iOS 15: Apple Pushes Consumer Privacy Further with Email Protection

By Josch Chodakowsky

Apple announced earlier this year that with the update to their operating system with iOS 14, consumers would have more control over the information that apps could track via the IDFA. Now with the announcement of iOS 15, Apple is putting yet more control in the hands of consumers by extending privacy protection to email and other often-used services on all their devices.

These include "Hide My Email" and "Mail Privacy Protection," both of which limit how much data can be collected and tracked from email clicks and opens, especially targeting the swath of junk mail that comes in through an IP identification. This of course also affects marketers, who rely on this same data to serve personalized messaging to consumers. Rather than look at this as a hindrance to marketing efforts, however, brands can use this as an opportunity to increase trust among consumers, but also to rely on forming different types of relationships with them that still protect their privacy.

For instance, brands can use the kind of first-party data that comes from being a direct-to-consumer company or those that offer honest, engaging subject lines that they want to open. The resources here discuss some of the ways marketers can prepare for the effects of iOS 15.


  • What Apple's iOS 15 Means for Marketers. Marketing Dive, July 2021.
    The next version of the iOS software for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac will give Apple's customers several ways to limit or prevent data-sharing. Those privacy features include technology to mask the email and internet addresses of Apple customers, making them less effective as a unique identifier for online tracking. These planned changes, estimated to launch this fall to coincide with new device announcements, will force marketers to develop alternative ways to find potential customers and engage with existing ones. A key strategy will be to position themselves as direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that gather first-party data from consenting customers.

  • How Apple's iOS 15 Could Impact Email Marketers. HubSpot, July 2021.
    When an open rate is high, it hints that your subject line did its job to pull readers, the email has been sent at the most engaging time of day, or your subscribers are eagerly waiting to get your content in their inbox. When it's low, it signals that your email subscribers might not even be reading your content.

    However, now the way email marketers leverage open rates could change with Apple's recently announced iOS 15 privacy features. Although this move might seem scary, it isn't too surprising as it follows a trend of internet privacy rollouts from tech giants. To help email marketers navigate the potential changes that could happen, HubSpot offers a few tips and strategies teams can consider as the iOS 15 rollout gets closer.

  • The Death of the Open Rate: How Email Marketers Can Prepare for iOS 15. My Total Retail, July 2021.
    Email marketers at ecommerce brands use traditional reporting data such as open, click, and conversion rates to measure email campaign performance. But what happens when you suddenly take away one of those long-established data points? It's not all doom and gloom for marketers, even if 61.7 percent of all emails are opened in Apple Mail; this is an opportunity for ecommerce brands to work on what really matters. My Total Retail lists six ways you can prepare your email marketing program for the death of the open rate:
    • Focus on effective subject lines.
    • Use pre-header text to support the subject line.
    • Make content and calls to action (CTA) a priority.
    • Reinforce competitive differentiators.
    • Use marketing automation to its full potential.
    • Adopt SMS.
  • iOS 15 is Coming: Everything Email Marketers Need to Know to Prepare. Tinuiti, July 2021.
    Apple shook digital advertisers to the core with the introduction of several new privacy-focused features designed to protect users and their data. For email marketers especially, this update will impact several key components of the marketing funnel, primarily how advertisers collect and measure customer data. As marketers approach iOS 15 and with Q4 just around the corner, advertisers and brands need to have a plan of action in place. Here Tinuiti looks at what's coming in the fall release of iOS 15, iPad 15, and macOS Monterey; the resource covers everything email marketers need to know about Apple's latest privacy update, including expert recommendations for next steps.


Josch Chodakowsky is a senior manager of research and innovation at ANA.

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