The case of the disappearing dates on iPhones & iPads

This is a quirky topic that I've written about in detail before but when I spotted an instance of it the other day 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 the customer 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 were out and about were all using iPhones and iPads for their mail, and the in-built mail app.

I ran a little test of my own (with my own words!) to explain.

Working on the email in the NewZapp editor, my email looks like this in 'Mobile view':

My email in the NewZapp editor

But when viewed on an iPhone (this screen grab is a 4s), something's missing:

The date in my email is hidden on my iPhone

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. If you own a device like this you will have probably already noticed that phone numbers also appear as links, as a means for you to quickly add it to your contacts.

It's actually worth noticing how it's not only hiding "Wednesday 15th August" but also the word "this" which preceded it (did I mention how clever these devices are?!)

On the face of it, the fact that a date becomes a link isn't in itself a problem in my opinion, but with this template the default setting for text links is to colour them Dark Blue to match the branding - hence the disappearing act!

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.

Here I set a new default link colour that's enough of a contrast to the Dark Blue to show up when on an iPhone or iPad, but can still be seen on White:

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 edited to Dark Blue easily as this is a link that was made in the editor.

And don't forget whilst you might also get a cheeky little prompt in the Gmail application on desktop, the date will show as regular plain White text in other readers.

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