Now Available: iOS 7 Testing + Impact to Email Designers

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With an email client market share of 25%, Apple’s mobile Mail app is the most popular email client in the world. When Apple released the latest version of their operating system on September 18th, many users wondered how iOS 7 would impact their email experience. iOS 7 was a radical overhaul of the entire operating system. Most notably, the new “flat” visual design was a drastic departure from previous versions of iOS, which relied on rich graphics and skeuomorphism to lead users around.

A skeuomorph is something that retains anachronistic design elements which were integral to the original but are no longer necessary.

So what, if any, implications does the new iOS have for the email marketing community?

What has changed?

Fortunately for designers, not much has changed with regards to coding for iOS 7. Apple’s mobile client has always been one of the best clients around in terms of support for HTML and CSS, and continues to be after the iOS 7 refresh. While the app looks significantly different from previous versions, the new, cleaner, flatter interface still has the same amazing rendering engine that we all know and love.

Our friends at Campaign Monitor took a look at the beta version of iOS 7 Mail back in June and noted an issue with Mail adding margins on either side of a responsive email, creating a bit of padding between the sides of an email and the edge of the screen. While it looks like this is an issue that only a handful of people targeting specific device sizes are experiencing, it is still worth noting. The same post mentions a quick fix for the issue that targets the containing table that your email content should be sitting in:

table[class=marginfix] { position: relative; top: 0; left: 0; right: 0; } 

<table width="100%" class="marginfix"> ... Email content nested here ... </table>

The only other changes are side effects of the visual redesign of iOS 7. Apple updated the default fonts for all system text to use a thinner typeface, so the default font in Mail is now that same, thinner font. To account for the thinner weight, Apple increased the font size slightly. This becomes apparent when viewing your inbox, as Mail in iOS 7 fits one fewer email in the inbox compared to previous versions.

inbox-view-iOS6
inbox-view-iOS7

iOS 6 Inbox

iOS 7 Inbox

You will also see unstyled links in your emails displayed as a slightly lighter color blue, no doubt to fit in with iOS 7’s brighter color palette. If you’re not already styling your link tags or preventing auto-linking on text, you really should start.

default-font-link-color-iOS6
default-font-link-color-iOS7

iOS 6 Font

iOS 7 Font

New Behavior

While the underlying rendering of emails hasn’t changed much, Apple has updated how users interact with Mail. None of this will affect your email designs, but could make your users’ lives easier as they interact with your emails in their new iOS 7 inbox.

  • Apple has updated the search functionality, which makes searches faster and more comprehensive (including searching emails not stored locally on the device).
  • Apple has added new ways to organize and categorize emails based on things like whether or not an email has an attachment.
  • Mail now utilizes the same gestures found throughout iOS for interacting with emails. Swiping from the left allows you to get back to the previous screen. Swiping from the right reveals options to either archive/delete a message or interact with it further.

iOS 7 – Now available for testing!

The good news is that now it’s easier than ever to preview your designs in iOS 7!

ios7-result
ios7-select

We are very excited to announce that iOS 7 previews are now available in the Litmus email testing suite. While there are two new incarnations of Apple’s beloved iPhone — the 5s and 5c — iOS 7 is an overhaul of the operating system itself and works on older devices, too. iOS 7 email previews will be displayed in Litmus using an iPhone 5s, but campaign subscribers using older devices, such as the iPhone 4, will see the same thing. Other than the slightly smaller display of pre-iPhone 5 devices, the device itself does not affect rendering at all.

iOS 7 Adoption Rates

Since most Apple users are quick to adopt the latest versions of Apple software, Apple is in a unique position in the mobile world. While the latest version of Android has experienced sluggish adoption, after it’s first week, iOS 7 was seen on over 50% of devices. That adoption has chugged along nicely, with Mixpanel currently reporting 76% of users using iOS 7. Our own market share stats illustrate the rapid uptake of iOS 7 for email viewing:

ios-growth-2013

iOS 7 made an appearance as early as June, when the beta was first announced. However, opens in iOS 7 stayed under 1% until the official release in September. You can be sure that number will only increase over time, so it’s important to start testing your emails for iOS 7 now.

Design Away!

With iOS 7, Apple has continued to provide a world-class mobile email experience. Designers can go about their day without having to worry about yet another quirky email client and focus on crafting compelling designs and content instead. And with the introduction of iOS 7 design testing in Litmus, they can rest assured that those designs will be experienced the way they intended.

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