The Secret Trick to Disable Link Previews in Messages and Show Full URLs Instead « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks


Apple automatically converts most Messages app URLs to rich link previews, but they don’t always look pretty, and sometimes you just want to see the full URL instead. While there’s no setting on iOS, iPadOS, or macOS that disables rich link previews in the Messages app, there is an easy way to show the full URL with the schemedomain name and path.

The problem with rich link previews in posts

When a link is sent through an SMS or iMessage conversation in Messages, the app automatically changes the URL to an inline link preview. A generic preview contains a title, a domain (with or without a subdomain) and a small icon displayed in a gray bubble.

Web developers can enhance the link preview displayed in messages with Open Graph metadata embedded in the web page. This allows them to attach a playable image or video, change or omit the default Safari icon, and Continued.

Removing the preview has many benefits, and these are just a few:

  • It facilitates identification phishing attempts and avoid opening malicious links as the path gives additional information beyond the domain and subdomain.
  • This prevents some links from throwing errors, like spending too long trying to load a preview or saying the page cannot be found, which can often happen when sharing nameserver links.
  • This prevents incorrect previews. You may need to share a web page that is not yet live. If the website is configured to redirect to the closest match, you will see a preview of the best match page, not the confusing one you shared.
  • It stops automatic character conversion. Messages will convert some homoglyph characters into their default lookalikes, resulting in an entirely different URL.
  • It ruins the fun, especially when “Rickrolling” someone.

Sending full URLs instead of link previews

If you don’t want the recipient of your message – who is also using an Apple device – to see the rich link preview, you can use a simple trick to turn it off. Most Android messaging apps will show the full URL and a rich link preview, so you should only really worry about doing this with friends who use Messages on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

Before pasting or typing a URL, prefix it with a period, then add another period after the URL. If you have “Smart Punctuation” enabled in Settings -> General -> Keyboard, which most of you will do as it is the default, a space will appear between the first dot and the URL, and it is OK – it will not affect the result.

Any of these will work:

.https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/.
.https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/ .
. https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/.
. https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/ .

The extra dots will not be visible after submission – just the full hyperlink URL.

You won’t always need the extra two periods if you’re adding text to SMS or iMessage. In most cases, you can type whatever you want in front of the URL, but you’ll still need to add a period after the link. On the other hand, you can type just about anything after a URL, as long as a dot precedes the link.

Check this out: https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/.
This is cool. https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/ .
Crazy https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/ .

.https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/ Who knew?
.https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/ This should be easier
.https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/ Mind blown!

In fact, you don’t even need rules. As long as you type words, letters, numbers, etc., on both sides of the URL, it should turn off the link preview. This makes it easier if you want to include a URL in the middle of a sentence.

The https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/ link

If you send two links in the same message, things work differently, but it’s easier. Just put a letter, word, number, period, or other punctuation character before the first URL, and that’s it. It works the same way when using spaces between links or separate lines.

.https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/ https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/

OR

.https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/
https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/

Dots aren’t the only things you can use to enclose a link, but they yield the cleanest URLs. You can enclose the URL in quotes (“), exclamation points (!), commas (,), semicolons (;) and many other characters, but these characters will be visible in the message.

"https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/"
!https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/!
,https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/,
;https://ios.gadgethacks.com/no-preview-0385002/;

If you only want to use the dot before and after a link, I created a super simple shortcut that you can use from your share sheet. That way, if there’s a URL you want to share from Safari or any other app, you can open the share sheet and select “Remove link preview. Then copy the link with dots added, start a new draft of messages with added points, or share the link with periods added to a favorite contact or another app from the share sheet.

Showing full URLs instead of link previews

When you need to view the full URL of a link someone sent you in Messages, it’s not as easy as sending one yourself. There’s no setting for messages that disables automatic previews of rich links, so you’re stuck with them. However, you can still get the view or get the full URL.

On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, long-press the preview and you’ll see Quick Actions appear; Tap “Copy” in the list to copy the full URL to paste where you need it – in another message or another app entirely.

If you just want to see the full link instead of copying it, long-press the preview to expand it, then tap “Hide Preview” at the top of the expanded preview. The image will then be replaced by the full URL. The cool thing about this is that iOS and iPadOS will remember your preferences, so you’ll see the full URL of any insights you expand into Messages from now on.

However, some rich link previews cannot be collapsed to show the full URL, especially with links for some Apple apps, including links for Apple TV and Apple Music.

On macOS, you can right-click the preview and hit “Copy” to copy the URL, but you can’t expand the preview to view the full URL like you can on iOS and iPadOS.




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Cover photo, screenshots and GIFs by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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