For the past 5+ years, Trilogy has been using the ‌ approach we pioneered to break auto-linking in iOS (TEST 3 on We prefer to disable the links as they are often nonsensical “Support this great cause by September 31 and you’ll be entered…”.

With the September 2017 Gmail update, we noticed that ‌ was only partially breaking Gmail Web auto-linking. To make matters worse, Gmail was then auto-linking a subsequent piece of unrelated text with the same letters it auto-links.

Over the years, many different approaches to masking “blue links” have been discovered, and many more email clients now have this feature. Some current clients that auto-link are:

  1. iOS

    a. some dates, physical addresses, phone numbers, email addresses
    b. while these were blue links, dates and physical addresses are black and not bold starting with iOS 10

  2. Outlook Mail/Office 365

    a. physical addresses, phone numbers, email addresses
    b. Additional add-ins ( can cause other text to auto-link
    c. The new Outlook/Live Beta does not currently auto-link or support add-ins

  3. Windows 10 Mail

  4. Gmail

    a. Web
    b. Gmail App on iOS (only phone numbers)
    c. Gmail App on Android 6 (addresses, phone numbers)

This list does not include clients that link URLs and email address, as almost every single client does that.

So what to do about all this? We tried breaking auto-links with ​, and while that does work in Gmail – it does not work in iOS. So we doubled up and tired ​‌

The smart folks at Litmus have come up with some masking solutions:

But it does not remove the link on hover. Still stumped on that one… help please. Auto-linking is coding pet peeve number #2 (behind anything Outlook related).

If anyone has additional information or corrections to what is above, please add a comment below and I’ll update the original post.