Links in emails work on Mac but not on iPad/iPhone

Recently I’ve been getting emails that contain links that work on Mac but not on iPad/iPhone, which report “Safari can’t open the page because the server can’t be found.” I’ve tried clearing website data, turning off content blockers, and going into Safari settings and toggling any and every setting I can find, but nothing seems to work.

These emails have come from publishers such as Conde Nast and Gannett. They seem to involve multiple redirects, which is perhaps why the Mac can handle them and iPad/iPhone cannot.

My question is, has anyone else seen this, and if so, have you found a solution that will allow you to open the links on iPad/iPhone? Lacking that, does anyone have an idea what is going on?

I have seen this where it refuses one of the redirects and then hangs on a “not allowed” web page. I usually will highlight the URL and then paste it into a browser so that I go directly to the site rather than get redirected. I have no idea what is different on the mobile devices.

Here’s a typical link, from a Gannet email newsletter today:

This opens on my Mac but not iPhone. Does it work for anyone else?

Seems to open on my 10.5" iPad Pro, but without knowing what it’s supposed to look like, can’t say for sure.

Thanks, Al.

I’ve deleted and reinstalled content blocker Safari extensions, and now I can access this link.

What I don’t understand is why I had to. “Turn Off Content Blockers” in the Safari “AA” menu didn’t do the trick. Weird.

OK, I think the problem is the 1Blocker in-app tracker firewall, which was blocking the link from Mail.

What I don’t understand is why it was keeping me from opening the link by copying and pasting into Safari. Or why I couldn’t access the link I posted here on Tidbits. More weird.

I’d expect that ‘firewalls’ on iOS are basically provisioned hosts files that map domain names to the IP address of the device. Since this is a system wide function it can stop most trackers and other bad stuff for every app on the device (depending on the care and criteria used for the list), but cannot be turned off for a specific app or one time use. They aren’t able to block 100% of bad stiff, because anything that goes directly to a specific IP address isn’t affected by the hosts file, which only translates domain names.

I use a very aggressive hosts file on my macs, and there are a bunch of sites that I can’t get get to. I decided a long time ago that if some site is that determined to track me, I’d rather spend my time elsewhere. On iOS, I use mulvad vpn, which does some tracking/malware filtering on their servers using easylist and that works for all apps (and is likewise harder to turn on and off than safari content blockers). Not as good as it could be, but I do very little on the network on iOS.

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