What is Apple Mail Privacy Protection, and how does it affect our deliverability?

What is Mail Privacy Protection?

In the second half of 2021 Apple released iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8, which include new privacy protections. Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) has been introduced to the Apple Mail app as an optional feature, which users can enable when configuring their Email app.

When enabled, it prevents senders from collecting user information with invisible pixels. The new feature prevents senders from knowing when a user opens an email and masks their IP address, so it cannot be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.

Who is affected by Mail Privacy Protection?

Mail Privacy Protection affects every email opened via the Apple Mail app on any device running the latest iOS version with MPP enabled, regardless of whether it is from Gmail or a business account. Each message delivered to a recipient that uses MPP will count as opened once. If the subscriber opens the message multiple times, you will still see one open only. These changes do not affect other email programs used on Apple devices, such as the Gmail app on an iPhone.

How does Mail Privacy Protection affect you as a sender?

  • Open rates: all emails delivered to subscribers who use the Apple Mail app with MPP enabled will be automatically counted as opened. Open rate increase depends on the share of your subscribers who use this feature. For example, if 100% of your subscribers are using MPP, you will have a 100% open rate.
  • A/B test based on “open rates” will be affected, since it is not possible to determine when an actual user with MPP opens the email. We suggest running A/B tests based on click rate, as click tracking is not affected by MPP.
  • The perfect timing feature will be affected since we cannot track the exact time when subscribers with MPP enabled open emails.
  • Engagement score will be affected for contacts that use MPP.
  • Automation workflows based on the “Opened” condition will be affected since we would detect opens for all emails shortly after they are delivered.
  • Dynamic countdown timers will be broken since Apple caches the first version of the timer they load. The timers will be stuck in a loop with potentially incorrect time.

Click here to learn what is open rate tracking and how it works.

How to adapt your strategies to this update?

Mail Privacy Protection does not interfere with click tracking, which is the most effective way of measuring how your audience engages. The introduction of MPP can be the opportunity to optimize your email marketing strategies and shift to a better way of measuring engagement using link clicks.

Finding the most engaged contacts is useful for situations when you’d like to target them with messages, for example newsletters sent to a segment, or a powerful marketing automation workflow. If you already have segments that include engaged contacts using the open rate data, we suggest updating them to use clicks as the main metric. This will accurately reflect the engagement of any recipient, no matter which email application they use.

Click here to learn more about conditions that you can use to create segments.

When resending emails or targeting those who did not engage with your last message, you can also rethink the criteria for that segment. If you have segments based on geolocation, you can ensure that you use the correct details by asking contacts directly in the sign-up forms. This will ensure that the geolocation is accurate.

Instead of sending the message to contacts that did not open, you can send it to people who did not click a link within it. Link clicks are the best indicator of engagement.