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What does Apple's latest update to its email mean to your tracking?

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Recent news from the Apple group has got some people a little concerned. Apple, known for its constant innovative technological ideas, recently announced that it will be adding a mail privacy protection feature on its latest operating systems – iOS15, iPad OS15 and macOS Monterey.

What does mail privacy protection do?

Apple’s new system works by protecting information that is normally shared when an email is opened. Typically, when you open an email, it downloads remote content which allows the sender access to information about your behaviour regarding emails and even your IP address. Most of the tracking occurs via remote images and tracking pixels that are embedded into the email that you might not even see.

The mail privacy protection system works by downloading remote content in the background by default, meaning that senders cannot get access to the information that is usually provided, regardless of how you choose to interact with the email.

As an extra security feature, the mail privacy protection system downloads all remote content via multiple proxy servers so that senders are unable to even see the IP address that you are using. 

Senders will still be able to gain information from the end-user if they click on any tracked links in the email, but this is fully dependent upon the end-user actually interacting with the email in the first place.

What does this mean for email campaigns?

To put it simply, this is not good news for email senders who rely on tracking information for follow up emails and to gauge the effectiveness of their campaign. Though Apple has a relatively low market share of desktop users – 15% compared to Windows 75% - the numbers become more worrying when it comes to mobile devices, with Apple dominating the market with 55% share to Android’s 45%. With more people choosing to view emails on the go, this could lead to a lot of data regarding activity from email campaigns falling short in the future.

There is also the worrying fact that whatever Apple does, many others will follow. If Google and Windows decide to adopt similar systems in the near future, it could be troublesome for email senders to judge the effectiveness of their campaigns based on open rates and associated information.

How does this affect my email campaigns?

It does not affect the delivery of your email campaigns at all. What it does do is limit the information you can get back from an email being opened on an Apple device. Using open rates as a gauge is now pretty much nonsense as you can no longer accurately report on it….thanks Apple!  It does however make it more important than ever to ensure that your email contains links to content on your website.  You can use this not only as a gauge on who opened the email, but more importantly what in the email has raised an interest.  

Prodocom is Australia’s market-leading electronic messaging specialist and we pride ourselves on delivering an extensive range of hosted messaging solutions to our clients. We offer several different services including SMS, email, fax, voice post and EDI solutions for a whole host of budgets. If you would like any further information about any of our cutting-edge messaging services, you can contact us 24/7, 365 days a year via our website or over the phone.


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