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Evolution mailing iPhone

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 23:20


I must be missing something blindingly obvious. I'm sure at least one of the Evolution hackers has an iPhone. But as far as I can tell, Evolution cannot send mails with attachments to iPhones such that the iPhone can show the attachment.

It looks like Evolution can only send multipart/mixed, and Mail.app on iPhone only understands multipart/alternative.

Now, far be it from me to be surprised at Apple not understanding established standards. But really - am I the only one having this problem ?


  1. I did this just 3 hours ago and it worked. Latest iOS 4.2, latest Evolution on Fedora.

    (As you can see from my first comment, I typed this on an iDevice…)

    Comment by Leon — 2011-01-26 @ 23:50

  2. I’ve encountered this problem as well. I was planning on opening up a bug report at Apple about it but haven’t had the initiative to. Thank goodness for webmail. Perhaps I’ll do that later. Hopefully Apple fixes things.

    Comment by Dexter Ang — 2011-01-27 @ 00:00

  3. I’m pretty sure apple mail does support multipart/mixed, cause I think it used to send it by default.

    But anyways, it’s not that multipart/alternative is the alternative to multipart/mixed, but rather HTML in a multipart/related container.

    It does wrap a multipart/alternative around it, though, to add the plaintext alternative. So the final structure is:
    – multipart/alternative
    – text/plain
    – multipart/related
    – text/html (with inline links to…)
    – image/jpeg (or whatever)

    The HTML uses urls like “cid:$LONG_UUID” which match up with the Content-Id: header in the image/jpeg section, as defined by rfc2387. I think that’s the way the rest of the world (aka MS exchange) also formats emails.

    Comment by James Knight — 2011-01-27 @ 00:37

  4. multipart/alternative is for different variations of the same content, most commonly used for having a plaintext fallback in HTML mail. The MIME parts are arranged in increasing order of desireability and a mail client is supposed to pick the last part that it knows how to display and disregard the other parts. So multipart/alternative is not suitable for attachments.

    Evolution sends multipart/alternative when sending HTML mail, and if there’s also attachments then it bundles the multipart/alternative inside a multipart/mixed alongside the attachment parts.

    I don’t have an iPhone but my wife does (an older 3G model), and she was able to read a quick test mail with attachments.

    Comment by Matthew Barnes — 2011-01-27 @ 03:25

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