Special considerations for iPhone® users when sharing your app from your own phone number

In iOS™ version 10.2 (released December 2016), Apple® introduced a change in how URL formatting occurs when mobile device users send messages to one another.

To understand whether and how this affects you, please read the following FAQs:

What has changed?

In some circumstances, when you send a Share Message to a new Tapper (i.e., end user of your app) from an iPhone®, the message they receive from you will have a non-tappable app link. In other words, they will not be able to tap to open and install your app when they first receive the Share Message.

Why has this changed?

This is a security feature introduced by Apple® to protect iOS™ users from malware sent via app-based messaging.

Can Cardtapp’s software engineers undo this change?

No. This change was made by Apple® and affects all users as well as all app developers.

I have an Android device. Does this issue affect me?

No, only iOS™ device users will encounter this behavior.

The person I’m sharing with has an Android device. Does this issue affect me?

No, this only occurs when both the sender and the recipient of the share are iOS™ device users.

I am an iOS™ user, and I have Cardtapp’s SMS Marketing feature with Business Line. Does this issue affect me?

No, this only occurs when users share from their own phone number using the iOS iMessage application. If you have the SMS Marketing feature with Business Line, you won’t encounter this issue.

I am an iOS™ user but do not have the SMS Marketing feature with Business Line. Is there anything I can do to work around this issue?

Yes, there are several workarounds (documented below), each of which has benefits and tradeoffs. Depending on your needs and preferences, one of these workarounds may be the best choice for you.

I don’t have time to read through all this. Is there one simple thing I can do that will completely resolve the issue?

Yes! You can upgrade your subscription to include Cardtapp’s SMS Marketing feature with Business Line. By enabling this feature, all messages (including share messages) will be sent through Cardtapp’s back-end servers as SMS text messages rather than via iMessage®.

That sounds like it might cost money. Is there one simple thing I can do that is free?

If you only share your app from the Tapper App (= the personalized app with your face on it that your end users see), you will never encounter the issue described here as long as you make use of the default sharing functionality. This is because the issue only appears when sharing from your own phone number through the iOS™ “Messages” app.

Of course, this workaround has the drawback that you won’t be able to use TappTracker to share from your own phone number.

OK, I want to learn more in depth so I can find the solution that’s best for me. Does Apple®’s iMessage® technology have something to do with this issue?

Yes, absolutely. iMessage® is a messaging platform very similar to Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. When an iOS™ user opens the “Messages” app and sends a message to a recipient who also has an Apple® ID, the app automatically recognizes that and sends the message through the iMessage® platform instead of SMS (= cellular text messaging).

Starting with iOS™ version 10.2, Apple® has chosen to disable certain URLs in messages delivered via iMessage® in order to enhance device security. Simply stated, if you send an App Share using iMessage®, you may encounter the issue of links not being tappable. If you send an App Share using SMS (= cellular text messaging), this issue will never occur and all links will open as expected.

Can I opt out of using iMessage®?

Yes, this is the most reliable workaround that still allows you to obtain the many benefits of TappTracker. To disable iMessage®, do the following:


Are there any consequences to turning off iMessage®?

If you want to use your “Messages” app to communicate with iOS™ devices that don’t have an active mobile phone number (for example, iPads or iPods that use Wifi only), you will need to have iMessage® turned on. Alternatively, you can use another major messaging application like Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, etc.

I don’t want to turn off iMessage®? What’s my next best choice?
You may want to consider sharing your app link via an SMS service provider like SlickText, Trumpia, Zingle, EZTexting, or a similar service. Most providers of this type offer both free and paid plans; they typically also allow your prospect or customer to obtain your app by sending a text message to a specific short-code number (e.g., “303030”).

I’m determined to share my app from my own phone number and I don’t want to turn off iMessage®. Do I have any options?
Yes. These are somewhat less reliable because they require that the recipient of the message (= your Tapper) take an action. There are two actions the Tapper can take that will make the app link URL tappable:

  1. Add the sender’s mobile number (i.e., your number) to their iOS™ address book, aka Contacts.
  2. Reply to your text message

If the Tapper takes either of these two actions, any links sent from you will immediately start working normally.

OK, I think I understand. Can you provide a diagram that visualizes the specific conditions in which this issue may crop up?
Yes. Green means there is no issue. Red means the issue may occur.



I still have questions? What should I do?

Our support team will be happy to advise you. Just call us at 855-883-5127.

Apple®, iMessage®, and iPhone® are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.

iOS™ is a registered trademark of Cisco