iphone <meta name="format-detection" - How to disable phone number linking in Mobile Safari?

12 Answers

To disable the phone parsing appearance for specific elements, this CSS seems to do the trick:

.element { pointer-events: none; }
.element > a { text-decoration:none; color:inherit; }

The first rule disables the click, the second takes care of the styling.

content="telephone=no"> ios smart

Safari on iPhone automatically creates links for strings of digits that appear to the telephone numbers. I am writing a web page containing an IP address, and Safari is turning that into a phone number link. Is it possible to disable this behavior for a whole page or an element on a page?

Add this, I think it is what you're looking for:

<meta name = "format-detection" content = "telephone=no">

Solution for Webview!

For PhoneGap-iPhone / PhoneGap-iOS applications, you can disable telephone number detection by adding the following to your project’s application delegate:

// ...

- (void)webViewDidStartLoad:(UIWebView *)theWebView 
    // disable telephone detection, basically <meta name="format-detection" content="telephone=no" />
    theWebView.dataDetectorTypes = UIDataDetectorTypeAll ^ UIDataDetectorTypePhoneNumber;

    return [ super webViewDidStartLoad:theWebView ];

// ...

source: Disable Telephone Detection in PhoneGap-iOS.

To disable phone number detection on part of a page, wrap the affected text in an anchor tag with href="#". If you do this, mobile Safari and UIWebView should leave it alone.

<a href="#"> 1234567 </a>

I had the same problem, but on an iPad web app.

Unfortunately, neither...

 <meta name = "format-detection" content = "telephone=no">

nor ...

&#48; = 0
&#57; = 9

... worked.

But, here's three ugly hacks:

  • replacing the number "0" with the letter "O"
  • replacing the number "1" with the letter "l"
  • insert a meaningless span: e.g., 555.5<span>5</span>5.5555

Depending on the font you use, the first two are barely noticeable. The latter obviously involves superfluous code, but is invisible to the user.

Kludgy hacks for sure, and probably not viable if you're generating your code dynamically from data, or if you can't pollute your data this way.

But, sufficient in a pinch.

My experience is the same as some others mentioned. The meta tag...

<meta name = "format-detection" content = "telephone=no">

...works when the website is running in Mobile Safari (i.e., with chrome) but stops working when run as a webapp (i.e., is saved to home screen and runs without chrome).

My less-than-ideal solution is to insert the values into input fields...

<input type="text" readonly="readonly" style="border:none;" value="3105551212">

It's less than ideal because, despite the border being set to none, iOS renders a multi-pixel gray bar above the field. But, it's better than seeing the number as a link.

<meta name = "format-detection" content = "telephone=no"> does not work for emails: if the HTML you are preparing is for an email, the metatag will be ignored.

If what you are targeting are emails, here's yet another ugly-but-works solution for ya'll:

Example of some HTML you want to avoid being linked or auto formatted:

will cease operations <span class='ios-avoid-format'>on June 1,

And the CSS that will make the magic happen:

@media only screen and (device-width: 768px) and (orientation:portrait){
span.ios-date + span:after{content:"on June 1, 2012";}

The drawback: you may need a media query for each of the ipad/iphone portrait/landscape combos

Same problem in Sencha Touch app solved with meta tag (<meta name="format-detection" content="telephone=no">) in index.html of app.

A trick I use that works on more than just Mobile Safari is to use HTML escape codes and a little mark-up in the phone number. This makes it more difficult for the browser to "identify" a phone number, i.e.

Phone: 1-8&#48;&#48;<span>-</span>62&#48;<span>-</span>38&#48;3

I too have this problem: Safari and other mobile browsers transform the VAT IDs into phone numbers. So I want a clean method to avoid it on a single element, not the whole page (or site).
I'm sharing a possible solution I found, it is suboptimal but still it is pretty viable: I put, inside the number I don't want to become a tel: link, the &#8288; HTML entity which is the Word-Joiner invisible character. I tried to stay more semantic (well, at least a sort of) by putting this char in some meaning spot, e.g. for the VAT ID I chose to put it between the different groups of digit according to its format so for an Italian VAT I wrote: 0613605&#8288;048&#8288;8 which renders in 0613605⁠048⁠8 and it is not transformed in a telephone number.

I was really confused by this for a while but finally figured it out. We made updates to our site and had some numbers converting to a link and some weren't. Turns out that numbers won't be converted to a link if they're in a <fieldset>. Obviously not the right solution for most circumstances, but in some it will be the right one.

Another solution would be to use an image of the IP number