Apple iOS Bug is Blocking Hyperlinks in Text Messages

Apple iOS Bug is Blocking Hyperlinks in Text Messages

During the last couple weeks we’ve heard from multiple people that when they receive a hyperlink in one of their text messages, they aren’t able to click on the hyperlink. This is happening because their mobile phones are displaying the hyperlink as plain text, meaning it’s not clickable.

This topic is different from how mobile marketers can either get Apple iOS to preview a hyperlink, or to not preview a hyperlink in their text messages. To read more about this topic, click here.

Earlier this week we determined this issue was only affecting iPhone users running iOS, but we were unable to replicate the issue, and trust us, we tried… and tried… and tried. Tonight though after continued testing, we finally figured out why some iPhone iOS users aren’t able to click on the hyperlinks in the text messages they’re receiving.

In Apple’s latest iOS, 10.3.2, a user is unable to click on a hyperlink in a text message if the following happens…

  • The user when they receive the text message, is already within another existing text message conversation. This can either mean the user is looking at another conversation, or engaging in another conversation.
  • The text message is sent from either a long code or short code, and there are no previous messages stored on that user’s mobile phone from that long code or short code. Either that long code or short code hasn’t text messaged that user ever before, or the user has deleted the previous text messages from that long code or short code off their mobile phone.
  • Then instead of exiting out of the existing text message conversation, and opening the new text message, the user clicks the pop-up that appears after receiving the new text message, that then immediately takes them to the text message they just received.

I know… Super confusing! To hopefully make it a little easier to understand, I made the following videos to show you when this can occur. As I said above, it can happen when you’re messaging back and forth with someone (left video), or even when you’re just looking at a text message (right video).


Now that we know what is causing users not to be able to click on hyperlinks in text messages, the question is what can mobile marketers do. After discussing this issue with our client services team tonight, we came up with a pretty good solution, that until Apple fixes this bug, will at least allow your users to get to wherever you’re trying to link them to.

The solution is to include something like the following text copy in your text messages with hyperlinks. This text copy can be placed either after the hyperlink, or at the very end of your text message.

“Not able to click on the link? Reply RESEND”

Then when a user replies with the SMS keyword “RESEND”, you either re-send the entire text message to them, or just the hyperlink. By resending the text message to the user, the user will be able to click on the links in that text message, because they will have received a previous message from your long code or short code.

Apple iOS Bug is Blocking Hyperlinks in Text Messages 2    Apple iOS Bug is Blocking Hyperlinks in Text Messages 3

We’ve contact Apple regarding this bug, and will update our readers when this issue is resolved. In the meantime, if you have any other ideas of how to work around this bug, please let us know in the comments below.

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  • Magued Idris

    Hi, Got any news about this issue? Have the same problem here in Sweden.

  • No updates yet, sorry.

  • Magued Idris

    How about sending a pre message the day before telling the customer they will get a offer tomorrow. Would that make the link appear on the main sms?

  • Yes, but you don’t know if they’ll delete the first message after they get it. If they delete it, then they wouldn’t be able to click on the link in the second message, if they were viewing another message when they receive the second message.

  • Magued Idris

    Also it seem to work if you put your finger on the message for a couple of seconds. Then the blue link appear. But its a hassle to explain that in a message.

  • Daafram Campbell

    Thanks Derek for all the work you and your team put into researching and providing answers to this problem. The bug is really affecting our apps deliver method, so hopefully Apple will fix the bug. It’s very annoying!

  • Thanks for the comment, and yes, hopefully they can resolve this issue ASAP!

  • Antonie Geerts

    Seems in IOS 11 this is still an issue

  • Jamie Johnson

    The bug is still there!

  • Yea I know, so annoying! Have you seen this one too:

  • Sean Thomas

    Try adding the short-code / long-code as a contact. Seems to be an intended apple security implementation.

  • Iman Diaz

    What worked for me was putting the URL in a completely separate SMS all by itself