Between algorithm changes and iOS updates, we digital marketers are used to our work being sabotaged after each roll-out. And that’s what we signed up for. Some updates sting harder than others – like the Apple iOS 15 update – because email is the old reliable workhorse of our channel mix. And honestly? We haven’t been this protective of email since GDPR forced us to cleanse our data by choosing between consent and legitimate interest. So excuse us. 

But is the update as bad as we anticipate?

Email marketers – it’s time to discuss Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature. Gulp… 

What is Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature?

The nervously awaited Apple iOS 15 update includes the aforementioned privacy update, which enables Apple Mail users to hide essential tracking information. Users are given two options:

  1. `Protect mail activity`: switches off email open tracking, blocks IP, enables email address to be hidden;
  2. `Don’t protect mail activity`: settings remain the same. 

Is email marketing really at risk?

Yes, successful email marketing relies heavily on performance data – so with a large portion of customers hiding whether they’ve opened your emails, it’s going to be more difficult to optimise campaigns. Not only that, but reporting is going to be a joke (sorry). 

The silver lining is that the update only applies to paid iCloud customers using Apple Mail, and even then, they will need to opt into it. And with any luck, those who do opt to have their mail activity protected will be a little more trusting when signing up to new mail lists. 

Our advice? Analyse your existing marketable data as much as possible. Try to focus on other reporting metrics like clicks and session times (which determine engagement greater nowadays, anyway). 

When is the Apple iOS 15 update release date?

The update is due to roll out between September and November 2021 and will be available to paid iCloud customers only. 

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