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To help you estimate the resources needed to process your queued messages, Amazon SQS can provide you with an approximate number of messages in a queue. You can view the number of messages that are visible or you can view the number of messages that are not visible. For more information about visibility, see Visibility Timeout.
Because of the distributed architecture of Amazon SQS, the result is not an exact count of the number of messages in a queue. In most cases it should be close to the actual number of messages in the queue, but you should not rely on the count being precise.
The following table lists the API action to use.