iPhone: “This message has not been downloaded from the server”

iPhone “This message has not been downloaded from the server” error message!!!

Well, if you have an Apple iPhone and have setup your Mail Application to download your email onto your iPhone, you may start noticing that you sometimes receive the following error message while you are attempting to view an older email:

iPhone Mail Error Message

(1) Why does it happen?

The short answer is “I am not 100% sure why, and Apple have not said why!”, but all I can really do now is to google it, and make up my own mind!

My Guess: I don’t think that the Mail application on the iPhone actually saves any attachments on the iPhone when you download emails! It saves the body of the email, but NOT the attachments.

Why? Because if you attempt to browse an older email, which has an attachment, it gives you the message “Loading…” and after a couple of seconds it tells you “This message has not been downloaded from the server”.  BUT: If you attempt to do the same thing, with WiFi & EDGE turned OFF, then the Mail application will display the email body immediately, and give you a link to the attachments, that you can click on to download.

Basically it proves that the iPhone does not save attachments on the iPhone, only the email body!

(2) Can you fix this?

Well, this normally happens when you collect your email on your iPhone using the POP protocol!

Most of us download our email onto computers and select the option in Outlook/Outlook Express to “leave the email on the server for x days”, typically 5 or 10 (which I do) days. We then setup our iPhones to download the same email, but to LEAVE it on the server – or “Delete from server: Never”.

This means that for 10 days your iPhone will be able to access a specific email on the email server, and will be able to download (view) that attachment whenever you want.

BUT: AFTER this 10 day period your computer will remove that specific email from the mail server, and then your iPhone will not be able to retrieve it from the server. Which also means that you will not be able to read any attachments from the mail server.

SO, when your iPhone Mail app tries to download THAT attachment, it will not be able to, and INSTEAD of just displaying the email body, and the attachment link, it displays the error message: “This message has not been downloaded from the server”…

(3) Why does the iPhone NOT just save the attachment on the iPhone?

I have NO idea! Apple should definitely speak out about this and come up with a fix!

(4) Why Apple does NOT save the attachment? (My guess)

Well, if you are constantly re-downloading any attachment that you attempt to view on your iPhone, then you will constantly be downloading data using your EDGE package! AND your Mobile Service Provider CHARGES you a massive rate (per MB) to download data using EDGE! Which means that they (AT&T / MTN / Orange / whatever) are making loads of cash off you re-downloading your email attachments. Is this right?

(5) Quick Fix?

Change the settings on your computer so that it leaves the email on the server for an extended period of time! Change the 3 days, or 10 days to something like 30 days! This means that your iPhone will be able to re-download the attachment for a 30 day period after it has initially downloaded the email.

BUT you are STILL re-downloading the attachment, and while you are waiting, YES, WAITING…. you are still being charged for the data traffic!

The problem here is that some service providers only give you a 10MB email account on their server. This might not be enough for users who receive 100’s of emails on a weekly basis!

(6) Longer Fix?

Change your email account from a POP account to an IMAP account.

Problem #1: Here again is that not all service providers offer IMAP facilities! Also, the emails would reside on your server.

Problem #2: You are still re-downloading all those attachments again! $$$

(7) The REAL solution?

The real solution needs to come from Apple! They need to increase the size of the first partition on the iPhone that you save your emails in. Maybe they need to save attachments in the second (media) partition so that you can always access them? At the moment the first partition on the iPhone is really small, just big enough for the OS and a few applications, never mind 100’s of attached pictures and mp3s, etc that we commonly send around cyberspace!

COME ON APPLE, sort this out!!!!!

35 Responses to iPhone: “This message has not been downloaded from the server”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Switch to IMAP on the iPhone to solve this problem. Using Gmail as an example, do not create a default POP Gmail account on the iPhone, start out creating an “other” type of email account to get to the IMAP option.

    For step-by-step instructions, including how to specify a different “from” email address if needed, then read my blog entry at http://slapphappe.wordpress.com/2008/07/27/iphone-mail-this-message-has-not-been-downloaded-from-the-server/

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