iOS 7 mail and email marketingApple’s biggest update to its mobile operating system, iOS, has now been out in the wild for several weeks and the adoption rate is pretty impressive. During a recent event, CEO Tim Cook claimed that the adoption rate (the percentage of users who had upgraded to the seventh iteration of the operating system) had hit 64%. That’s impressive, but it also means there are literally millions of people out there getting to grips with some radically-different software.

A huge part of iOS is its mail client. We already know that mobile email consumption is climbing faster than ever, therefore, as email marketers, we need to be in tune with any significant changes to the clients on which subscribers are viewing our emails.

It is thought that Apple’s mobile email client has a market share of 25%, making it the most popular in the world. The redesign represents quite a radical overhaul, most notably the use of a ‘flat’ user interface which relies less on real-world-like animations to make the user feel at home.

So, what implications could iOS 7’s email application have on email marketing?

Before you start reading – don’t panic: it’s good news.

What’s different?

Fortunately for email designers, although the user interface is particularly different, the coding behind the scenes isn’t. Apple’s mobile email client has always been regarded as one of the best in terms of support HTML and CSS. Nothing has changed there. The app may look significantly different, but the same rendering engine which makes your emails shine is still very much present.

There’s just one thing some people have noticed. It relates to an issue with Mail adding margins to either side of responsive emails. This creates padding between each side and the edge of the screen and isn’t always desirable. It doesn’t appear this is a wide spread issue, but it will be worth testing your mobile-ready email on an iOS 7 device to see if yours are affected. There’s a quick fix which any email marketing client provider worth their salt (for example, mailingmanager), should be able to implement for you.

There are some side effects of the visual redesign. Apple implemented a thinner typeface throughout iOS 7, and Mail of courses uses that font throughout it’s presentation of emails. To account for the thinner font, Apple increased the text size slightly. This is most apparent in the inbox view, as you’ll note that fewer characters are displayed in the email preview, below the subject. Not the end of the world, ¬†but it again emphasises how important those first few lines of content are:

iOS 7 inbox

Aside from that, you’ll also note that links are displayed in a slightly lighter blue in the email body. I wouldn’t get too hung up about that, though…

User interaction

So, we’ve established that the rendering of emails hasn’t changed too much. But what about the user? How do they interact with the new client? As you’d expect, none of this will change the way in which you design your emails but the good news is Apple’s efforts to improve the work flow of email management could make the lives of your subscribers far easier when receiving your messages on the move:

  • New gesture controls allow the user to easily swipe back to their inbox (or whatever the previous screen was) by drawing their finger across the screen from the left edge of the device. Swiping from the right now allows them to delete or archive emails quickly. It’s a departure from previous controls, but feels very natural after a short time.
  • Apple have improved the search functionality by making it faster and more comprehensive – you can search for far more attributes and look to the server if you can’t find what you want on your device.
  • New categorisation features enable users to group emails together based on things like whether or not they contain an attachment.

Testing with mailingmanager

The good news is, if you use mailingmanager as your email marketing client, it offers a fantastic feature which enables you to test the deliverability and display of your email in any email client, including iOS Mail. I highly recommend making use of this whenever you send, but with the release of an update like iOS 7, testing is ever more important. mailingmanager allows you to preview just how your email will look in Mail, it’ll pick out pieces of code which won’t work and even offer some tips and tricks on improving your message.

Summary

In conclusion, the iOS Mail application is still as brilliant as it has always been at rendering and displaying emails. This is great news for email marketers, as is the increased interaction users can have with emails. Email designers don’t have to do a thing – your emails will look just as good as before on iPads and iPhones.

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Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

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