The case of the disappearing dates on iPhones & iPads

Posted on October 1, 2016 at 2:43 pm Written by

Disappearing dates on iPhones & iPads is a quirky topic that I’ve written about in detail before but I thought it might be worth mentioning again for anyone who’s not familiar with a friendly little quirk that you’ll find when viewing emails on iOS (Apple) devices.

A customer emailed me to say she had a mystery on her hands. She’d sent an invitation email out to the company database but she was getting reports back from team members out in the field that the date was missing – and asking when the event was.

This was a puzzle as she had taken particular care in making sure the date was in the headline area, nice and bold, “you really can’t miss it”.

We chatted further and the members of the team who had contacted her could be identified in her Campaign Report as iPhone and iPad users. So I run a little test of my own to explore and explain.

Working on the email in the editor, it looks like this in mobile view:

My email in the NewZapp editor

But when viewed on an iPhone, by means of their in-built mail app, something’s missing:

The date in my email is not visible on iPhones


What’s happening is that the helpful little operating system is converting the date text into a link to make it easy for you to click (tap) and add the date to your personal calendar. The default link colour for this template (as can be seen in the text on a white background) is Dark Blue, so once the date is converted to a link – it merges into the background colour and becomes invisible. At the point where I was editing my email, and added the date, the text wasn’t a link – it was just plain text. So in this situation a change to the template’s settings will solve the issue. We can set a brighter/lighter Blue as the default link colour and this will work both on a dark and on a white background.

Oh and by the way, it’s actually worth noticing how in my screen shot it’s not only “Wednesday 15th August” that’s hidden, but also the word “this” which preceded it (did I mention how clever these devices are?!):

With a contrasting link colour the date is visible


If the link colour was a bit bright for your tastes on the White background then this could be changed to Dark Blue easily. As this is a link that was made in the editor its possible to take control of qualities such as its colour.

What about desktop emails?

Dates show in their original colour format on desktop emails, no link attached.

What about phone numbers?

Yep, just like dates, phone numbers will also appear as links on iOS devices, as a means for recipients to call you or add you to their contacts. When we create a bespoke template for you to use in the NewZapp editor we’ll always take this into account. We make sure that if your template includes a phone number it can be clearly seen, and easily saved or called, by your subscribers on their iOS device. If adding a phone number yourself to an email, keep this iOS behaviour in mind (especially if you’re adding the number onto a dark background colour) and if you can, it’s worth sending a test to a variety of email applications and devices before sending to your database.

If you have any questions on the way I tested this example, or strange yet beautiful examples of your own (remember there’s no such thing as ugly emails, only misunderstood ones 😉 then please contact me via Twitter @NettyWest


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