iPhone Tip – Message cannot be displayed because of the way it is formatted

Here is an iPhone Email Tip that will hopefully save you some frustration:

When reading your email with your iPhone, have you ever got the following message?

"This message cannot be displayed because of the way it is formatted. Ask the sender to send it again using a different format or email program. Multipart/Alternative"

If this happens to you, you can work around the problem by first deleting your message. Then go find the message in your trash and move the message back to your in-box. You should now be able to read the message properly.

Apparently this was an issue with iOS 3. It was fixed in iOS 4. Unfortunately the bug seems to be back again in iOS 5.


Comments

iPhone Tip – Message cannot be displayed because of the way it is formatted — 13 Comments

  1. This has happened to me so many times and I just deleted the emails. I just received a store receipt and really needed to see it. Thank you so much for having this very helpful information.

  2. It did not work.. The message “This message cannot be displayed because of the way it is formatted. Ask the sender to send it again using a different format or email program. multipart/alternative” did disappear and I was left with
    ” –_———-=_MCPart_1442483610–“…

    Now what should I do? I’ve rebooted my iPhone, I’ve “cold” rebooted and it still happening….

    Help?

  3. I tried the instruction that suggested moving it to the trash and then back to in box and does not work. This problem started after I started having trouble receiving or sending emails from my iPhone and it was suggested to delete email account on iPhone and then add email account using imap instead of pop3. So my question is. Is imap configuration causing this problem. Have the exact problem with my wife’s iPhone as well and also re-added the email account using imap.

    • Thanks for the great question Rick.

      IMAP messages actually stored on the server, not on your iPhone. If you don’t have a data plan, you won’t be able to see your messages when you are not connected over WiFi. If that is your case and you want your messages to always be available on your iPhone, use POP3 instead. You may not get new messages when you are away from WiFi but at least you won’t loose the ones you had received.

      Bonus Tip

      Keep in mind that POP3 may be configured to remove email from the server after it has been downloaded to your phone. If that is the case, you would no longer see messages using other methods such as web browser or email client. By configuring your phone to leave messages on the server, your messages will be available everywhere. If you have concerns about your phone getting filled up with email, just tell it to keep the most recent XX days of email. I have mine set to 90 days. If you are using an email client, you’ll need to tell it to do the same so that it doesn’t go removing emails before your phone gets a chance at downloading them.

      Hope this helps.

      Best regards,

      Michael

  4. Thanks so much for for the tip! I am going to have this email saved for myself for future. I am just so grateful for little tips like these!!!!

  5. For the first time ever, after updating to iOS 11.2.6 on iPhone 7. ALL my emails give me this notice. So are you saying I have to correct every single one of these emails to be able to read it? That’s crazy. Thank you for any suggestions.

  6. I deleted it, but it’s not in my trash. This was a message that I originally sent. Any ideas how to retrieve it? Thanks!

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