so much? A quick solution would be marking the message as “read” without having to open it.

Let’s talk about real-time status indicators like those in Skype or Microsoft Teams. Here the blue dot signifies the person is online. You can’t quite remove this kind of blue dot. Why? It’s a dynamic symbol, changing according to your contact’s online status. So, it will disappear when the person goes offline.

How about system-wide notifications like on iOS? You’ll see blue dots next to an app when it has been updated. To remove this blue dot, either you open the app and check out the updates or go to the settings and turn off the ‘app update notification‘ setting.

Lastly, for missed calls and voicemails, simply checking them will also remove the blue dot.

Each app and platform has its own settings and preferences, so the exact steps may vary a bit. Dig around in the settings if you’re having a hard time finding the right option. Remember, staying updated with the latest versions of software and applications is crucial to correctly navigate and interpret these user interface indicators.

FAQs on Blue Dot Next to Contact Names

What does the blue dot next to a contact’s name signify?

The blue dot next to a contact’s name signifies unperused notifications, messages or updates. In real-time status indicators like Skype or Microsoft Teams, it indicates that the person is currently online.

How can I remove the blue dot next to a contact’s name in social networking and communication apps?

In social networking and communication apps, you can eliminate the blue dot by tapping on the contact’s name or conversation.

How can I remove the blue dot in email apps?

For email apps, you can remove the blue dot by opening the unread email or marking it as “read”.

Can the blue dot beside real-time status indicators be removed?

The blue dot cannot be removed from real-time status indicators like those in Skype or Microsoft Teams, as it signifies that the person is online.

How do I remove system-wide notifications on iOS?

System-wide notifications on iOS can be removed by either checking for app updates or turning off the ‘app update notification’ setting in the settings.

How can checking missed calls and voicemails help?

Checking your missed calls and voicemails can help in removing the blue dot next to a contact’s name.

Why is it important to stay updated with the latest software and application versions?

Staying updated with the latest software and application versions helps you correctly interpret these user interface indicators, ensuring optimal use of the applications.


So there you have it. The blue dot next to a contact’s name isn’t as mysterious as it first seems. It’s a handy tool, helping you stay on top of unread messages, missed calls, and app updates. Remember, for social networks and communication apps, just tap on the contact or conversation.

For emails, open them or mark them as read. Can’t get rid of it on Skype or Teams? That’s because it’s showing you who’s online. And those pesky iOS notifications? Check your app updates or switch off the setting. It’s all about staying current and understanding these UI indicators. Keep your software and apps updated, and you’ll never be left wondering about that blue dot again.

By John Routledge

Founder and owner of - I'm an avid tech junkie, a lover of new gadgets and home automation. You will often find me reading, writing, and learning about new technologies. I've been featured in many leading technology magazines where I've written about my favorite topics.