The Obstacle

Not every phone supports PDF, vCard, or iCal delivered by MMS within the messaging app but nearly all smartphones support these file types within their web browser. A device which receives an unsupported MMS attachment will sometimes display a message that reads “This message includes an attached file not shown.” and other times it will display nothing at all, as if the attachment never existed.

preview receiving file type demos by mms

The Solution

When sending an MMS message containing a PDF, vCard, or iCal attachment it is essential to detect the recipient device prior to sending and adapt the message so that the attachment can be delivered  in a compatible format to all devices. We tested nearly every device on the market today and added information to our device database on whether the device supports the attachment in the MMS messaging client. We are then able to deliver the PDF, vCard or iCal in the most appropriate way to devices that may not support it and allow the user to still receive the attachment.

Going forward, Skycore will deliver PDF, VCard and iCal MMS attachments within the MMS message itself only to phones that support it. For the phones that do not support these content types we will store the attachment on our server and replace the attached file with a link with the MMS that directs to the attached file.  We registered the generic domains like “”, “” and “” to host these links so that consumers will know what they are clicking. If the attachment is unique for individual recipients, as in the case of dynamic content, then each link will be unique as well.

In the preview below, there is an example of the same message delivered to an iPhone and a Galaxy S5. The iPhone has the capability to open all file types, so all are displayed. The Galaxy S5 is only able to open the vCard. This is why the .pdf and .ical files provided with links.

We hope this post gives you a better understanding of the challenges to delivering PDF, vCard, and iCal by MMS properly across all smartphone operating systems. You can learn more about delivering VCards and iCalendars by MMS on our previous blog post.

galaxy s5 and iphone 6 pdf and ical previews